5 Exercises to Keep You Strong in The Judo Off Season

The Christmas and New Year period is always pretty busy and it is important keep up your strength and fitness or else your first training session back is going to hurt. Recently I spent 4 weeks over in Nepal and as soon as I got home on Christmas Eve I was thrown into the madness of visiting family, friends and grabbing some last minutes gifts – all that while suffering from food poisoning.

A few days after getting home I had a quick 2 hours spare so I rushed to the gym and performed a basic strength program that I usually do over holidays or if my training has been inconsistent like it has been for the last two months.

My training session included 5 of the best exercises I think you can do that will strengthen your physically and in doing so will greatly benefit your Judo game.

Why strength train?

If you and your opponent are technically the same, and have the same experience level and tactics then the player who is fitter and stronger will win – it’s that simple.

The first exercise you should be doing is squats. Squats are one of the best exercises you can do for Judo because they strengthen your lower body and core and as well as get your heart rate through the roof. If you are suffering from a lower body injury, keep the weight light but go through the full range of movement.

In the off season perform three sets of seven to fifteen reps.

The second exercise I do in the off season is chin ups. Although it takes me twelve to fifteen sets I aim for one hundred chin ups. Chin ups are a classic exercise for Judo because they not only develop your back and ‘pulling’ muscles but they also strengthen your grip and forearm strength needed for competition Judo.

In the off season perform one hundred chinups.

I believe that the Bench press is one of the best ‘pushing’ upper body movements you can do for Judo and that is why I always include this movement in my off season strength training. The bench press incorporates your shoulders, chest, triceps, core muscles and lats and develops a great amount of upper body strength and power.

In the off season perform three sets of seven to fifteen reps.

Another staple exercise in your strength training should be Deadlifts. Deadlifts are one of those exercises that if you do it wrong you will hurt yourself; therefore it is important to have sound technique. In saying that though Deadlifts are great because they work your legs, back and grip strength all in movement. You can lift some pretty big weight if you do it consistently enough. I also usually prescribe 2 ‘pulling exercises’ for every 1 ‘pushing’ exercise. So in this case I did Bench press and so I also include chin ups and Deadlifts.

In the off season perform three sets of seven to fifteen reps.

If you have been following me for a while you will have noticed that I always include some sort of hanging leg raise variation into my weight training regimes. This is because doing leg raises off a bar will increase your grip strength a lot more than doing crunches on the floor or on a Swiss ball. All Judoka should perform some sort of hanging leg raise variation into their strength training regimes.

In the off season perform four sets of fifteen repetitions of hanging leg raises.

The Program:

Squats: 3 X 8 reps

Chinups: 100 reps (may take 15 sets)

Bench press: 12,10,8

Deadlifts: 12,10,8

Hanging Leg raises: 4 X 15 reps

This program is designed to be do two to three times a week in the off season and then once you get back to into your normal routine switch back to your normal ‘Judo specific’ strength program.



Source by Matt D’Aquino

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