Raising Your Base Level of Strength
This blog was written by Travis Stevens, 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist. In it, he recounts his experience lifting and seeing athletes on their own strength training journey. Without further ado, take it away, Travis!
Weight training and strength training for grapplers seems to be a never-ending debate amongst the community. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject. I have two main viewpoints on lifting that I try and instill into everyone that trains with me.
- Lifting is meant to enhance your performance as an athlete.
- You have to be able to lift your body weight comfortably across all major lifts such as Hang Cleans, Bench, and Deadlift.
The Novice Player
I have seen a lot of athletes come through judo and leave discouraged due to the amount of work that they need to do. It can seem overwhelming when looked at it as a whole. Kids in the high school development stage should be focused on techniques and getting physically strong in the weight room. Developing strength is often underestimated. Having that strong foundation and understanding how to lift and workout is going to be an important factor in the years to come when they are trying to make an Olympic Team.
The National Player
National Level players should work on fighting a lot of competitions and getting a certain number of matches in. One hundred matches a year should be minimum. Those with big dreams and goals (World Team, Olympic Team, Pan American Medal) should be training a minimum of two times per day on the judo mats and in the weight room.Every single day. Strength training at this level is important! This is why these younger athletes should be kept on a strict regimen of lifting, judo, and cross-training so that when they mature, good habits have already been built and the works seems much more manageable.
The Elite Player
Athletes on the international scene should be focused on meshing the physical training with their sport. Making sure that things are lining up and they are practicing the art of peaking for events. Once they are able to medal consistently on the World Stage, there will be enough data to repeat the process over and over again. Strength training remains a big staple in their diet so to speak. Make small adjustments and add new techniques that will help athletes stay on top as well. This whole process, however, takes time.
A Final Thought
Overall, without the strong foundation set in youth development, it is almost impossible to have athletes reach their full true potential. You have to be physically strong enough to be a grappler. Some of us are naturally strong and some of us have to work for it, either way, you have to be in a gym strength training.
I have spent thousands of hours in the gym, while others have not. Do some of those athletes win? Yes. But we are talking one or two people out of a thousand. Do your job and go to the gym.