Train Smart not just Hard

Train Smart not just Hard

This is a message to everyone, however I see this in abundance in combat sports athletes so a special memo to them today.

First off lets get one thing straight you should be training hard, with good structure and decent intensity or your results will definitely suffer.


Training hard for the sake of it is only good for an Instagram post not your longevity or results.

If you see a guy wrapped in resistance bands, jumping one legged over a hurdle, whilst throwing a Kettlebell, try and use a critical eye to determine is he working smarter than you, not just ‘harder’ than you.  It may look a lot cooler than your back squat and more badass than your deadlift but is it actually useful?

A lot of workouts you see online are often designed for likes and comments not for purposeful progression. Now this is not to say some of the more specialized exercises you see performed may not be useful or insightful, but I would take some with a large grain of salt.

There are some fantastic athletes out there, who have some of the best knowledge possible when it comes to martial arts, but that doesn’t mean their views on training; nutrition or anything else is expert. They are an expert in one area sure, and you should listen to what they have to say about that, however it doesn’t automatically give them universal guru status.

Think of it this way, your mechanic may be exceptional at fixing your car but would you go to them for dental work?

Your Barber/Hairdresser may cut your hair with skill and precision but how good are they at fixing your boiler?

You get the idea?

When approaching your strength and conditioning for combat sports the bulk of it will look a lot like the strength and conditioning of any high level contact or strength sport.

A few points that will help you when structuring your approach to training.

– Consider on and off-season and looking at your program in the macro as well as the micro.

– Concentrate a decent amount of time on big compound movements covering human movement patterns such as Squat, Hinge, Push and Pull

– Dedicate some time to the development of power and explosiveness with high velocity lifts, jumps and throws

– Work on specialist areas such as grip and striking power with loaded carries and rotational movements.

– Leave time to work on isolation movements for prehab, rehab, injury prevention and aesthetics! Yup its ok to want to look good as well.

– If you find some ‘sports specific’ movements that work well, or you enjoy – then add them in for sure. Just make sure they serve a purpose outside of looking ‘bad ass’.

As I’ve talked about before try and separate SKILL training, STRENGTH training and CONDITIONING training. They are not all the same.

It can be tempting to question a more structured and periodised approach to training when you see ‘flash’ posts with crazy workouts in – just remember consistency is key. The person working in a smart way overtime will always lap the person ad-libing workouts that have more ‘style’ than substance.

Find a solid coach and program with proven results, that you enjoy and can stick to. Set both short and long term goals within your training and be consistent.

Stay the course; train smart as well as hard and you will be rewarded in your results and performance.

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