Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Endurance VS. Strength Training

I have a one year old son, a wife, and a business to run so sometimes my time is limited to workout outside the time I schedule for classes. I have one hour to work out, what do I focus on? What is more important, endurance (running, elliptical, swimming, etc.) or strength (lifting, pulling, pushing, etc.)?

For me the answer, at this point in my training, is endurance and cardiovascular. Why? In class, as a white belt who is just learning techniques, I rely on strength to bluntly and clumsily try to apply submissions and get dominant positions. I do not have the skill yet to cleanly apply the moves I am learning. I have some idea on how to apply the moves, but I am like an old rusty bucket, I plug one hole, but there are four or five others leaking water.

So because I use so much strength when rolling in class and practicing moves, I get a pretty good strength workout. And I am working the muscles that require the most usage, because they are the ones active when fighting. Class provides most of the strength training I need to improve in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

So why spend most of my free workout time on endurance? Without endurance I lose most of my strength, my technique becomes even more clumsy, I cannot think as quickly, and I lose the benefit of applying my knowledge in all class rolls. If my basic endurance and cardiovascular can be sustained longer, I get more quality training time in class. And improve more rapidly.

That is why, other than constantly stretching, I focus most of my free workout time on my endurance training, especially when my time is limited. I will get most of the essential strength training in my regular classes until I become a more skilled fighter and rely less on strength and more on technique to impose my will on the mat.