I wrote a new program for the Endeavor staff a couple weeks ago. After reading Joel Jamieson’s Ultimate MMA Conditioning book, I realized a lot about energy system training and I wanted to experiment with some of stuff in the book. With that in mind, I wrote a general endurance block. I figured since none of us had good muscular endurance or conditioning levels right now that would be a good idea to work on some of that stuff for a couple of training cycles. Combined to the fact that I did almost exclusively max strength stuff for the past 5-6 years and my joints were starting to hate me recently, purposely lifting light weights for a little bit sounded pretty appealing.
That being said, we’re starting week 2 of this general endurance program and I will admit that I’m really enjoying the change of pace. I’m feeling really sore from squatting 95 pounds, which is completely crazy! But when your time under tension is 40 seconds per set, you have no pause between reps and your rest between sets is 30 seconds, the weights you’re using are ridiculously light! Other than that I feel really good!
As much as I believe in the importance of max strength in a training program, I’m also starting to think that there is a time and place for it; and the answer is not ‘all the time’! Working to improve your muscle endurance, power endurance, and other qualities can have their place in a yearly training program. You don’t have to put a focus on max strength in every training program. There are other adaptations that are gonna be beneficial that you won’t be able to get through max strength training (e.g. oxidative capacities of your muscle fibers, hypertrophy of slow twitch fibers, endurance of slow twitch fibers, etc, etc).
Right now, my body enjoys the break from the heavy weights. My joints are feeling better, it is not even close to being as CNS intensive as max strength training, and most of all, I feel completely out of my comfort zone, which is not easy, but it’s good. The aerobic conditioning part of the program is probably what pushes me out of my comfort the most because I probably never ran for more than 5 minutes in a row before! I get sore pretty easily with this program, but my body doesn’t feel crushed, if that makes any sense. Every training day, I’m ready to attack whatever is on the program that day, I don’t feel smoked form the previous session with no motivation to lift, like I’ve been feeling for the last 2-3 months. There’s something to be said about being able to kick your own ass, but there’s also something to be said about listening to your body when you keep feeling that way day in and day out.
Get out of your comfort zone once in a while when you train, if you don’t already. It’s not easy and you might find it very hard compared to whatever you’re doing, but it’ll be good for you, it’ll change the stress on your body (which is necessary once in a while) and you’ll end up feeling good!