The most significant area of sports training, no matter how you would personally prefer to work out, is the specificity of your diet and fitness program for your chosen sport.
UFC pros such as Anthony Perosh, Alessio Sakara and Carlos Condit, have to formulate their resistance training sessions around a vast array of tweaked drills that improve their competitive performance. Their method is specific and results driven.
For anybody who is hitting the gym in order to get better at a particular kind of sport activity, you have to sit back and assess your total body fitness program, to see whether or not this really helps you to improve endurance, pace and the anaerobic endurance required for your sport. Then, be sure you train effectively.
Sport specific training does not necessitate that you’re forced to copy precisely what you do when competing. Nevertheless it will need to improve your overall performance, or specific parts of it. If not, it is a waste of time as far as the athlete is concerned. Most pro athletes have a busy enough muscle and fitness program as it is, without adding anything more to it that won’t give them some kind of an edge.
Therefore, a UFC pro, who needs as much wrestling strength as possible, like Jason Brilz or John Hathaway, could use isometric work in exercises such as the Wide-Grip Standing Barbell Curl. Someone involved in a sport where force and speed of arm extension is important, such as striking and punching of all types, might want to take advantage of exercises such as the Incline Skull crusher using the dynamic effort method of weight training to improve performance and enhance strength.
We know that the kind of workouts all of the top bodybuilders have been doing to build more impressive muscles work for them in terms of posing on stage. But as a martial artist you have to constantly test the effectiveness of your strength training to see if it is building power and endurance in the techniques you use in competition.
For some people, certain exercises can actually do more harm than good. I have trained guys that lost mobility through direct abdominal training. Deadlifts can also be a problem for a lot of people when they start to stiffen up thoracic mobility. In these cases you are best sticking to other lower back and posterior chain work like the hyperextension, reverse hyper, glute ham raise and zercher squats.
Sometimes it is not the exercises themselves that cause problems, but the way a weekly trianing schedule is organised. Lack of recovery between bodyparts is a common problem. Squatting one day and deadlifting the next is pointless, as you are trashing the muscles again in 24 hours. This will lead to long term degradation in muscle tone, joint problems, mobility issues and the like.
Sometimes you just need to get the bar off your back and drop all barbell squats and deadlifting. These movements are often seen as big basic moves, but there is nothing really natural about them that cannot be achieved with other less stressful movements. Some guys often find it impossible to build muscle mass when they continually squat due to central nervous system over stimulation.
Someone once said to me that to have an effective training session that builds on your last one and sets up the next, you have to have a hundred different variable in your head and make sure you work them all together properly. This is true. But it becomes instinctive over time. The key thing is to constantly test what you do in the gym with your performance in sparring and competition. Do this and you will become a better fighter.