If you’re familiar with the term ‘Combat Base’ it refers to a position you use within Jiu Jitsu when you're on your feet to engage a standing opponent, or to engage in passing your opponents guard while standing. There are likely more examples as it is a fairly general position with which to ‘spring’ your attacks on your opponent and ideally you want your movements from this position to be fairly powerful in order to be quick. Here I’m going to discuss some recent research on what exercises to use to develop this movement.
How do you develop a more powerful combat base for Jiu Jitsu?
A recent study entitled 'Relative Intensity Influences the Degree of Correspondence of Jump Squats and Push Jerks to Countermovement Jumps’ looked at two exercises ‘Jump Squat’ and ‘Push Jerk’ and how similar they were in terms of body mechanics versus the ‘Counter Movement Jump’ (CMJ) and the observant amongst you will have already notice how closely the CMJ matches the combat base position when at the lower position. Therefore, using an exercise that more specifically develops power in the CMJ is more likely to translate to a more powerful combat base.
While both exercises showed a partial correlation between them and the mechanics of the CMJ, the Push Jerk showed the stronger correlation compared to the Jump Squat. Also, the loads at which the significant correlations were found between the CMJ and the Push Jerk were higher. When they measured the torque and impulse (force x time) of the hip, knee and ankle joints there was a closer match between the Push Jerk and CMJ on loads as high as 65% of 1 rep max at the knee joint. The highest load where a correlation was found (also at the knee joint) for the Jump Squat was at 25% of 1 rep max.
Why is the load important?
To develop multi effort power (i.e. not a single lift like in olympic lifting events) then you need to aim for loads of 75% to 85% of your 1 rep max. So even though the Push Jerk did not correlate in terms of movements patterns with the CMJ at loads higher than 65%, it was much closer than the loads for the Jump Squat.
While the Jump Squat is still a valid exercise for developing power using the Push Jerk has more specificity in relation to the CMJ and also with loads that are closer to those needed to properly develop power.
While I have yet to research studies on other exercises and their translation to the CMJ, it may also be worth considering other exercises such as the power clean, hang clean, kettlebell cleans etc that closely mimic the universal athletic position as you look to develop power for Jiu Jitsu.