The path to shred.
When most people think of weightlifters automatically their minds cook up the image of a musclebound specimen that appears nearly inhuman. They think of a powerlifter or a bodybuilder as the chief examples of what weightlifting has to offer. However all different manner of athletes do indeed lift weights. Outside of powerlifter and bodybuilding athletes from many different sports also implement weightlifting into their strength and conditioning programs in order to be more explosive and powerful for their respective sports.
For individuals competing in other sporting endeavors the idea of building muscle and becoming shredded is perhaps the last thing that crosses their mind. Don’t get me wrong, appearing to be cut out of granite is something that many individuals seek to accomplish, but as a professional athlete it’s much less of a priority. In reality it’s all about optimizing performance. If lifting weights would impair an athlete’s ability to perform at the highest levels then I’ve got no doubts that they’d pass on the whole endeavor, but there are plenty of studies and performances out there that would say otherwise.
In fight sports you do need flexibility, strength, power, technique, speed, and explosiveness in order to compete with the fighters at the highest levels of the sport. In MMA if you were to look at those ranked at the top of the sport then you would see that many of them aren’t exactly the most massive or shredded like a bodybuilder. You can’t have too much muscle on your frame or risk the possibility of getting exhausted during a fight. But lifting heavy does have it’s benefits and for an athlete to add it to their training could mean the difference between a mediocre or riveting fight performance.
The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones wasn’t a man known for lifting a tremendous amount of weight. In fact his strength and conditioning program was a bit more crossfit oriented (yes the most dreaded training system in the world!!). Ever since his suspension from the sport it seems like Jones has been hitting the weights hard and has taken up a more powerlifting oriented training program. He’s been doing compound movements that emphasize both size and strength the deadlift, the bench, and the squat. Check out the number one pound-for-pound fighter’s shocking body transformation.
If he was trouble before then there’s no doubting that Jones is twice as intimidating now. Muscles don’t always tell the full story, but Jones was already a dangerous fighter. This new emphasis on strength training has likely taken him to the next level.