I’m sure you’ve heard at various different times in your training about muscle fibres, and more specifically ‘fast twitch’ and ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibres, and the importance of training specifically to develop each type. But what the hell are the different types of muscle fibre? This article is going to run through the two different types, what they do and how to develop them and most importantly what ones you want to develop to help improve your martial arts.
As a fighter you’re constantly looking for an edge to get you ahead of your opponent. You can drill technique constantly, but to become a complete and well rounded athlete you need to develop speed and power as well. You need to be able to go from relaxed to full power in a split second, and the way to get there is to work on becoming explosive.
When you walk into the gym it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the huge array of equipment for you to choose from, and find yourself faced with choosing which pieces of equipment are going to be the most effective to improve your strength and conditioning. For the most part, all the different equipment is going to improve a different area – the squat rack is going to help you develop overall strength, treadmill sprints are going to help you develop the high intensity/short burst cardio you need in the ring. But what if there was a piece of gear, just one thing, that’s going to give you game changing conditioning, explosive punching power and the kind of muscle endurance that’s going to keep you punching and kicking well after the final round. Sound too good to be true?
Meet the Kettlebell.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional fighter or you’ve taken up a martial art for fitness, nutrition is important. The overused phrase is that getting in top shape is 20% gym work and 80% kitchen work, and when it comes to the nutrition side of things protein is top of the list. The benefits of protein are endless – it helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, can stop insulin spikes (believed to contribute to fat storage) and most importantly helps build and maintain muscle, and the more muscle you have the easier it is to get rid of fat.
As a follow up to the article we posted a few weeks ago about why you should be strength training as a fighter, we’re going to provide you with a basic training program to help improve your strength without adding mass (assuming it’s accompanied by correct nutrition) and so increase your power to weight ratio, the ‘golden number’ as it were for a fighter.
We all know that fighting isn’t just about technique. If you have perfect technique but don’t have the stamina to keep fighting for more than 30 seconds then you’re not likely to have a very long career. Instead, fighters have to develop the endurance to last multiple rounds whilst they use their technique to outscore or knock out their opponent. It’s not that simple though, and there are numerous points of view about the best way to build up endurance, with the most common idea being regular 3-5 mile runs, otherwise known as roadwork.
There are several schools of thought when it comes to cross training martial arts and weightlifting, the vast majority negative. I train in Muay Thai, so what I generally hear is “well the Thai’s don’t use weights when they train and they’re the best in the world” but you get similar arguments in all disciplines ranging from ‘body weight works better than weights’ to the most common “I can’t gain any weight because I need to fight as light as possible”. However, I started weight training well before I started Muay Thai, and I’m a big proponent of it, so I’m going to try and lay down some facts to try and change your opinion and more importantly give you a powerful new tool in your fight game.Continue reading Should you be weight training if you do martial arts?