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Strength Training Structure for Intense and Frequent Combat Sport Training

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

In this blog post I'm going to go through a way of structuring strength training that'll help you get strong with the least amount of fatigue possible (muscle soreness, lethargy, decreased mobility etc.). While this post is targeting combat sport athletes, any athlete who trains their sport hard and often may benefit from this structure.

I went through a lot of the underlying principles and rationale for this style of programming in a previous post which you can find here.

Let's start with the structure of the program and then I'll go through each component below:

This type of structure is what I referred to as 'sessional undulation' in my previous blog post. It's where the goal of each exercise changes throughout the session and it's for people who train their sport hard and often.

The main lift component is simply any compound movement intended to build general strength. Think bench press, row, deadlift and squat variations (push, pull, hinge and squat). These will be heavy (no more than 8-10 reps) and you'll work up to just 1 heavy set!

Now you don't have to do a different main lift on each day, if you have weak legs you may want to do the squat on days 1 and 3 and the press on day 2, it's up to you and what you need to equip yourself with to do well at your sport.

The ballistic component is any ballistic or explosive movement such as a throw, sprint (sleds included), jump or banded exercise (accommodating resistance).

The mobility component is a loaded movement that targets specific mobility. For example, pullovers for shoulder mobility or kettlebell frog squats for hip mobility. You'll be aiming for around 10-15 reps and these are done using light weights (~RPE 5) as mobility is the goal here.

Lastly, we have a core exercise. I like strongman exercises such as suit case carries and barbell walk variations with suspended kettlebells (they're fun). But any bodyweight core exercise is fine.

All we're doing in this program is taking what's commonly done in 1 or 2 days and splitting it across 3-4 days. This spreads the fatigue cost over the week and will help optimise recovery while improving important strength qualities. Expect to be a LITTLE BIT sore and tight in the first 1-2 weeks (nothing a good warmup cant fix), up until the 'repeat-bout effect' kicks in and you shouldn't feel any soreness or tightness at all (don't change exercises every session and every week).

Below is a sample day of training using some of the information from this post:

  • Main lift is the seated landmine press

  • Ballistic exercise is the medball punch

  • Mobility exercises is the b-stance RDL and row variation

Then I do have an arm pump series there because i enjoy training and like having jacked arms (who doesn't). Finally, I have 3 accessory exercises that I do on every day of training, why every day of training you ask? Well I'm simply taking the number of sets I'd normally do on a single day and distributing it across the week to better manage recovery. SIMPLE.

Another short, sharp and simple post. If you'd like more information on this program or would like me to design one for you to follow on the Train Heroic app, book a consult today

Suggested Readings:

Gomes et al (2019). High-Frequency Resistance Training Is Not More Effective Than Low-Frequency Resistance Training in Increasing Muscle Mass and Strength in Well-Trained Men. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 33 Suppl 1, S130–S139.

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