Monday, December 19, 2011

Paleo-for-grappling notes

Robb Wolf and Greg Everett of the Paleo Podcast have a Brazilian jiu-jitsu strength and conditioning prescription:

  • Power variants of the Olympic lifts, split jerks, push jerks
  • Posterior chain assistance work: glute-ham raises, RDLs
  • Gymnastics strength progressions: front and back levers, press to handstands, ring work

Low rep ranges. Eccentric work minimized by avoiding squats and dropping the bar for deadlifts.

They take the perspective that non-sport-specific conditioning is only necessary if you are at the elite level and therefore so efficient that just doing your sport is not challenging. They use Matt Thornton as an example: he’s so big and efficient that rolling simply will not make him tired. But if you’re just learning the skills of your sport, additional conditioning should be attained by additional time sparring or doing sport drills. I agree, and am annoyed that I can’t do so with my own grappling.

Robb also mentions in passing that he subscribes to the SBGi-style sport-specific warm-ups, as opposed to general plyometrics. For instance, Greco-style handfighting is more productive as skill work and as a specific warm-up than jogging, wheelbarrows, cartwheels, whatever. I see the point, but wonder whether these other warm-ups are helpful for developing more general body skill.

They restrict carbs to only post-workout.

Greg, paraphrased: “For cardio, nothing translates to fighting like fighting.” They recommend tiring the trainee out with a 500 meter sprint, 1-minute sprint, or 2-3 minute circuit before putting them into padwork, bagwork, positional sparring, or the shark tank.

Their advice makes me question whether I am ready to switch to a less strength-biased program. This and Gant Grimes’ novice program both emphasize gymnastic and power work much more than my current program, which is essentially squats, deadlifts and a smattering of upper-body strength work. (The upper-body work has been notably poor. I can’t tell whether that’s due to my repeated failure at proper sleep.)

Later in the podcast, Robb notes: “If what you’re doing is working, ride that pony until it dies.” That will be my plan: deadlifts and squats until the numbers stop going up, then reconfigure for clean and jerks, handstands and levers, with squats and deadlifts done as assistance work for the Oly lifts.

Related: episode 94 sent me looking for John Welbourn’s BJJ-tournament-day nutrition recommendations. One reader tries it, then writes in with their N=1 results, along with a great summary of the method

I now get up early on tournament days and eat 2 chicken breasts, a whole avocado and a large yam about 4 hours before I’m scheduled to fight.  By the time I’m on the mat, I’m usually feeling hungry again which is perfect because, like you, I prefer to compete on a relatively empty stomach which your recommended pre-game meal allows while still leaving me feeling “fueled up” and strong.  During breaks between matches I now bring along a container full of orange slices and another one with a single chicken breast and half a yam.  I snack on the oranges if I’m not looking at a long intermission, the chicken and the yam make for a great “re-fueling” between longer breaks in the action.  When I get home afterwards, it’s out to the grill for some rib eyes, asparagus in olive oil and more yams, washed down with a glass (or two or three) of red wine.  

I’m not getting tired anymore in my matches and I’m finding that your nutritional suggestions, along with continuing CFFB for my strength and conditioning, are putting me in a position to have a better “gas tank” than just about anyone that I’ve competed against this season.


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