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Old 01-12-2007, 03:50 PM   #1
Derek Simonds
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Location: Deland, FL
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Question BJJ Training and Muscle Fatigue

I made this a new post as a follow up to my post about changing up my exercise base to go along with my BJJ training.

I have been working to increase my all around strength to improve my grappling. Some feedback. I really feel my overall strength has improved (and my logbook also shows this) consistently since I have been black boxing, my cardio is very solid. Here is where I am struggling.

I started attending the no gi classes in addition to the gi classes and in the no gi classes we end up rolling for about 45 minutes. I am absolutely hell on wheels for the first 20 - 25 minutes then I start losing my strength. Not my cardio. After each round I can rest and control my breathing fairly easily. But my strength seems to ebb very fast from here out. Last night in the last round of the night we were about 3 minutes in and I had been swept and I was actually thankful for being able to lay on my back for a moment, but I couldn't even muster enough strength to get a good lock to keep him close. I ended up tapping because I couldn't stop any of his transitions.

In looking at most of the xfit workouts that are metcon based they seem to last in the 20 minute range. I was wondering if they were not long enough. My two thoughts for adapting my training program are.

1) Should I increase the length of my metcon workouts gradually to get into the 35 - 40 minute range so that I am better prepared for the longer amount of time on the mat and the variety of energy systems being taxed?

2) On my black box exercises should I change my rep program to a higher rep schema instead of a lower more power based attack. Currently I am randomly changing up my reps on my strength exercises from 1 to 3 to 5.

I don't want to change my reps as I feel my power is increasing dramatically and I think I am starting to develop a power bias . I can specifically isolate the muscle groups that are fatiguing and it is my arms, legs and hands. Really not much left after that I know but I just wanted to make sure to share all the info I have.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do. -John Ruskin

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Old 01-12-2007, 04:09 PM   #2
Josh Whiting
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 56


The following may not be relevant to you, so please ignore it if it's not.

Firstly Grappling when you are tired and your strength is low is a good thing. It forces you to use technique and gets you used to that "I can't go on" feeling. It sounds like you are really reliant on strength and grappling when tired will force you out of that.

You can't really expect to go full out for that period. Another thing is that you say your "hell on wheels" for the first 20 minutes. Maybe you should relax a bit. It is less work and more effective to turn on the power/strength suddenly rather than grapple all the time at 100% time.

I'm very aggressive and it took me some time to apply above!
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:59 PM   #3
Derek Simonds
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Default Great Points Josh!

I agree with you Josh. I am actually working on the whole being more relaxed and using my strength explosively. In traditional gi grappling I do a better job of relaxing.

In no gi I think that I am making up for my lack of experience / technique by using my strength. There were several times last night where I had managed to work my way into a dominant position but was unable to apply the correct technique to finish the match.

I definitely need to work the game better so that I am more relaxed and have less energy use. I am much more comfortable when I am pushing the action or being aggressive rather than waiting for my opponent to bring it to me.

I am confident that just being on the mat will help develop the sport specific strength, relaxation and confidence I need. Part of the reason I am asking is because I travel a lot with my job and one thing I can do every day is get in some sort of physical exercise. It is much more difficult to find a place to practice BJJ that doesn't charge $25 or $50 visitors mat fee for one night or is an hour drive from where I am working.

Thanks again for the advice you are right on the money.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do. -John Ruskin

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Old 01-31-2007, 09:38 PM   #4
Heather Gibbons
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40 to 45 minutes is a long time to grapple and I agree that if you can learn to flow a bit more you can manage your energy expenditure a bit better. I would also consider the fact that the areas of your body that are tiring are areas in which you hold an isometric contraction while sparring. This is a different application of strength than I suspect you generally train for.
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:16 PM   #5
Robb Wolf
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Good Stuff Heather! Glad to see you emerge from the shadows!

Hey folks, Heather is a Purple belt in BJJ. She works out at CrossFit Eastside with Michael Street and Carrie Clumpar. She is an excellent coach and generally a smarty pants.
"Survival will be neither to the strongest of the species, nor to the most intelligent, but to those most adaptable to change."
C. Darwin

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