Training Structure

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    Hey There

    Just wanting some additional advice on the structure of my strength workouts.

    I’m a Judoka working towards the worlds next year in september and really need to get my base strength up… i fight -100kgs and my lifts at the aren’t very good at all! (Bench – 120, Box – 150, Dead – 170).

    Currently I do 11 sessions a week (4x gym, 2x conditioning, 4x Judo, 1x MMA). As we don’t have an ‘off season’ this is pretty much my structure year round.

    I’ve been finding lately though my gym workouts have been a bit flat. I’ve been following Eric Cresseys new workout book but have found I’m not responding so well to it and often burn out quiet quickly within a workout… In terms of Poliquins ‘five elements’ i’d be a ‘wood type’. I do great up to about 4-5sets but anything higher and i start to drop off..

    So I’m basically asking
    A) What type of split do you think i should do? Currently its basically upper/lower but i’ve been doing that sorta thing for ages (was doing defrancos before this)

    B) Based on my other training load, how many days a week should i be lifting?

    C) As I’m not so good on the ‘high set’ work should I do 2x ‘max effort’ moves in a work out? I.e. instead of doing Front Squats- 8sets of 3 could i do Cleans 4 x 3 then say Front Squats 4x 3 or something like that

    Any help would be most appreciated to gimme some new ideas



    Hey there and thanks for your question, it is always nice for me to think outside my wee little box of rugby and I love the martial arts, they so much to teach my players, but for now, I think you are answering your own question when it comes to sets and reps, as Poliquin’s criteria that you have identified with, keep the total sets low less than 5 per exercise, for you I would recommend the Pavel Tsouline method that he applies to abdominal/core training, 3 – 5 sets per exercise, for 3 – 5 reps, for 3 – 5 days per week, I would do a 12 week block in the gym, training 3 days a week, full body style, and alternate workouts between, 3 exercises in a session for 5 sets x 3 reps and 5 exercises in a session for 3 sets x 5 reps,

    For example;

    Workout A (1) – 5 x 3 reps

    Squat Cleans

    Front Squat

    Weighted Chins

    Workout B (1)

    DB One Arm Snatch

    Box Squats

    Zercher Lifts

    Bench Press

    Bent Over Row

    Workout A (2) – 5 sets x 3 reps


    Push Press

    Full Body Twist or Dominator

    Workout B (2) – 3 sets x 5 reps

    Power Snatch

    Back Squat

    Good Morning

    Incline Bench

    One Arm DB Row

    The sets are work sets you may need one or two or even a third to get up to your working weight.


    Week 1

    Monday – A (1)

    Wednesday – B (1)

    Friday – A (2)

    Week 2

    Monday – B (2)

    Wednesday – A (1)

    Friday – B (1)

    Continue like this for 3 or 4 weeks then change your exercises in each of the workouts and start the sequence again. I would also try and add another conditioning session, so your schedule would be:

    3 x strength

    3 x conditioning – possibly some of Cosgroves Complexes would be of great benefit for you

    4 x Judo

    1 x MMA or do 2 x MMA and go back to 2 conditioning

    Train for 12 weeks then have the 13th off completely except for your Judo sessions but just do 2 over the week and then re-assess what you need to do next, for example do you need more strength or a shift to power, or has your condition dropped off and then re-focus the next 12 weeks into bringing your weaknesses up and further developing your strengths. hope there is something here you can use, go well, ashley


    Thanks for the fast reply! I’m glad I give you abit of variety with your thinking and yes the Martial Arts are great (especially the grappling ones!).

    I think you’ve literally just given me the perfect workout for me to do. Short/Intense and a good amount of variety..

    My last question for you would be is it ok to add accessory work to the end of these workouts (i.e. ext rot., grip, Tris) Or am I better coming in another day for that?

    Thanks for your help, I hope this site continues to grow and it gets a good amount of discussion happening. You’re more than welcome to bring any of your players down to do abit of grappling/conditioning with us as I’m sure the boys would enjoy having some big guys to deal with!

    Thanks again


    Cheers for that no worries at all, would be great for my guys to experience that as well, I would definitely throw some supplemental work in at the end of each days session just keep it short maybe a circuit style program to complete the days training rather than stress your recovery mechanisms by adding an additional days training, cheers,ashley


    Ah sorry ash just one more quick one

    What sorta rest periods would you use? 90-120secs?


    Hey there, loved your article by the way a lot of depth in those words, I would cycle down over three weeks, starting with 120 seconds then to 90 seconds and the last week at 60 seconds, good to have you on board offering us ideas and thoughts, cheers, ashley

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