- Are you satisfied with the direction of your fight skills and martial arts training?
- Do you feel that you’re lacking an element in your martial arts training?
- Are you interested in giving your fight fitness a serious upgrade?
- Are you interested in developing a more serious level of conditioning and athleticism for your fight performance?
When it comes to your fight performance there is no substitute for speed and reaction time. Like anything else the more you practice to get better at something the better you will get at doing it. In my experience if you’re talking about fight training then this is the case more than just about anything else. Today I want to talk about some training protocols you can put into place to enhance your speed and reaction time and to make you a more athletic fighter.
Fight Performance: Applying The SAID Principle To Your Training
If you’re looking to improve your fight performance you need to improve your speed and reaction time. In order to develop this nothing is better than the act of fighting itself. Of course the most sensible way to go about doing this is by sparring.
The SAID principle stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This is basically a fancy way of saying that in order to get better at performing a certain skill or task then you should practice that skill or task. This totally makes sense, right?
So if you want to develop your movement for fighting then you simply want to practice the movements involved in fighting. This is great to do with sparring because you’ll learn how to deliver strikes, grapple, and react more naturally the more you get used to being in the situation that mimics a real fight scenario.
Additionally there are fight specific drills you can practice as well such as striking and agility related movements that are part of fighting. To train your body to become agile like a fighter you must train your body in those movements.
Fight Performance: Train Plyometrics
In addition to this you can also incorporate speed and coordination drills to enhance your hand and foot speed. Of course you need a strong foundation of strength before doing this, but by stimulating your body to move quickly you’re training your neuromuscular system to produce rapid muscular contractions in much the same way as you would need when throwing a punch or a kick.
The biggest way is by starting to incorporate some plyometric training into your workouts to help you develop the neural drive you need to be more effective in delivering strikes.
Plyometrics are exercises that force you to produce maximal short burst muscular contractions. Plyometrics vary in intensity from low grade to high grade movements.
Some examples of low grade plyometrics would include…
- Jump rope skips
- Short hops
- Jumping jacks
Some examples of more intense high grade plyometrics would include…
- Loaded box jumps
- Depth jumps
- Knee tuck jumps
- Plyometric push-ups
The thing is that you need to include plyometrics into your workouts on a regular basis in order to develop your athleticism for martial arts and fighting. Plyometrics can be scaled to suit your fitness and ability level and you should scale them carefully to avoid injury.
I would recommend consulting with a professional strength coach when starting to incorporate plyometrics into your training. I would certainly be willing to help you with this, but if you don’t consult with me then I would recommend looking for a strength coach with the NSCA-CSCS distinction.
Fight Performance: Train To Be Proficient With Kettlebells
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.—Bruce Lee
Just like you want your technique to be flawless when striking you also want your technique to be flawless when you’re devoting your time to improve your strength development.
Training with kettlebells is an awesome way to improve your reaction time, speed, and strength for martial arts.
In fact, as a professional strength coach I’ll straight up tell you that if you want the next best form of strength training that mimics fight training then you need to learn the kettlebell swing and progress from there.
The kettlebell swing is a dynamic movement that involves you having to swing the kettlebell from between your legs up to about chest height. Trust me, there’s more to this than what it sounds like.
To initiate the kettlebell swing you must learn how to perform a proper hip hinge which involves maximally bending at your hips (sitting back with your butt) and only slightly bending at your knees. As you do this you want to simultaneously hike the kettlebell between your legs like you’re long snapping a football between your legs.
If you’re hinging properly you should feel a loaded stretch in your hamstrings and glutes as your hips are loaded with the kettlebell between your legs. While doing this you should maintain a neutral spine.
From here you want to generate a forceful hip snap as you extend your hips and knees into the locked out position forcing the kettlebell to swing upwards and allowing the kettlebell reach its zenith just shy of your chest level.
Once in the locked out position you should be straight and tall with your body locked out in a sort of standing plank position. Your feet should be rooted into the ground making you firm and strong. This is where I always cue my fight students to control the weight, but telling them to not allow the weight to control them by pulling them off balance.
Stand firm and allow the kettlebell to float at the end of its range of motion (ROM).
Everything I just described only involves a single swing rep with the kettlebell so once you have elevated the kettlebell to the zenith continue the momentum with the subsequent repetition by long snapping it again between your legs to load your hips for a subsequent rep.
The kettlebell swing (among other kettlebell movements) is a movement that does involve power and it will train your ability to produce force rapidly which is a must have trait when it comes to building speed and reaction time for the purpose of martial arts.
Not only will the kettlebell swing improve your ability to deliver a strike, but it will also make you more capable of taking a hit as well.
When properly performing the kettlebell swing your body is taking a hit from the physical exertion imposed on you to execute the movement. This exertion will enhance your ability to brace your core midsection which is inherent in fighting because you must know how to breathe behind the shield (breathe while bracing) which involves breathing during physical exertion.
The better you are at bracing the better you’ll be at absorbing a hit when the time comes which will make you more resistant to injury.
Fight Performance: The Takeaway
Let’s face it if you’re serious about your fitness and your martial arts then you should always be searching for ways to challenge yourself and to make yourself better. If you’re not doing just that then what’s the point?
Are you incorporating a smart strength and conditioning program to improve your fight performance?
How often you train with kettlebells and plyometrics?
Post up and share in the comments here below.
Also if you want to learn how to progress this even further then make sure you check out my 90 Day MMA Strength And Conditioning Program right here below! I guarantee it’ll get you into the best shape of your life, or I’ll give you your money back no questions asked.
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