The importance of absorbing and rebounding force in your training

Discussion in 'Strength Training' started by Enkidu, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Strength training is fantastic. I am a big proponent of strength training (as you would expect from someone who used to compete in powerlifting and who coaches others in strength & conditioning). All other things being equal, being stronger is better than being weaker. That doesn't mean that strength is necessarily the end-all and be-all of your time spent with weights. Strength is most certainly the FOUNDATION on which you build other physical skills. So if you are weak, you need to spend time getting strong. But at some point, your focus should start to shift gradually away from maximal strength and more towards developing power (which is the ability to display strength quickly). Moreover, as a martial artist you really need to develop a specific type of power, which is the ability to absorb and rebound force.

    What does this mean in practice? It means that exercise like cleans, snatches, push presses, snatches, KB swings (and KB variants of the Oly lifts), medicine ball throws (and catches), explosive rebounding push-ups, depth jumps, depth push-ups, etc. must start to develop a more and more prominent place in your training (while never forgetting that at least some portion of your time must still be spent on building and maintaining maximal strength).

    There is just something about this type of training that toughens your body up in a way that is different than pure strength training, even though the weights used are lighter. Your body starts to develop the ability to absorb impacts and react by rebound the force applied against you back against an opponent. I once heard a former NFL lineman talking about this phenomenon. Impacts in the NFL are often the equivalent of a 40 mph car crash into a brick wall. Yet football players have been conditioned from years of playing football, from pee wee football through high school and college to develop greater and greater abilities to absorb this impact. In pee wee football, a tackle might be the equivalent of a 5 mph crash, in HS it might be up to 15 mph crashes, etc. Even an incredibly strong person who has never conditioned his body in this way would crumble after being hit my an NFL players who was no nearly as strong.

    So, if you a decent level of strength (i.e., if you already have a good foundation) you should start looking for ways to start building some martial arts specific attributes to your training.

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