Why I hate Strength Training…

Alright, time for a confession…I HATE strength training. Or, I guess I should say that I hate the term strength training.

The problem is that it leads a lot of people to believe that strength is the end goal of the workouts when it really isn’t. This is based on the assumption that if you improve your strength numbers by X amount in the gym then you’ll improve your performance by Y percent on the mats.

However, we all know that this often isn’t the case. Sometimes people train hard in the gym and get better at working out but they don’t see as much improvement where it matter most…on the mats.

What gets forgotten is that strength is a symptom of how you move, not a direct cause of improved performance.

As an athlete how you move when you train – both on the mats and in the gym – is the most important thing for you to focus on. You want to use your exercises as a way to practice the basic movement patterns you need for your sport, not to simply get better at exercising.

So this means that if you improve your strength but you achieve it in a way that compromises how you move then it isn’t helping you on the mats.

For example, the deadlift is a great exercise for the BJJ athlete…if you do it in a way that trains the hip hinge movement pattern you need on the mats, not just your ability to pick up heavy stuff off the ground.

I personally like to see a 1.5 – 2 X bodyweight deadlift from guys I train BUT I want them to do it in a very specific way. If they start to drop their hips and bend their knees too much then they aren’t working the same movement pattern they need on the mat.

Strength gains made at the expense of how we move miss the ultimate goal of training and won’t carry over as effectively.

This also means that we need to establish good movement first. Any program that doesn’t emphasize mobility and movement quality over improvements in strength and work capacity will sabotage you on the mats over the long run.

So while you do need to get strong – which is why it is called Stength Training – it has to be done with the idea of following the same movement principles you want to use on the mat. Look at your Strength Training as Movement Practice and you’ll get a lot more out of it when you roll.

If you have any questions or comments about this article just post a comment below, I always like to hear what people think about this stuff.

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Until next time…

Roll Strong,

James Wilson

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