Strength? Endurance? Power? Mass? How to Reach Your Goals through Weight Lifting

This article is for those who recognize that they could use some physical improvements outside of technique in order to improve their level of competitiveness as a grappler. As Justin Curtis said, “Nothing can replace mat-time,” so that’s not the attempt here. Instead, this is merely a way to help you meet your fitness and/or your athletic goals using some training off of the mats.

Before we get too far into anything, it’s important to know that regardless of your personal fitness goals (strength, power, etc.), you have to figure out what your one rep max is on any lift you plan to do (we’ve previously written about some lifts that are beneficial to grapplers). So we have provided a simple method below; everything we’re going to cover will revolve around the knowledge of your one rep max.

  1. Warm up with a light resistance set in which you can do 5-10 reps without too much effort.
  2. Rest for 1 minute.
  3. Have a warm-up load that will you do 3-5 reps by:
    1. Adding 10-12lbs (4-9kg) for an upper body exercise.
    2. Adding 30-40lbs (14-18kg) for a lower body exercise.
  4. Rest for 2 minutes.
  5. Do a near-max weight by repeating the process outlined in step 3 and complete only 2-3 reps.
  6. Rest for 2-4 minutes.
  7. Increase the weight once again as outlined in step 3.
  8. Attempt a 1 rep max.
  9. If successful: Rest for 2-4 minutes and go back to step 7.
    1. If unsuccessful: rest for 2-4 minutes and decrease the weight by
      1. 5-10 lbs (2-4kg) for an upper body exercise.
      2. 15-20lbs (7-9kg) for a lower body exercise.

Simple enough, really. Once you have a one rep max, you can figure out the basics of a lifting program based on the table below. Understand, what you have here are only a few basics. The information I am giving you is not nearly enough to just go out and whip up a complete program for yourself. There are still such things as de-load weeks, nutrition and supplementation, adding in conditioning, and knowing how to treat your body in regards to a sports “season”.

Knowing how to treat your body day-in and day-out is incredibly important and it is best to seek the advice of a professional trainer. There are even some who can give you a very good, personalized program online for a very low fee. That said, here are the basics to get you started:

1RM = 1 rep max


If all of that seems confusing, don’t sweat it. It’s actually fairly simple so long as you know how to figure the percentage of your 1RM (in case you don’t, it is simply your 1RM x the percentage you want; for example: 200 x .67 = 134, or 67% of your 200lb 1RM).

Feel free to play around with it some, but always find someone who is more knowledgeable than yourself to help you get started.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here