I hope ya’ll are doing well. It’s time for more information about supplementary strength and conditioning for combative training. This post contains the 6th video on this subject. There are other videos about the subject which have other titles. Unless plans change, future videos and post in this series will be more kettlebell and the like. I’m doing more KB and sand bag training now. That means rings and trx are in the mix as well. Any Hooo, enjoy!
With all that aside, here we go. It’s great to do exercises and drills that mimic our combative movements to become stronger and faster at the movements. It is even better and more important to do general supportive and corrective exercises when doing strength training. What do I mean? If you do push training a lot in your daily combative technique training you need to make sure you pull in strength training to avoid a pattern overload and end up with problems. I could write about motor training and long vs. short muscle and many things but we’ll keep it simple.
When we look at how the body moves, there are planes of movement and basic movement patterns. Bending, and squatting are some examples of movement patterns. We can also look at common actions (or common factors) that we perform in both examples. When I do my deadlift/”health-lifts,” I make sure my core is locked into place to start off with. I lock my lats down and hold my chest up. For the most part I keep my feet pointed forwards unless it’s a variation that demands otherwise. This engages the glutes more. The glute muscles are part of the DL’s as well as part of the squat movement. If you look at the people lifting obscene amounts of weights you will see the squat movement pattern incorporates the glutes in order to create more power. We want to do it for more stability and explosive abilities as well as creating a balance to the movement patterns that we get extreme volume from. By training several joints in an exercise we train the muscles that are needed. Neurologically, we are teaching our body parts to work together to create power. As combatives, we want power before strength. One way to create power is through the use of several joints in a movement. Raw strength is great if you have tons of time as well (and you are not an old fart ).
If we were talking ( instead of writing and reading ) you would probably think… stop bending my ear and tell me how to make my squat better. Well, here we go.
1. Do front squats not back squats. Most people have rotten thoracic mobility and shoulder mobility / stability. This gets in the way of doing the squat correctly. Do corrective exercises for the thoracic/shoulder mobility for a while. Doing front squats will help work on core strength and stability.
2. Learn to exert force with your chest up and your core locked. Do the supportive exercises when needed.
3. Locking the lats down helps keep things stable.
4. Pay close attention to how I hold the bar with my hands gripping the bar and how the bar rides my shoulder. Many people don’t have the wrist mobility as well as other factors to do a good front squat. Holding the bar the way I show will help pull your chest up and keep the bar on your shoulders.
5. Keep the largest part of the weight off the front part of your feet. There are arguments for full foot contact and heal force theories. In order to avoid a very long post, I’ll just say knee pains can come and go depending on the amount of force you place on different parts of your feet. By putting more weight on the heel or the whole foot will activate different muscles. The knee angle will change as well. The amount of weight you are squatting also plays a part here.
6. Do your technique training in front of a mirror to start with. Make sure everything is working the way it should. One thing to watch is knee, foot and hip alignment. This technique training can take a while. Is your core tight and locked in, is you chest up?
7. There are other tips but this post is becoming too long. find some help for more tips. If this information is new for you. Get some help!
8. Listen to the weakest link in the chain. If you can not hold the locked core or any other part of the squat stop!!! If you want to train deep squats use light weights to make sure your technique is up to it. I started ass to the grass squats with 12 kg. Mobility and core training were part of the building up process as well. Be aware of what your body is doing, proprioception, is important.
9. If you are not sure get some help. Find a pro who can really help you. Too many people say they understand when it’s not true. Case in point: too many people get a weekend, one day or half day course to become a trainer and then they tell a beginner to focus on a naked squat and keeping the core tight. The result is a person that hunches over in every day life reenforcing that pattern in a squat. I’ve seen it too many times. If a person can’t lock their core into a hard and strong position away from the squat, they will never do it while learning a new skill! If the pro can not walk and talk, we have a problem Houston. Another case in point: I would never teach anybody olympic lifts. I don’t have the training. The same for obscene amounts of weight, in other wards powerlifting. I only teach general strength and conditioning, kettlebells, sandbag training and a little sprint training. The trainer should be honest about their knowledge bank.
10. Know if you want to do squats for general strength and conditioning, power lifting or olympic techniques. Go from there. Base your plan on this first step.
You might have to do quite a lot of supportive training to get to a good level of power lifting and olympic lifting but it’s worth it. I use overhead lunges to get me to my goal of doing overhead squats the right way. Having my shoulders twisted out of joint means hard work to get there, but it’s worth it. I like the feeling, I have in my body after a push day with overhead lunges in it.
Power lifting (click to see video) has all sorts of tips and tricks for lifting the heavy weights. If that is your wish, find a good coach in that area. If you are looking to improve your squat to be more athletic, a normal trainer that knows what he’s doing can help you. Just don’t be dazzled by a young man who has the young years on his side. They can do things that don’t work for us other mortals and old farts. I was a tank when I was young. Today, I am happy when I get up to a 100 kg front squat. We’ll see what my back squat is when I feel my shoulders are ready.
Last but not least, I use a bracing technique when the weight starts to get heavier. We can cover that another time. If you do it as well, practice it with light weights to get better at it.
As a reminder, train strength training as a supportive part of your combative skills and throw a few sport specific drills in the mix.
That’s enough for now. Have a great day.
Stay Proactive in Life and Training