Anybody can make you tired.
A real coach can make you better.
Strength and Conditioning is a vital part to high level success in any sport, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Grappling/MMA is no different.
To illustrate this point, here’s a pertinent quote from Mark Rippetoe:
“(in reference to a bicyclist who seemed to be saying that riding was similar to squats since they both made your legs hurt): “Yes they both hurt, but so do burning your hand and burying your bulldog. The differences are actually quite significant. The trouble with cyclists is that their training establishment keeps reinforcing the silly bullshit that all recreational athletes want to believe. At some point, all serious athletes go outside their sport-specific work to improve, and recreational athletes just want to play their sport and wear the clothes.”
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Letting Go of Vanity
It’s my opinion that the whole argument that to get better at BJJ, all you need to do is go to class and train, is faulty. While I do agree that it will get you to a certain point, as Rippetoe observes, a serious athlete must eventually go outside of their sport-specific work to improve.
It is with that in mind that I decided to hire a strength and conditioning coach. But the choice wasn’t easy. Not because I didn’t like training. I’ve read everything that Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Mark Rippetoe, Mel Sif (not that I understand any of Supertraining), etc. I have written my own programs for years and I have trained multiple state-champion high school athletes over the past five years. But, riddled with unexplained injuries, focusing on my business instead of myself and tired of letting my own weakness and vanity decide the programs that I wrote for myself, I decided it was time.
I had known William Wayland of Powering Through for a while via the internet. I thought, why the heck not? His articles are great, he is affordable, and I know that he knows more than I do.
I contacted William and immediately we started work. He had me complete a very thorough test battery including a lot of things that I knew to be important, but was neglecting. I mean, who cares how internally rotated your shoulders are, right? (Answer: You! http://www.powering-through.com/2012/01/upper-crossed-syndrome-in-mma.html). After completing the battery and emailing it to William, he promptly wrote my first program and emailed it to me. Not only did he explain every exercise (most of which I knew already), but included video of himself doing the movements for the ones that I wasn’t sure on. That’s a lot of effort on his part and was very valuable in me doing the movements properly.
After the first month of the program, I started to feel better. Many of the issues that I had been experiencing for the last year started to slowly go away. By choice, I repeated the first month of programming twice and we are now onto our second month. William used the data from the first month, as well as my feedback, to guide the second month’s program.
Since he is readily available on skype, facebook, and twitter (see below for links), I could ask questions any time I needed and he would get back to me (sometimes instantly!). This was great because when I was injured training BJJ, William could adapt the program within 24 hours to accommodate the injury.
Deeper Into The Program
I would delve more into the program that I am using, but it wouldn’t make much sense except that it addresses my specific needs, which we identified to be: internal shoulder rotation and lack of explosive power despite a moderate level of strength. Also, I was fat and out of shape (but that’s my opinion, not William’s haha).
I believe that working with William is an excellent decision whether you are new to BJJ or a veteran. Whether you pursue BJJ recreationally or as a serious competitor, working with a professional coach will make the difference where you need it most, on the mat.
Beyond the Game
Now let's discuss how it's improved the rest of my life….
I woke up this morning with my left knee an absolute mess. It didn't get injured in practice last night, and it didn't hurt before I went to sleep so the only thing I can imagine is that I slept with it twisted in the sheets or something.
Too much information, I know.
But it reminded me of the days when I used to gave to take 1000mg of tylenol and 800mg of ibuprofen just to let my dogs go outside in the morning.
Any BJJ athlete who is long in the tooth has been through a number of serious injuries and if you are a purple belt or above and you haven't had a serious injury (like me), you likely have 100 small things bothering you. For me, it used to be:
- both ring and pinky fingers
- my left knee
- my right hip
- my left hip
- my neck
- both big toes
It was absurd. But now I don't have any of those injuries. The heck with improving performance on the mat. I just wanted to improve performance walking the dogs.
BJJ isn't worth living a life like this. I've come to realize one of the best things about working with a professional coach is improved health.
I know the video is a bit long, but in it you get to see my dungeon of a basement, and more importantly you'll get a solid understanding of why certain things are best left to professionals.
Don't Take My Word For It
Working with William Wayland not only improves my health, but working with a professional coach also saves me time.
No more wondering what I should do or reading articles online or buying books. He does all the legwork and all I do is follow the program.
You can listen to Williams in this Podcast episode.
“You may own books, ebooks and video's by some great trainers but actually structuring training and following them is a different kettle of fish. How many of actually honestly apply this stuff? Especially if you have a full-time job, responsibilities and play a sport.”
For his incredibly reasonable rates (I was actually very surprised by this, given the amount of attention and feedback you get) and program details.
You can also contact him on Facebook, his site, or on Twitter (@WSWayland).
Still want more? See William in action here:
Postscript on Improving Your Jiu Jitsu Technique
This is from the Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood:
You Keep Forgetting Your BJJ Techniques…
..and the ones you do manage to memorise you usually can't recall by your next class.
But the secrets you’ll learn in this BJJ instructional video will give you the tools to ensure you still make rapid progress.
For the first time, two of the art's most progressive instructors come together to bring you a resource guaranteed to take your understanding of jiu jitsu to a deeper level.
I completely agree with this. There is always the argument of technique over strength, but imagine what would happen if you had the best of both worlds… People like Galvao, Rodolfo, and Palhares happen.
Right. When technique is equal, strength and conditioning matters. BJJ is meant to be used against and untrained opponent, so when the opponent has training, other attributes matter even moreso.