Conditioning in a Time of Strength-Building
I’ve been lifting weights twice a week since the beginning of September – Rabbit Season on Mondays and Duck Season on Wednesdays. And while I’ve certainly gotten stronger, am getting back to where I was at my strongest this spring, and am on track toward my goal of reaching “good” levels of strength by April 1st, it’s worth noting that there has been no beneficial transfer over to my jiu-jitsu that I can identify.
Mostly that’s because getting stronger is taking the place of improving conditioning. While it is true that it is preferable to get your conditioning on the mat if your primary activity is jiu-jitsu, it is also true that if you aren’t getting to the academy as frequently as you’d prefer (i.e., 3-4 times a week), then relying on training to improve your conditioning is a recipe for frustration and failure.
The wife of one of my teammates – the rare teammate who is older, smaller, and senior in rank to me – once gave me a great piece of advice I’ve been resisting ever since. She said, essentially, that at our age (meaning my age and her husband’s) we need to train for jiu-jitsu, instead of treating jiu-jitsu as training.
This means, without making too much of it, we need to treat everyday training with a mindset – and skillset and bodyset – not too unlike that of a competitor. At least if we’re planning on jumping in the “everybody grab a partner” deep water of 30+ minute Live Training or Open Mat. Again, I don’t want to overstate it. But I do want to focus on what works for those in a situation that may be similar to mine: a sea turtle swimming with the tiger sharks.
More on what this means later. For now, I’m adding a post-training conditioning routine that’s served me well in the past. I’m trying to work up to the equivalent of at least 120 minutes of cardio spread out over three or four days each week in addition to the strength training (live jiu-jitsu will count here BTW). This is what Joel Jamieson of 8 Weeks Out categorizes as the minimum for high-level maintenance conditioning when trying to improve strength. This post-training conditioning routine, plus 90-minutes of LSD/treadmill work at my gym down the street, should do the trick.
So here’s the program. Repeat as a circuit three to five times after Live Training/Open Mat.
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