So, at Ninja Headquarters, we really enjoy having a good time. Sometimes we have ideas that don’t turn out like we anticipated, and sometimes things actually work out every bit as well as we had hoped! With that, here is the follow-up to our first Ninja Kettlebell Swing post (See Version 1 Here!):
Today was our first attempt, so we started light. You can expect heavier ninja swings in the near future!
Now, several things should be blatantly obvious. 1) He has much bigger biceps than I do. 2) My wrist is daintier though. 3) If my neck is wedged between his biceps and his forearm, I will go to sleep much faster than he will if his neck is loosely fitted between my biceps and forearm.
Now, not only is it a tighter fit, while caught in a particular choke last week I thought I was okay until the above pictured arm flexed and I immediately had to tap. It was uncanny how much tighter the choke got when the muscle contracted. So, back to my resolution. Putting two and two together I immediately knew what has to happen. I need bigger biceps. Without full range of motion at the elbow joint, I need a giant mass of muscle to close the gap to effectively choke people out.
So, there it is. My main motivation for my most important New Year’s resolution to choke people. Is that wrong? Who cares, I’m gonna go work the GUNZ!!
Superior grip strength is obviously an advantage in Jiu-Jitsu. Check out this simple ninja secret to help develop a dominating grip game!
Here is a great core training article our Strength Ninja, Arlo, wrote for Special-ops.org
These are fantastic exercises to include in your strength and conditioning program! Don’t be common, step up your core training.
This is one of our favorite strength and conditioning drills for grapplers. It literally works EVERYTHING! With a training partner (preferably one of similar size/strength), grab a stability ball from opposite sides and simply try to take it away from each other. It is good to set some basic rules before you begin (no shin kicks, groin shots, etc.), but basically anything goes. Also, make sure you have plenty of room to move around. Obviously this is exhausting from a strength standpoint, but it will also put your heart rate through the roof! Enjoy.
Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy your weekend as much as I am.
Quick new strength exercise variation for you before we the festivities start:
The Ninja Kettlebell Swing
Post written by Arlo Gagestein
*I originally wrote this post on May 6, 2015. I wanted to repost because this past weekend, Richard Call, competed in the No Gi Worlds and came home with the bronze medal! Congrats Richard, I’m proud of you. There’s no doubt in my mind you’ll be a world champion!
I was hit today with an aha moment. Why it took so long, I do not know. I routinely share quotes such as:
“Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” -Earl Nightingale
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb
So, with even with this “Go For It” attitude, I for some reason intentionally hold myself back from becoming the person that I could be. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t let myself go by any means. I am still on track this year to accomplish the goals I set for myself back in January. They are legitimate, lofty goals and I’m proud of my progress, but I know deep down that I can do more. As a perk of my profession, I stay in reasonably decent shape. I am strong, have good endurance, and am leaner than the vast majority of Americans. I also feel confident that I have a good enough conditioning base that given a dedicated month, I can prepare for just about anything. A big beach volleyball tournament? I can be ready. A big grappling tournament? Just tell me when it is and I’ll get to work. A marathon? Barring injury, I’m confident I can do most anything with a month’s preparation.
I was training a 27 year-old jiu-jitsu athlete this morning whose #1 goal right now is to become a world champion by the time he turns 30. Richard has a goal and he is going for it. He also knows what he needs to do to reach his goal. He has lined up a team of people he believes can get him there. He has top level training partners, an amazing jiu-jitsu instructor, a fantastic professional strength and conditioning coach (like that shameless plug?), and such targeted focus and dedication to his goal that I have no doubt he will eventually reach it (like in the next 3 years).
Pushing him through the workout today, I started to think about competition. I have competed A LOT, in a number of different sports. I love competition. Whether volleyball, jiu-jitsu, obstacle racing, or our own private, invitation only combination strongman/grappling tournaments, I love the atmosphere, I love the challenge, and I love putting myself against like-minded individuals. The thing is, I eagerly jump in regardless of my preparation. I’m fit enough that I usually do decent just going into competitions “off-the-couch”. Watching Richard train this morning, it dawned on me, “With the work he’s putting in, in very little time, I’m not going to stand a chance against this guy on the mat.” He has only been doing jiu-jitsu a couple of years. I have been training for seven. He is a lower belt than me, but challenges me every time we spar. I’ve been in a rut, deceiving myself to believe I can compete with anyone in my division with a month or so of dedicated work. But it is nonsense. My friends and my competitors alike are going to leave me in the dust because THEY are willing to put in the work NOW. Richard already beats me frequently, and before long it won’t even be close.
Watching him push himself in the gym today i realized I need to up my game. Sure I can be ready physically for a competition in a month, but how far ahead of me will everyone be who have already started and didn’t wait for a deadline. Chances are they will destroy me. I am a huge believer in ALWAYS being ready for competition. I hold myself to a relatively high level of fitness so that I CAN jump into competitions “off-the-couch”. But I am cheating myself. I know I can perform at a higher level. Not just good, but great. I know I my fitness can be better, but I have been avoiding what it takes because it is hard. I have opportunities to push myself daily, but frequently let these opportunities pass by, making excuses that I have business stuff to tend to at the gym, justifying my good, but sub-optimal fitness by consistently doing only the workouts that are getting me closer to my 2015 goals.
After watching Richard work through his first circuit (I was busy doing other “important” things of course), I jumped in for the second circuit. I went through one round and it was hard. The second round was harder. I considered bailing out, shamelessly because I had other stuff to do. In the end, I stuck with it all four rounds, embracing the suck because that is what everything but my body screams at me to do. Everyone I’ve trained with knows I love a challenge, that I do things the hard way, that I thrive on being uncomfortable doing things that suck. Trouble is, even when I put on that facade and suffer alongside my friends and clients, I’m holding myself back. I’m not giving 100%. ICAN give more and I WILL give more. I will no longer put off optimal fitness. I am starting my pre-competition month NOW, without a competition on the horizon. I will no longer avoid the work because it sucks. I’m fit, but I want to be at the highest level I know I can be.
Richard – I’m coming for you! Jeff, Lucus, Tiny – you too.
Jake – it pisses my off that you are so much better than everyone, but have no doubts, my conditioning will be better than yours. 😉
It was an honor to have a handful of our ninjas appear in the October 2015 issue of Jiu-Jitsu Magazine!
Now yesterday their adventures were also featured on Jiu-Jitsu Magazine’s website! This article is a fantastic example of our mission at Jiu-Jitsu Advantage to blend strength and conditioning with jiu-jitsu! Check it out here:
Watch it here: