Strength and Conditioning Secrets for the Combat Athlete to the Everyday Athlete

 “You are not special. Your are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else

Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Look I realize that you are here expecting an article detailing how your needs, and that of a fighter are somehow unique and special.  In fact I originally wrote most of this article for a fighter preparing for a tournament. But despite what your mother may have told you or what commercials you may have seen on the TV, most athletes all require the same basic attributes scaled of course to their event intensity and duration.  (it should be clear that the energy/ metabolic needs of a line backer are far different from that of a ballerina).

But all sports require both strength, conditioning, and powerwork in varying dosages on some level.  Runners still need strength and power development if they ever want to be able to accelerate (particularly in the final portion of a race) and even power lifters benefit from a  base level of conditioning (which can speed recovery between sets).  The key is in knowing when to train what and how hard.  The general principals are simple however and quite universal:Prepare for your sport by practicing your particular sport (were talking skill acquisition here)
Establish a base level of strength
Increase power output
Develop required conditioning for said sport.

Even if it seems as though your conditioning is your limiting factor:  if you don’t have a deadline that is close at hand (like less than 8wks).  This should be your strategy.  If you have a competition or event sooner than 8 weeks then plan better next time jack ass (seriously if you are <8 wks out and you don’t know what you are doing, get your shit together). 

Strength takes longest to develop and should therefore be focused on first.  It also diminishes the slowest so a minimal amount of strength training will be required later on when conditioning is your primary to maintain it.  On the other side of the spectrum conditioning adaptations are relatively fast and diminish fairly quickly as well.  Power is in between the two but no less important (arguably more important as it is typically the expression of power that determines athletic success).

Notice how strength, power, and conditioning all take progressively less time to peak as you move down the list.  Which means that the time you spend in the gym training should look something like this:

These are the basics of block periodization. Where different attributes are given different emphasis within a given time frame. So get your priorities straight and train smart.  If you need help developing a sound plan, I am as always at your service.References:
Rippetoe, M. (2010). Practical Programming for Strength Training. Whichita Falls, TX: The Aasgaard Company
National Strength and Conditioning Association. (2008).Essentials of Strength and Conditioning (3rd ed.). Human Kinetics

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