Something I often notice is that there is a large misconception in grappling and striking that you should only do strength and conditioning if your goal is competition. To me this is like saying you shouldn’t take your car to the mechanic unless you plan on being a Nascar driver.
No, you may not need a super charged engine or high performance tires, but unless you plan on spending a lot of money, you’ll need gas, oil, transmission fluid, tire rotations, etc. Without it, your car breaks down, and the same can happen to your body.
Here are some of the benefits to hitting the weight room a couple times a week:
- Most Obvious Benefit, PERFORMANCE – Jiu-Jitsu hippies will cringe at this one, but let me patronize you for a minute. If you are sick of getting smashed just because your teammates can out hustle you, then getting on some strength and conditioning is going to really change the game for you. Imagine being the one who’s doing the out hustling? Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
- Less Aches and Pains – Most combat sports are going to leave you lopsided in some way. By that I mean most people who train casually or competitively will favor a particular side for certain techniques. Over time this creates an imbalance, which leads to those loveable aches, pains, and injury. The most effective method to address this issue is to strength train.
- Transient Rise in Testosterone – Heavy lifting has been scientifically proven to cause a transient increase in the levels of your manliness hormones.
- Less Sucky Training – If you build yourself a bigger gas tank and more powerful engine, then you will be able to get more out of every single training session. If you spar three rounds at the ends of class and the first one leaves you gassed, then the next two are essentially a waste. However, if you can perform at near peak level for all three, you have improved your training efficiency 300%. That means every round you can think clearly, your body reacts the way your mind tells it to, and you leave the training session in a much better mental state than you would if you had spent the session gasping for air like a beached porpoise.
- Look Better Naked – Let’s be honest, we all wanna look good in our birthday suits. Strength and conditioning will help you add some serious muscle tone, and also increase your resting metabolic rate. Translation: your appeal to the opposite sex increases by 572%. Okay, so I made that number up, but you get the message.
- Feel More Beastly – There are few things that make you feel more like an absolute monster than picking up heavy things and putting them back down. Unleash your inner caveman (grunting optional).
In all honesty, the mental benefits you will receive from strength and conditioning are worth it alone. I’ve heard many people get down on themselves for not being in good enough shape to make the most out of every match or sparring session. Even if you aren’t consciously aware of it, being in better shape is going to give you an exponential boost in confidence on the mat. Knowing that after you throw that 10-punch combo you can blast right into another will really change your training. Just like having the extra push to finish a double leg instead of just getting sprawled face first into the mat is going to have a HUGE difference in your training session.
Now I’m not saying that you need to lock yourself into the hyperbolic time chamber(google search with DBZ) for a year and spend every day pumping iron. Simply adding in two, one hour sessions per week to a solid strength and conditioning program will pay you massive dividends in the end. So ask yourself, do you have two hours a week to dedicate to maximizing the other hours you spend training?(That’s my last patronizing comment. ;))