When it comes to strength and conditioning, many Grapplers especially BJJ practitioners still train like amateurs.
Mark Philippi, co-owner of Philippi Sports Institute (PSI), has released a professional 9 week peaking program proven to increase strength, power, and speed, ideal for Gi/No Gi Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and Judo. These are 45-minute Workout Sessions. They involve soft tissue mobilization and regenerative exercises designed to prevent injury.
BJJEE talked to Mark about his project:
1. Tell us about yourself and background
Currently, I Co-own of Philippi Sports Institute (PSI), a high performance 9000 sq. ft. training facility and staff that designs and implements athletic performance training programs for all types of athletes’ from early elite to an extensive list of professional athletes and word class athletes. We have a staff of performance coaches, physiotherapy personnel, and scientific nutritional team whose mission is to help athletes achieve their goals in the areas of athletic performance, fitness, nutrition, and conditioning.
Previous to opening PSI, I directed the UNLV Strength and Conditioning Program for 15 years, designing and implementing speed, strength, and conditioning programs to over 450-student athlete student athletes from 17 different athletic teams. While developing and opening Philippi Sports Institute was also a fulltime Faculty Instructor at UNLV responsible for designing, implementing, and teaching classes in a newly formed and NSCA recognized Strength and Conditioning education program in the UNLV Kinesiology Department
I competed internationally for over 20 years; I won a powerlifting world championship and an America’s Strongest Man title. I was a seven time competitor and two time finalist of ESPN’s World’s Strongest Man contest; appeared on National Geographic Channel, in Sports Illustrated Magazine, Men’s Fitness Magazine, Milo Magazine, Washington Post, Muscle and Fitness and many other publications. Have spoken and consulted on strength training throughout North America.
I have been training and specializing in combat athletes (boxing, MMA, wrestling) throughout my career. I have designed programs and trained MMA athletes including Frank Mir, Gray Maynard, Blagoi Ivanov, Stephon Bonner, and Matt Brown. Boxers including: Montel Griffen, Chris Byrd, Yuri Gamboa, and Joe Parker. I have also prepared the Azerbaijan wrestling team for the Rio Olympics in which we won more medals at freestyle wrestling than any other country.
2. How did you come up with this idea for the grapplers strength manual?
I’ve been training combat athletes for several years now. I get emails all the time requesting advice on how to prepare for competitions or off-season training. Recently there was a surge of grapplers (Bjj) that came to me with a problem. They felt that their lack of strength training and proper programming was affecting their performance on the mat.
When you look at the grappling community, you see very different views on performance training depending on the sport. This didn’t make sense to me. BJJ practitioners are athletes. Thus they need to train like athletes. There are scientifically established training principles that are proven to increase performance. Why would someone not want to take advantage of this? I saw an unmet need and wanted to offer a program that grapplers could use to improve their athleticism and properly prepare for competition.
3. Please tell us more about the manual and how does it differ from a regular strength program?
The program is designed to take into consideration what occurs in a grappling environment where you have eccentric, isometric, and concentric muscle movements, In addition there are functional exercises that pertain to the movements seen in a grappling matches i.e. grip exercises, core emphasis.
4. Can it be modified for someone who can just strength train 2 or 3 times a week?
Yes. The first 7 weeks of the program consist of 3 training sessions per week. The final weeks have 2 very short sessions per week. Each workout should be completed in 30-45 minutes. Session can be combined to that the entire program can be completed in 2 days a week.
5. In BJJ, you often hear practitioners say “techniques conquers everything”. What do you have to say about this? What role does strength play in success in Grappling sports?
Technique is key in BJJ as it is with any sport. But when you face an opponent with equal technique and experience, strength becomes very important. If strength and size weren’t a factor, weight classes wouldn’t exist. You can drill all the technique you want, but if you don’t have the strength and endurance to last halfway through the match then the technique is worthless. The stronger you are, the less energy you have to expend controlling your opponent during a match. You see this all the time in combat sports. You get a very technical athlete with a superior skill level, not be able to stick with his game plan because he is physically overwhelmed by an opponent who is more athletic.
You do not necessarily have to be the strongest athlete in the world, but you need an adequate amount of strength to be able to use the technique that you drill. There is a misconception that strength and technique are mutually exclusive. You have to pick one or the other. It’s just not true. A grappler can apply the proper technique and at the same time do it in a way the is explosive. A strong, explosive, technical grappler is a force to be reckoned with.
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