Written by Matt D’Aquino. He is a 2008 Beijing Judo Olympian as well as nationally ranked freestyle wrestler and National Champion in Brazilian Jujitsu. Matt has a passion for teaching all aspects of grappling especially the fitness and conditioning aspect. Matt has released a great new video series Sandbag Training for Grapplers where he shows you how to make a sandbag, great sandbag training methods and much more.
If you have done BJJ, Wrestling, Sambo or Judo for more than five minutes you would have noticed that being physically stronger than your opponent is a massive advantage. You have also probably noticed that many top level grapplers have pretty impressive physiques, yet can move around the mat really well.
This is due to the fact that they train hard and follow a conditioning program that is specific to grappling. Being able to power into and out of takedowns and being able to dominate scrambles and top control can really upset your opponent and give you the upper hand during a roll. Combine your strength with good technique and you will become a seriously tough opponent.
There is no point being as strong as a professional bodybuilder in the gym and as weak as a kitten on the mat. It is more important to be strong when it counts: such as when you are in the clinch, fighting, pulling your opponent off-balance or switching from position to position on the ground.
The workouts in this package are written specifically for the grappling arts and include movements needed for each sport including, squats, presses, sprawls as well as scramble type movements like the Turkish get up. Each of these workouts will directly benefit your grappling in a matter of weeks.
Here are 5 reasons why grapplers should use sandbags:
Reason #1: Improved forearm and grip strength
We have all grappled that guy at training who has an insane amount of finger and forearm strength. These guys are such a hassle to fight. As soon as they get a hold of your gi, you feel the strength in their arms, and if you can’t break their grip then you are going to have a hard time. Forearm strength helps you hold gi chokes for longer, be able to grip fight for longer and be able to break other peoples grips with ease. Sandbag training will help you develop your finger and forearm strength so you will be that guy on the mat with the iron clad grip who can hold a gi chokes for days on end.
sandbags Reason #2: Full body workout
Most sandbag movements and exercises are full-body movements, or close to it. Whether you are performing a lunge, upright row or clean and press, you will always be using more than one muscle group meaning you will strengthen your entire body so you can perform better on the mat. This is also super important for us grapplers because we are always using our entire body to move around the mat. So full body movements are great.
Reason #3: Functional Strength
Barbells and dumbbells are a stable weight, meaning they don’t move around much. It is a lot easier to carry a 20kg dumbbell then it is to carry a 20kg sandbag. This is because the sandbag is constantly shifting and moving its weight around – just like our training partners. When we are trying to escape side control or when we are lifting our opponents in the air with a double leg, our opponents aren’t dead weight. Instead they are shifting and moving, trying to escape and squirm out of our control, just like the sandbag. These workouts will help you become familiar with a shifting, moving weight which will help you deal with a shifting, moving opponent during training.
Reason #4: Your fitness will sky rocket
When you do sandbags slams, overhead press or clock lunges for a minute or so, I guarantee that your heart rate will go through the roof. The higher you can get your heart rate (and keep it there) the fitter you will become! When you are fit you can not only fight better for longer, but you also make better decisions when you are under pressure, because you can think more clearly.
Reason #5: Sandbags increase core strength
Most people strengthen their core by doing boring abdominal movements such as sit-ups, crunches or the dreaded plank. Although these exercises do strengthen your abdominals somewhat, it is vital that as a fighter, you pay particular attention to your core muscles. When you are throwing a punch, or tossing your opponent with a hip throw you are rotating your torso, therefore it is crucial that you include core strengthening movements in your strength program. Exercises such as sandbag rotations or lunges and the overhead press are one of the best ways to improve your core strength.
From Sandbag for Grapplers: