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A Key Mistake Martial Artists Make in the Gym

I love training martial artists.

Most likely because of the role martial arts played in my own life growing up.

The majority of my competitive athletes are from the various martial arts.

And while there are different training needs across the various formats and rule sets, one thing remains constant.

Most martial artists think that if they’re not thrashing themselves to death every session, if they’re not doing insane circuits or AMRAPs then they’re not training.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, there’s a time and a place to drive the heart rate up and have you blowing out your arse. But in the gym, we have other priorities.

The very nature of the martial arts training, the sparring, the pad work, the rolling IS conditioning work. It is aerobic in nature.

Which means in the gym, we can slow up a bit, and we can emphasise the other energy systems, the anaerobic and the lactate. Or in simple terms, the strength/power and the power endurance.

BJJ Champion Seb taking rest between his Military press sets

Strength requires load, the greater the load, the longer the rest periods in between sets and the greater the emphasis on form. To a keen as mustard martial artist, this rest in between sets feels like an eternity. To mitigate this somewhat, we do use supersets and strength circuits. Or we simply have them work a mobility/rehab drill as they rest.

Crawling drills make great active rest

Even so, the training still seems slow. But this is necessary.

You must learn to deal with this.

For long term success in any combat sport, having muscle mass and strength is, in my mind, essential. Simply training the art, going for a run and doing some stretching will not cut it, especially once you start moving from your late 20’s and deeper into your 30’s

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