For as long as I can remember I heard forever if you want to become stronger you must move heavy weights. The definition of Functional strength training is strength that you can use. That form has to fit the function. This does not mean you have to throw out all those “high school”and “beach muscle” moves you love. What it means is thinking outside the box a little bit. It means being a little crazy and not giving a chit what people might be saying at the gym about you. Especially if you are in the cage. You need an edge.
Here are some key concepts to remember about functional strength training which will enhance your game. Why do I know?
These are the same concepts I used with 15 UFC fighters personally.
1. Do not sacrifice weight for form.
2. Multi-Planar motions more like MMA and can be MMA specific.
3. Challenge the CNS (central nervous system).
4. Think outside the box.
5. 3 rules – effective, efficient and safe. The last one is really important. It has to be somewhat safe for what you are doing.
6. Form fits the function.
So lets look at challenging the C.N.S. (central nervous system). What is the CNS?
The central nervous system (CNS) is made up of the brain, the spinal cord, and the optic nerves. The central nervous system controls thought processes, guides movement, and registers sensations throughout the body.
3. Level change
6. Balance or instability
The other benefits of incorporating this type training into your regular training are the following.
1. Increase use of stabilizers and neutralizers (these help with wasted motion and balance).
2. Increase muscle mass usage. You have heard the term “I used muscles I did not know I had.”
3. Helps break through plateaus when training. It’’s similar to not bench pressing for a while and using a different exercise that involves the chest. Then after a few weeks you go back to bench pressing and break through that new bench press best!
4. The last and final benefit is helping rehab injuries that you may have without laying off training. This is of primary importance when getting ready for the cage. No game no pay!
The way that this is different from specific balance training is that you are able to integrate this into your everyday routine. You don’t have to do a separate portion of balance training. You add a little “ salsa” to your normal training to spice things up. Here are some other examples. Drills for MMA specific and enhance balanced
Pushups – Try rotational pushups, push ups on a stability ball, lateral push ups, rotational push ups with dumbbells in each hand, push ups with hand on a stability ball, hand stand pushups, push ups with one hand on a med ball, push ups with both hands on a med ball, push ups crossing over a med ball and alike. The combos can be endless and reap awesome rewards.
Pull ups – Side to side pull ups, towel pull ups, jump squat to pull ups, BJJ go top pull ups, explosive pulls, inverted rows and alike.
Curls – Standing on one leg, bicep curl to shoulder press, upper cuts, squat curl and press, squat curl and press and rotate, squat curl and press and burpee.
The point is with a little imagination your training will be enhanced and your physique in many ways. The young guys will be impressed and fall on their faces the first time they try push ups off a stability ball. Thats an added bonus.