How I train ‘Lifting for the non competitve grappler’

Last week I posted a blog post on Scramblog, which outlined my thoughts on lifting for non competitive grapplers. It proved real popular. I’ve had a few questions about how I apply the method to my own training. I’m a non competitive grappler too, being a physical preparation coach is my job which means my training has to fit around clients, consultations and desk-work. Much like my clients I perform regular break downs on myself and assess where I was, where I am and where Im going. I’d like to think im pretty strong for a natural dude with horrid mechanics for everything but deadlift. Long arms are great for pulling, crap for filling out t-shirt sleeves. At 92-94kg I deadlift 255kg, bench 155kg, back squat 205kg, front squat 160kg and clean 130kg. I have had two LCL tears on both knees, a tendency towards patellar femoral pain if I don’t stretch my hip flexors and tibialis, in the past I have subluxated my right shoulder which can flair as AC joint problems if my pressing gets out of whack with my pulling. As a side goal at the moment im striving for 270kg/600lb deadlift.

My program
I run a triphasic training variation boiled down to its simplest parts. I have just finished an above 80% block, working through its eccentric, isometric and concentric parts. The focus on this program was front squat to give my knees and back a break from heavy back squatting in the first part of the year. Im now moving on to a 80-55% lifting block or what Cal Dietz would call high force high velocity block. I think the upper end of this is probably where most ordinary folks should lift. You can make a lot of progress lifting sub-maximally at high velocities. For the 80-55% block im moving back to back squat as my main training means.

The program has two main lifting days, a conditioning day and an EMOM (not included for simplicities sake) Deadlift day. I do still follow a Bondarchuk complex type of set up. Omitted from this phase are explosive exercises. Having just finished a six week block with french contrast, I now switch to doing box jump as part of my warm-up.

Warm-up – Prehab, mobilise, foam roll etc
A) Total Body Explosive Movement
B) Lower Body Movement (Squat/Hinge)
C1) Upper Body Press (push)
C2) Upper Body Pull (pull)
D) Weak Area (brace/everything else)
Clean grip OH squats are still part of warm-up so 2012.

Day 1 
Explosive box Jumps warm-up
Lowerbody Chain Back Squat (67.5-72%) taking as many sets as needed to warm-up, paired with hip flexor prone iso’s and Pull Grip trainer Rows
Push (67.5-72%)
Weak Area Back ext, OH lat raise, Tri’s-Bi’s and Chest Support Iso’s, which is a bottom position push up hold (which covers bracing and shoulder stability)

Day 2
Explosive box Jumps warm-up
Extended Warm-up tea cup stuff, calf raises, pull aparts (largely shoulder health focus.)
Lower Body Back Squat (75-80%)
Pull Push away pull-up
Push Bench Press (75-80%)
Weak Area Ball Leg Curl, RDL, Side plank

Day 3
Litinov Sprints. I’ll usually pick 2-3 variations of the ones listed of what I feel like doing.

Now I’ve recently started getting back into doing more BJJ, in the past I’ve taken brief periods off due to work or moving and suffered the subsequent guilt that comes with not doing it. But the fire in your belly never really dies. I love lifting so I want it to complement my other pass-times. For more on triphasic training for ordinary folks check out Steve Collins excellent blog post over on Lost in Fitness

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3 thoughts on “How I train ‘Lifting for the non competitve grappler’”

  1. Hi,

    First I want to say a big thanks for all articles you wrote, they help me a lot.

    I started weightlifting 2-3 years ago and learning a lot, i just finished triphasic training book and want to adapt it for grappling since i'll be able to train again, but i have some issues.

    I'm good with compound exercices but I don't know how to select alternative and plyometric exercices for grappling. I'm a little bit lost into this if you can help me it will be great !

    Sorry for my english i'm not native at all, i'm actually french.

    Again thanks a lot !

  2. Hi Rsk91G,

    Glad you enjoy the content, don't worry too much initially about specific exercises. We often stick to the basics. Squats, Deadlifts, Throws and Carries

    We do however use exercises, like snatch grip deadlift, high-pulls, zercher variations, zercher goodmorning is one I find very good for grapplers and Romainian Dead-lift variations. Checkout our youtube channel

    How to choose exercises based on common positions in the sport especially when peaking. So main two we use are anterior loaded hip extensions/carries and deep single positions like split squats. Where as boxer will do more horizontal throwing and hip extension from knee.

    For plyometrics and explosive exercises we do a lot of throws, jumps and split squat jumps for grapplers.

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