I guess it’s the punk in me, but for as long as I can remember I have questioned everything. Authority, common practices, thoughts, routines and now, firmly footed in the strength world, I find myself questioning all things fitness/gym/strength/performance related in particular MMA strength and conditioning.
I mean, I do get it. Human beings are innately creatures of habit. There’s something comforting about being in a safe, familiar routine…
Day in, day out, our practises tend to be the same things over and over. Waking at a certain time, followed by a good ole’ reliable breakfast you’ve had for the last three years. Getting dressed, going to work, blah, blah, blah…
How does this affect your MMA Strength and Conditioning?
Well, when was the last time you questioned your training? When was the last time you stepped of and beyond your comfort zones? When was the last time you tried something new?
Too many people fail at achieving the results they want purely down to never stepping beyond the familiarity of comfort zones.
Do you find yourself lifting the same weights every single time you train and wondering why you aren’t getting bigger, stronger or performing better in your sport? Are you as strong now as you were 6 months ago? 9 months ago? One year ago? If so, it’s time to change.
It may sound cliché, but you need to get comfortable, being uncomfortable.
Stepping out of your comfort zones and stepping into unchartered territory is the only way you will get the results you’re after. Otherwise you’re unfortunately just setting yourself up for mediocrity and the disappointment that comes with it.
How do I bust through Comfort Zones then?
They say variety is the spice of life. I’m not sure who “they” were exactly, but when it comes to training, “they” are certainly right. Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell put it best when he said:
“Think about it, if you read only one book, no matter how many times you read it, you will only learn so much.”
If you train in the same gym week after week, you’ll see the same people putting up the weights each week. The “you are the sum of the five people you know” saying comes into play here.
If the 5 people you see over and over in the gym are constantly squatting in the 300lb mark, you’ll get to, match it, and never really surpass this number.
If on the other hand you make the switch to a gym where the average squat is 500lb, your 300lb will quickly increase to meet the standards of the new five people around you. It’s weird, but that’s how humans work.
The same is true for martial arts and your training and MMA strength and conditioning. If you always roll with, spar with and train with the same few partners, there really is an unfortunate limit on what you can learn. If you want to get better, you need to step out of your comfort zones and find new stimuli.
In this case that may be a new gym to train with unfamiliar people with unfamiliar styles. It may even be trying to compete more frequently and stepping away from the local scene, making the point to travel further afoot to meet new athletes and training partners.
Variety Doesn’t Need to be that Extreme
Even just mixing up what you use as resistance is enough to send you to new heights, strengths and levels of performance. Every routine I write involves a squat, a carry, a hinge, a push and a pull.
Notice though, I didn’t say barbell squat, or kettlebell press. The five things I mentioned are the movements. The resistance for each is totally interchangeable. Sandbags, barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, logs, training partners, kegs, bodyweight training, or whatever it may be. Each form of resistance will bring with it a new and challenging stimulus.
This year has tried its hardest to break me, both physically and mentally, but here I stand admittedly tired, beaten, bruised but not yet broken. .. There are some truly wonderful souls on this platform amidst the excess of vacuous, fake and pretentious masses. Those of you know who you are and I honestly can't thank you enough. .. Training like usual was simple yet savage. .. 6 bearhug squats – 12 sit-throughs – 6 shoulders and a "develop the squeeze" drill at the end. .. This was taken through 6 rounds with minimal rest between and a modestly weighted sandbag at 120lbs.
Look into your own MMA strength and conditioning and see where you can mix things up. If you have never used a sandbag before, incorporate it into your training and when you return to the barbell, you’ll be amazed at the increase in overall strength you gained.
As always, get stronger and get tougher, mentally and physically.