Powerbuilding for Fighters: Strength – Muscle Mass – Athleticism
I recently heard of the term called “Powerbuilding” or "Powerblast" training. It is basically strength training, powerlifting, strongman training and bodybuilding combined into one. There have been some famous weightlifters, most notably Ronnie Coleman and Jimmy "Iron Bull" Pellechia who have been called Powerbuilders. For a long time I was lifting in a powerlifting mindset, but took about 1.5 years off to concentrate on getting fat, then losing all the fat and fighting MMA. Now that I’m good to go, I started getting back into it. I’m lifting with my old buddy “Big Joe” and we’re back in the mix; but both want to concentrate on adding solid lean muscle mass, keep our bodyfat in check, and also gain some serious strength. Hopefully I’ll show you some transformation pics – we’ll see. Below is a video related to the princples of powerbuilding, as well as an excert from an article about Powerblast training with Iron Bull Pellechia.
How is this good for Martial Arts?
Most martial artist want to be fit, healthy, active, etc. Most of us concentrate on bodyweight exercises or bodybuilding exercises to generate the "fitness" we need for our martial arts training. Well… my philosophy in this – I want to be as BEAST like as possible. I don’t want to be fat, but I don’t want to be small either. I want to pack on as much muscle as I can that allows me to add beast-like power to my martial arts training.
Lets face it – most martial artists only say they don’t want to get big because they associate being big with vanity muscles, slow movements, and they don’t think they’ll ever acheive it. But – if you could add 20lbs of muscle to your body and lose fat, why would you NOT do it? More muscle, less fat, performing better in the ring or on the mat, and impressing the ladies! That’s a WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN!
PowerBuilding Video from Lean Hybrid Muscle
When I was looking for some new ideas to get back into training with Joe, we found a program that is geared towards Powerbuilding developed by Eliot Hulse and Mike Westerdal. It’s called Lean Hybrid Muscle. Eliot is a professional strongman as well as jacked up! His program is SOLID and we are now using many of the workout concepts and techniques outline. Here’s Elliot talking about Powerbuilding. Mike is a former College Football player as well as Powerlifting competitor.
The principles of the program and the workouts are exactly what I was looking for in regards to my goals of strength, increased muscle mass, and martial arts athleticism.
Check out more of Eliot’s program here at Lean Hybrid Muscle
Powerbuilding Principles and Powerblast Principles from Mike Westerdal
fron Mike Westerdal and Jimmy "the Iron Bull" Pellechia
This system is appropriately named. To build my brand of EXPLOSIVE STRENGTH, you need to train like an animal! There’s no such thing as going to the gym, hitting a moderate workout and expecting to be an IRON BULL. You have to pound with those weights like there’s something wrong with you..like you’re trying to punish yourself. On the other hand, you have to apply these principles and progressively work up to your heavy poundage so you won’t injure yourself. You have to “on fire” when you do these exercises, but you’ve got to be technical as well. You must break that barrier that everybody puts in their mind that says, “I can do it.” The POWERBLAST is the same technique used in Olympic lifting, but applied to the whole body. Like Olympic lifting, your body adapts to this style. The tendons and ligaments are trained to absorb the high impact of body momentum exercises and super- heavy forced reps.
A big difference between the POWERBLAST and standard bodybuilding is that each exercise in the POWERBLAST involves the entire body working synergistically. In bodybuilding, you isolate each muscle group with strict movement. A power curl, for example, works not only the biceps, but front delts and lower back as well. The pulley triceps presses done in this manner also works the abs and some of the upper back. As a result, I get functional, balanced physique development without having to do all the detailed work that a competitive bodybuilder does. I do no direct abdominal work, for example, yet my abs are defined and strong.
Here are some keys to success using the IRON BULL POWER BLAST:
1) CONSTANT CHANGE: Constant Change is important if you expect to continuously improve. You must always shock the body and keep your muscles from becoming immune to any specific training schedule. Train on different days and use different routines.
2) LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You will be using the heaviest weights possible on this routine, include super heavy cheat reps, and assisted forced reps. It’s just as important, though, to back off ad train light on some days. You have to pay close attention to the signals your body gives you…feelings of pain and/or fatigue…and adjust your workouts appropriately.
3) ALLOW FOR RECOVERY TIME. I may take as many as three days off training following a super heavy workout. This depends on how I feel. The next week of training may have to be light, using medium poundage and 10 to 25 reps. Again, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Don’t let ego get the way of good judgment.
4) WORK UP TO HEAVY POUNDAGES. Always begin with light, warm-up poundage and add weight with each set (ascending pyramid), decreasing reps. Always use a spotter when performing maximum efforts. Blast the weight in an explosive movement. Bring it down quickly, but controlled. Avoid bouncing the weight, which can cause torn muscle. Following the heaviest set on the major power movements, do several sets decreasing poundage (descending sets), using slower negative movements
5) STRENGTH INCREASES.
At first you, you will progress quite rapidly. Go ahead and add weight whenever possible. At my level of strength, I have to be careful and sensible. I increase poundage in my workouts every six to eight months. Again, I listen to my body. One day, I may enter the gym feeling very strong and break my personal record in one or several exercises. Often, I’ve done an excess of 50 to 100 lbs. more in some exercises! Afterward, I always take time off, then back-cycle to my previous training poundages. This is the best way to hoist mammoth poundages safely and make steady progress beyond and physical limit.
Check out Lean Hybrid Muscle for a solid routine for burning the fat, gaining lean muscle mass, and getting STRONG