Why "off the mat" conditioning is a waste of valuable training time

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Gurrilla

Member
Jan 4, 2019
11
9
One of the things that always bothered me was how often strength and conditioning aficionados tried to "lure" my athletes off the mat to participate in other sports like lifting and running

They would hang around my gym rarely venturing onto the mat whilst always offering advice and opportunity for my athletes to learn their "secrets of strength and conditioning" by leaving the grappling mat to going off to the weight room or out for a jog

As a record breaking wrestling coach and "founding father" of American MMA I knew that sport specific strength and conditioning was simply a beneficial byproduct of participation in a sport...not something that should parasatize your valuable mat time!!

I scientifically proved this theory when I banned all "off mat conditioning" for my high school wrestling team and quickly broke all the records for that school's 30 year history

When I had wrestled for that team some decade prior we were required to jog 30 minutes before even stepping onto the wrestling mat and required to lift weights at least twice a week...this radically reduced our actual on the mat wrestling time

As soon as I took over that team I required my athletes to show up to wrestling practice, gear up and get on the mat

After dressing out we did a sports-specific warm-up routine I developed that lasted right around five minutes

After that we went over the "move of the day" did a few fun drills then began live wrestling

Other Regional coaches began to interrogate me when they saw my success and when they found out that I banned jogging and weight lifting for my high school wrestling program they thought I was out of my mind however years later I found from some of their former athletes that they had adopted aspects of my regime into their programs

I had success in the sport of wrestling because I banned off the mat conditioning and interspersed Judo freestyle and Greco-Roman techniques into the American folkstyle wrestling program

You don't see Runners and weightlifters participating in MMA to get good at their sport

...why do MMA athletes leave the MMA gym to go jogging or lift weights in a misguided attempt to get better at MMA?

View: https://youtu.be/O9D5hrScqtI

View: https://youtu.be/q8Eyj_RECmg

View: https://youtu.be/LL8sN8mqx5g
 

SAJ

ATM 9 & 10 winner
Aug 2, 2015
1,707
2,711
Yeah cardio should be specifically sport focused, so we get the cardio we need for our sport

I do believe running, sprinting, burpees does give you a baseline level fitness though and will improve your overall stamina and lung capacity.

I would say do both if you can
 

Gurrilla

Member
Jan 4, 2019
11
9
Yeah cardio should be specifically sport focused, so we get the cardio we need for our sport

I do believe running, sprinting, burpees does give you a baseline level fitness though and will improve your overall stamina and lung capacity.

I would say do both if you can
Good point and that those exercises will definitely give you a baseline of cardiovascular fitness so they would be a good thing to do if you had no training partner

However

If you actually have an opportunity to train with a partner and you decide to engage in off the mat conditioning instead you are wasting your time because sport-specific conditioning the kind of condition you get from participating in Combat Athletics is far superior in every measurable criteria
 

Leigh

Professional Fighter
Moderator
Pro Fighter
Jan 26, 2015
10,060
18,940
It's an interesting post. I used to kill myself with powerlifting and hill sprints for MMA. I was too focused on it and I had no energy for skill training and I didn't work on efficiency, so I'd still gas.

That said, improving your aerobic engine and building some muscle can be invaluable and that's easier with cardio and strength training that with sport training. But I never push myself close to failure any more.