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An Often Overlooked Performance Attribute

Is it over? Tell me it's over!

I just threw up a facebook message following this mornings Boot Camp performance. I stated that the guys Speed was increasing while their recovery times were dropping.

It got me thinking about today’s blog post, the importance of recovery time.

Most of my guys, and indeed most of the people reading this blog are more interested in improving their performance than they are in improving their aesthetic appearance. Which is good, I’ve little interest in aesthetics, I’ve always trained either for performance or simply for the enjoyment of it.

When it comes to improving performance there are several factors that need to be taken into account, for example:

  1. Skill – how well can you perform the event in which you are performing

  2. Strength – how much force can you produce during the execution of the skill

  3. Speed – how quickly can you perform the skill

  4. Power – how quickly can you produce strength

  5. Agility – how well can you move

  6. Recovery Time – how quickly can you repeat the skill at 100% efficiency?

Most of us start with skill, we learn to run, we learn to punch, we learn to throw or kick etc, often times agility and sometimes speed is included with the skill training. Many then realise the need to build  the other attributes, for me as young Karate-Ka I needed strength first, then power. As my main form of transport was (and still is) my trusty bicycle I always had good cardio, but I’m not naturally strong.

The attribute I see being left out, or forgotten about is recovery time.

It’s all well and good being able to throw a flurry of powerful punches,  overwhelm an opponent during a scramble for position or sprint forward to make a tackle. But if you can’t then recover and compose yourself quickly you’ll lose the advantage gained. You need to be able to work all out, recover and do it again. And again. And again.

This is where training specifically to improve your recovery time comes in. This is why interval and circuit training are vital training methods. This is why a stop watch, or better yet, a countdown timer is an essential  training tool.

Here’s a few methods for developing recovery time:

  1. Density Training – Pick a drill and do as many perfect reps  as possible within a set time period. Each week aim to add an extra rep within the same time period.

  2. Use a countdown timer for all rest periods in the gym. Yeah so what if your powerlifting mate tells you to rest 5 mins between sets, he’s training for 1 lift. For us, using the same set and rep scheme, even the same weight for a few workouts is fine, just as long as we gradually reduce the rest periods week by week.

  3. Partner Intervals – This is a favourite of mine, no stopwatch needed, just a good training partner. Perform and exercise or complex, as soon as you’re done, your partner goes, then back to you for rounds.

  4. Active Rest – Don’t just rest, move about. Put a cardio or agility drill in between each strength or skill exercise. This is great with a partner, he lifts, you cardio, as soon as his set is done swap. I love doing this alternating between heavy Farmers walks and Battling Ropes, it’s ‘orrible!

  5. Minute Drills – My lunchtime crew are familiar with these, they “love” ’em! Set a buzzer to sound every 60 seconds. As soon as it goes bang out a circuit of 2-4 exercises for 4-6 reps each, make sure to hit the whole body. The faster you get the circuit done, the longer you get to recover because as soon as that 60 seconds is up and the buzzer sounds, you’re going again! 10 – 15 minutes of this is usually enough and works great after a strength workout or as a stand alone conditioning set.

  6. Fartlek Training – While out running constantly change speed for a variety of distances. I find it works best with a partner, while running you pick out an object in the distance and the two of you race to it, when you get there return to a slower jog. It’s now his turn, whenever he’s ready he’ll make a call. This is fun and very challenging.

So there you have it, 6 simple methods to help you become better able to recover and repeat you skill, without loosing strength, power and speed. It’s not the athlete that never tires that wins, but it’s the ones who can best manage that fatigue that come out on top.

For more ideas and information on developing your fitness, have a look at the WMD – Strength & Conditioning for Martial Artists eBook which is based on our Boot Camp program.

Click Here to begin Training like a Combat Athlete



Also: Steve Cotter’s CKT 1 & 2 courses, June 2-4 here in Dublin. CLICK HERE FOR INFO

Wild Geese Kettlebell Workshops Levels 1 &2, March 4th, details in side bar –>

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