Firas Zahabi: ‘Training Should Be Addictive, But People Always Go To Anxiety’

As a BJJ instructor, one of my tasks is to try to get the less experienced students to slow down and use less strength. This is nothing new. We’ve all heard that admonition at some point in our jiu-jitsu training.

There are two main reasons for this advice. The first is because it is difficult to learn much technique when you are just fighting for survival. Secondly, there must be consideration for injury prevention. It does the BJJ school no good if most of the members are sidelined with injuries.

I teach at a muay thai & boxing gym and enjoy watching the striking sparring. The higher skilled the strikers, the more relaxed and fluid their movement. I rarely observe the boxers or muay thai guys going more than 60 – 70% power. The exception is when one fighter has a fight coming up soon.

I compared that sparring approach to the 100% rolls of many of the blue belts I see in BJJ class who are rolling at 100% trying to “win” the roll. When rolling with the priority to win the roll, it becomes difficult to try new techniques to add to your jiu-jitsu. Instead, you tighten up, become more conservative and stick with your A Game. Ok, you didn’t get tapped, but did you further your primary goal and improve your skills?

Firas Zahabi the head trainer of Tristar gym did an epic podcast interview on Joe Rogan’s MMA show and dropped the following insights on training intensity.

* Zahabi specified this was regular training, outside of preparing for competition.

“I’m a big believer in never being sore. You should train and wake up the next day feeling good.”

“Let’s say I go to jiu-jitsu practice. I’m doing jiu-jitsu every single day. That’s three rounds, five days a week. That’s 15 rounds.

You go in twice per week but you kill yourself. You do five rounds each day. You push yourself those last two rounds and burn yourself out.
I still did 15. You’re at 10. At the end of the year, I’ve had so much more training than you. So how much training can we pack in the week? That’s the question. How much volume can you expose your athlete to?”

“I’m a big believer in consistency over intensity.”

I’ve heard high level coaches stress hard, high intensity training saying “The way you train is the way you compete!” and frown upon lighter training methods like flow rolling.

Professor Zahabi is one of the finest coaches in the world and he recommends 70 percent training intensity, but with more frequency.

What do you think? Go as hard as you can or do you agree with coach Zahabi?


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