Functional Training Gone Bad


Today I’m going to tell you about one of the sillier ideas I’ve ever had…

About 10 years ago I got interested in functional training and sports specific exercises. I wanted to get away from the Pec Deck and do exercises that more closely mimicked the movements I was using on a daily basis in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo and wrestling.

So I used books, magazines and the web to find sports-specific exercises. Then I’d try them out and see how I felt. Some of those exercises I still use to this day. Once in a while I invented my own exercises. Some of those were good, but others were abject failures….

The ‘inspiration’ behind my dumbest idea came when I noticed that I often ended up on my knees when trying to finish a double leg or single leg takedown. I also observed that quite a few wrestlers would finish from here by lifting their opponents off the ground.

Lifting an opponent off the ground starting from the knees obviously requires strength. “Wouldn’t it be great”, I thought, “if I could simulate this move in my weightlifting.”

So I put on a set of kneepads and loaded up a barbell in the squat cage. I stood straight, squatted down, dropped to one knee, and then knelt down. Then, with the bar still on my shoulders, I got back to a standing position one foot at a time. Basically I was going up and down from a standing to a kneeling position with 225 lbs on my shoulders.

People in the gym were looking at me like I was on crack…

I did about 10 reps, rested a while, and then did a second set. “Good enough for the first day,” I thought. “Maybe I’ll do more reps and sets the next time.”

Maybe it’s not too surprising but the next day my knees ACHED! Not a good, muscular-burn sort of ache, but that stop-doing-this-or-you’ll-be-sorry type of deep joint pain. The pain did eventually go away, but I never did that exercise again.

So the take-home message is that sports-specific training is a good thing, but be very careful when you’re inventing new exercises. Especially when you’re talking about heaving a lot of weight around and/or contorting yourself into awkward positions.

Free BJJ Book & Online Course

A Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Click the link below to receive Stephan Kesting's 'Roadmap for Brazilian Jit Jitsu' book and his Beginning BJJ online course.

Send Me The Free Book

Since then I’ve discovered other ways to train getting-up-from-the-ground movements without compromising the knees. For example, I occasionally do Turkish Get Up (like in the video below) using either kettlebells or dumbells.

You can view the same Turkish Getup video on YouTube by clicking this link!

Comments ( )