Velocity Based Training For Combat Sports: Part 2

Benefits of training with velocity for Fighters.

Training for Selective Hypertrophy

When we lift weight we train our muscles.

Simply, our muscles are built of fibres and we have two types (plus some hybrids, a blend of each but I won’t confuse you there)

Type 1: Slow twitch (small, aerobic and slow)

Type 2: Fast twitch (big, anaerobic and fast)

The above is a diagrammatic representation of muscle fibre types from a muscle biopsy. On the left more type 1 from a marathon runner through to a sprinter on the right with more type 2.

Naturally, each person has a composition or % of each within their muscles.

Genetically each individual person will have varying ratio’s of each type in their body. 

This is why some people are better long distance runners and naturally move toward that sport, rather than sprinting. Or visa versa.

But also why you will see each fighter having different strengths and weaknesses.

Some fighters are fast and fatigue easy, some are slowly and can go forever.

And anything in-between!

Let’s use a simple example of a fighter with 60% type 1, 40% type 2.

When we train with a slow speed we stimulate the Type 1’s to grow and be slow. Effectively making them even slower!

But, when we train fast we stimulate the Type 2’s to get bigger and faster!

Now the ratios (remember that 60/40 example above) of fibres has been shown to remain the same across time. Thats the way you’re built.

However, the cross-sectional area of each type will change and grow depending on the training stimulus,  effectively taking up more space in the muscle.

So, you will still have 60% of those type 1 fibre types, but when training with velocity they now take up only 40% of the room!

Guess what, that leaves the fast ones, still being 40% in numbers, now taking up 60% of space in the room!

With VBT type 2’s are now a more dominant fibre in the muscle unit.

That is selective hypertrophy.

With the correct stimulus, we can select the specific fibre type we want to train and build within the athlete!

MMA Fighter Shannon “The Turkish Delight” Ross using VBT with a trap bar jump squat

Training the nervous system

Human bodies are serious weapons when trained to perform for a given sport.

But, if trained incorrectly, can be a lemon on the big stage and impair performance.

Many fighters have experienced this from time in the weight room.

“Lifting makes me slow!”

“Lifting makes me too big”

It is not the weights room that is the problem, it is the program and speed you have moved the bar that creates this unhelpful thinking!

When you lift weights you don’t just stimulate the muscles, you stimulate the nervous system.

To move, or lift a weight, the nervous systems starts off the process by sending a signal from the brain, called an action potential, a basic electrical impulse to recruit the muscle/s to contract.

This signal travels along nerves into the muscle/s required to move.

Above is a representation of the pathway the impulse takes from the spinal cord to the muscle fibres causing a muscle to contract

This signal can go slow or fast along this pathway to the muscle/s contracting.

The rate at which this occurs is phenomena termed “rate coding”.

Then the number of units within the muscle excited from this process, termed motor unit recruitment”, will determine the amount of force the muscle can produce.

VBT not only stimulates which fibre to grow as mention above, but it stimulates the signal to the fibres, and the number of fibres used to increase performance.

Summary of the Physiological Benefits of VBT

If I lost you with all the science, apologies!

Just focus on this bit and trust me!

To move fast, you need the rate to be high.

To be strong, you need to recruit more of the muscle to produce force.

To be powerful, you need force and velocity!

That sounds like the ultimate fighter!

For combat athletes, VBT is the cure to your problem with lifting weight in the gym and will replace:

“Lifting makes me slow!”  and “Lifting makes me too big” with

“Lifting makes me lean, FAST and powerful!”

I couldn’t put it much simpler, it is an extremely deep topic, so I hope that made sense!

MMA Athlete Shannon Ross: 3 years of VBT and fueling to perform makes a lean machine!