Combative Ladies: Build it up to Peak it Out!
Jenifer “All American” Alcorn’s Training Program
Do you have what it takes to be a competitive athlete? Have you ever sat down and pondered your workouts? If you were to compete in your chosen sport next week, are you, or could you, be ready? What stages should you be going through in your physical preparation to ensure success?
These are some of the questions that combat athletes must ask themselves long before they step into the ring. In this article, we’re going to explore the phases of training up until competition.
I will make this very simple. If you are a competitive athlete, you should consistently train on a maintenance workout at all times. The focus of a maintenance workout should be on endurance, strength training, and weight management (if applicable).
Those involved in combat sports realize that a call can come at any time to fight, so body weight needs to stay in a “safety zone,” and endurance needs to be there for a quick step up if you only have one or two weeks’ notice.
Training leading up to an event should intensify in frequency, speed, and explosive power; nutrition will work hand in hand to produce the “fighting weight,” but that is another article! After every competition, a reasonable amount of rest and recovery is needed depending upon possible injuries sustained, or future competitions and their proximity to the immediate event.
Based on your sport of choice, these exercises and workouts will vary. When creating a training program, it is important to remember that just because an exercise is beneficial to one athlete, it may not be beneficial to all. Also, a variation of an exercise will not always produce better results.
Keep an open mind and experiment. Shock your body with new exercises while keeping ones that have proven their worth. Generally when in the maintenance mode, your sets should be 3-4 with no more than 10 repetitions. The athlete should use a “spot” to work past failure.
Remember, to build, you must fail, rest, recover, and rebuild. While in the pre-fight workout, sets can range from 4-6, with reps ranging from 12-15. The weight is considerably lighter. You must hit these workouts hard and build a foundation of strength to sustain your body during competition.
You are asking your body to perform different tasks over a long period so help yourself prevent injury by stretching your body thoroughly. Treat any ailments or aches immediately after the workout with ice to reduce inflammation.
Cardiovascular Training (maintenance)
Carry 2-3 lb hand weights
RUN 5 miles Pace– Slow (10-minute mile)
BIKE or STAIRS for a 10-minute warm-up
RUN 4 miles Pace– Interval Speeds ranging from slow to moderate (range of an 8-10 minute mile)
BIKE 10-minute warm-up
RUN 3 miles Pace– Constant Moderate (7:30 to 8-minute mile, no weights)
JUMP ROPE 20 minutes
(The focus is on long, endurance-building exercises that are not performed with great speed. There is ample recovery in between workouts to prevent injury while preparing for shorter, more intensified workouts closer to competition.)
Cardiovascular Training (Pre-Fight)
***Continue using hand weights until 1 week out of competition.
As a general rule, when getting ready for a fight, run three days on and one day off to allow for recovery. Warm-ups and stretching (before and after the workout) are crucial when preparing your body to peak.
Maintenance Workout: 3-4 sets x 10 reps (heavy to moderate weight)
Pre-Fight Workout: 4-6 sets x 12-15 reps (moderate to lightweight)
- Dumbbell Press 3 sets x 10
- Incline Press 3 sets x 10
- flies 3 sets x 10
- Tricep Extensions 3 sets x 10
- Rope pull-downs 3 sets x 10
- Single Arm Kick Backs 3 sets x 10
- Pull-ups 3 sets x 5-10
- Pulldowns front/rear 3 sets x 10 (Superset)
- Bent Over Rows 3 sets x 10
- Single alternating curls 3 sets x 10
- Preacher Curl 21’s 3 sets x 10
- Close grip pulley curls 3 sets x 10
- Military Press 3 sets x 10
- Single Lateral Raises 3 sets x 10
- Lateral Flies 3 sets x 10
- Squats 3 sets x 10
- Rear Lunges/Smith Machine 3 sets x 10
- Quadricep Extensions 3 sets x 10
- Hamstring Curls 3 sets x 10
Combat Athletes, in particular, should consistently pump out 100-300 pushups per day. Abdominal and neck strengthening should also be incorporated into the routine using the 3 days on, 1 day off method.
Let me note, these two workouts are in addition to the discipline of your choice. They will maintain your physical condition, but to be ready to compete, constant combat training is necessary to maintain your accuracy and timing.
The week of the fight, you should be peaking by using the speed-oriented drills in the gym, as well as in the combat sport in which you compete. Balancing cardiovascular training, sport-specific skills and nutrition is difficult and takes time to perfect. Once you dial it in, you too can become an ULTIMATE ATHLETE. Hitting it hard, as always . . . Jenifer “All American” Alcorn.