A variation of interval training is performing a workout that simulates a match. For example, I know that the matches in the upcoming jiu jitsu tournament in two weeks will be 5 minutes. I like to simulate these matches on the treadmill. A lot of people suggest more functional exercises than running. After all, sprinting is hardly a simulation of a grappling match. But I buy into the idea that Forrest Griffin describes in his Got Fight? book, that the treadmill is the ultimate tool to develop not only your conditioning but your mind through exactly this type of simulation of a match.
Basically, for most any exercise you do to simulate a match, when you get tired to the point where all you want to do physically and mentally is quit, you can’t help but slow down just a tiny bit, easing the load on your body and mind. With a treadmill, you can’t slow down. It’s set at whatever speed and incline you set it to, and it just goes. It’s up to you to keep up.
It works for me. No training session (including wrestling in high school) has taken me to a place of wanting to quit like a treadmill (partially because I hate running, but mostly because of the reason described above). I do a 7 minute match:
- Minute 1: 10mph
- Minute 2: 6mph
- Minute 3: 11mph
- Minute 4: 6mph
- Minute 5: 12mph
- Minute 6: 6mph
- Minute 7: 12mph
That’s one match. I then walk at a snail’s 2mph pace for 3 minutes, and repeat for a second, third, fourth, and fifth match.
Sometimes I only do 2 or 3 matches (like yesterday). However, the rule is to NEVER quit. Even if I get a cramp, or shins/ankles hurt, or even a friend sees me and starts talking to me, I must finish that match. I’ve done this workout only about ten times in my life, and always plan on doing it twice a week, but it’s such hell, that I end up finding excuses to avoid it after a week and instead do a jiu jitsu or judo class.
I believe that success in competition requires that I get a few months of such training (twice a week) in before the tournament. I learn a lot about myself in these sessions and like in any type of hard training, I gain confidence in my cardio and “heart” for actual matches in tournaments.