5 Things You Must Understand To Improve Your Grappling Performance
1. Train for Performance
Make sure you are using methods that are proven to improve performance. Did you get your workout program from a bodybuilding magazine? Or from a “Get Six-Pack Abs Now” article? That’s a mistake.
Improving performance is much different than trying to get ripped so you can see your abs. Olympic athletes don’t just go to the gym and get their sweat on and hope they shave off that 1/16 of a second so that they can go home with the gold. They have specific methods and a plan to execute them. You should too.
Don’t know where to start? Check out my articles on conditioning. Start with this one:
2. Optimize Your Recovery
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that training hard is all you have to do to. Recovery is the missing piece to so many people’s performance improvement puzzle. Here’s why: you actually get WEAKER after you workout. Period. It’s not until you have appropriately recovered from your training that you see improvements.
Here are a few things you can do to recover better from your training:
Take breaks from intense training. You can still go to class and drill or still hit the weight room but scale down the volume and/or the intensity. This takes some experimentation to get right, but you’ll feel the difference when you’re fully recovered.
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a huge issue for many people. You wake up early to get to work, work all day, go workout after, then go home and watch TV until 1am. Or something similar. Whatever. The point is that sleep is important. It’s when your body goes into repair mode and when you release the highest amount of growth hormone. Growth hormone, for those of you who don’t know, is a powerful substance in your body that burns fat, increases muscle and improves performance. The older you are, the more this is going to be an issue for you. Try to get around 8 hours of sleep. You’ll see an improvement in your body and performance.
Good nutrition. Going in-depth about nutrition is beyond the scope of this article. But here are some things you can do today: drink plenty of water, eat quality protein and plenty of vegetables. Stay away from processed food and junk.
3. Smart Supplementation
I was going to put this with optimize recovery but supplements deserve their own section. I’ve benefited tremendously from some supplements. Others seemed like a waste of money. I’ve been researching and experimenting with supplements for over 15 years. Here I’m going to share a few of the supplements that have helped me with training and recovery.
Protein Powder. This supplement after a workout will help you recover better. Having one in between meals can help as well if you’re training frequently. Just make sure you get a good quality product like grass-fed whey or Organic Pea protein.
Creatine Monohydrate. There are many forms of creatine on the market. Just stick with the tried-and-true creatine monohydrate. Make sure it’s not made in China.
Beta-Alanine. Another powerhouse supplement. It has similar benefits to performance as creatine.
Magnesium. This mineral has numerous benefits that will help your grappling including improving muscle contraction, rebuilding tissue and fighting inflammation. The RDA is 300mg for women and 400mg for men. Make sure you stay away from magnesium oxide (what most multi-vitamins use) as it is poorly absorbed. Instead look for magnesium bound to glycinate or taurate.
Zinc. This mineral helps your immune system and ensures and research suggests it is important for optimal hormone production as well. Stay away from zinc oxide and go for zinc glycinate or zinc arginate. I supplement with 30mg/day.
4. Integrate Your Grappling and Conditioning
I’ve mentioned this concept before but it bears repeating. Don’t just add a conditioning routine. Work it in appropriately with low volume and intensity (low sets and weight) then gradually increase the sets and weight as your body becomes capable from recovering from more work.
You especially want to do this as you’re learning new exercises. Just as in grappling, the more you work on the quality of your technique, the better your results. If you’re not getting the results you think should be getting, then it’s time to try a new approach.
Remember, your training program is only as good as your ability to recover from it.
5. Work Your Weak Link For Fast Improvement
This is another concept I’ve mentioned before. Too often we tend to focus on what we’re good at. Guys with good endurance like to do high reps and cardio. Guys who are strong like to lift heavier weights and rest a lot. It’s good to have a strong point but do not neglect your weakness.
My personal weakness is endurance. I was always fairly strong and explosive for a grappler. My problem was keeping that strength and explosiveness match after match in training or a competition. That is until I identified my weakness and learned effective methods to make it better.
Make sure you work that weak link. This may require that you back off from the things you are good at for a brief period of time. It’s hard to get yourself to stop something that is working for you to focus on something your not, but this is the type of behavior that will lead to long-term success.
BY: Ted Ryce
Ted Ryce is a brown belt with two stripes in Brazilian Jiujitsu under Daniel Valverde in Miami, Florida. He is a professional personal trainer with over 13 years of experience specializing in the areas of Sports Performance and Medical Exercise Programs. For more information visit: www.RyceFitness.com