It seems that many grappling coaches and athletes simply miss the point when it
comes to class warm-ups. Warm-ups are physical and mental preparation for the
upcoming training session. By raising body temperature, blood flow, and breathing
rate they provide an optimal physiological environment for muscle contraction
and metabolic processes. In addition, they allow the athlete to tune-in
mentally to the techniques and drills to be taught. So what are the most common warm-up errors?
Ignoring warm-up or doing too little
Oftentimes, the warm-up is simply left out or is so minimal, that it essentially has no effect. Warm-ups must be done properly and consistently in order to maximize performance and decrease the chance of injury. This effect is not just physical. Increasing blood flow prior to teaching also improves alertness and cognitive functioning so that students can pay closer attention to the instruction and learn the techniques faster.
Doing too much warm-up
After the warm-up everyone should be breathing hard, have a light sweat, and be ready to go. That is ready to work out, not go home. Turning the warm-up into a grueling conditioning session like many instructors do will cause fatigue to interfere with technical learning and drill performance. The rationale is often that one must be able to fight fatigued, and I will not argue with that point. However, wearing everyone out before the skill training will not accomplish this goal. Save the conditioning until the end of class to use as a ‘finisher’.
Too much of a cool-down period
Unless a moderate-intensity activity level is maintained following the warm-up, the athletes will rapidly cool down. If this happens the effect of the warm-up will be lost. When planning classes, make sure that instructional segments are short and to the point. Try to insure that there is never more than 2-3 minutes of inactivity from the beginning to the end. Lecturing for long periods of time about technique is fine for seminars but for class this just causes everyone to stiffen up and get bored.
Brian Jones, PhD
Kettlebell (KB) training is a great way to enhance all aspects of fitness including strength, power, hypertrophy, range of motion, and conditioning. The usefulness of KB work for conditioning will be obvious to you after your first set of clean and jerks or snatches. Your heart rate and lactic acid levels will go through the roof exactly like they do in a hard grappling match. After building some proficiency will the basic lifts you can move on to complexes in order to really kick your training up a notch.
Complexes are series of basic lifts strung together so that a single rep involves multiple movements. The idea is to pick exercises that flow smoothly from one to the next. In other words the end position for one exercise should be the start position for the next one. Here are a few of my favorite complexes that you can use as is or as inspiration to create your own.
● 1 Arm Deadlift > 1 Arm Swing > 1 Arm Snatch > 1 Arm Push Press > 1 Arm Overhead Squat
● 1 Arm Clean & Jerk > Squat (w/KB racked) > 1 Arm Snatch > 1 Arm Military Press
● 1 Arm Deadlift > 1 Arm High Pull > 1 Arm Clean > 1 Arm Squat and Press
● 2 KB Clean > Squat > Push Press
● 2 KB Clean > Left Lunge > Press > Right Lunge > Press
● 2 KB Burpee > Clean > Alternating Military Press
Brian Jones, PhD
There are no secrets or secret techniques at Valhalla Academy. We train a solid fundamentals game and incorporate more advanced moves only much later in training. I have decided to put our entire beginner curriculum on the Youtube channel for access by everyone. This is primarily designed as an easy reference for those students and affiliates who are under the Valhalla banner. However, I see it as a service to the larger grappling community as well.
I am not an “ivory-tower” or “exalted master” type instructor. I get out on the mats with my students every time I can. I love to spar with people from other schools and learn from them. This means that I will teach my students, anyone who comes to train with me, or has me for a seminar ANYTHING I know. The Valhalla program is open source rather than black box. No one will get better simply by watching these videos – only the people who put in the sweat on the mat will see results.
If you are a student or are interested in developing your own fundamentals program subscribe to our Youtube channel and see what we do. The explanations are meant to be clear and concise. I welcome feedback (please post to Youtube so everyone can read it) and if you do something different would like to hear and learn from you. Please ‘share’ these videos on any forums or sites you’d like and spread the word.
Brian Jones, PhD