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Respiratory issues during MMA/Grappling training

ToroPharmaRep

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Hey everybody, it's been awhile.

So, i'm currently about 215, 5 foot 7 inches and pretty lean, i'd guess around 10% BF, I competed as a bodybuilder at the national level in 2015, and I haven't lost too much size since. When I was in High School, I wasn't nearly as muscular; but, I wrestled at a very competitive level. I'm in my 30's now and I've been doing BJJ and Greco Wrestling twice per day getting ready for a tournament next month. I'm really struggling as I get about two minutes into the roll, I honestly feel like i'm like drowning, I just can't catch a breath at all, at times I honestly feel like I need to tap just from scrambling for position two or three times and then hitting that wall where i'm realizing that I can't breathe. I do roll very aggressive, I wrestled very aggressive and my cardio is lacking for sure; but, I've been rolling daily for two months now with no real improvement.

Currently running:
750 Test E
900 EQ
1 iu of HGH per day
Cialis pre workout (still training like a bodybuilder)

I'm starting to wonder if it's sports asthma or maybe just too much mass for grappling (have a hard time with this as Kyle Snyderman is a beast), I dunno, something is off and this forum is usually where i've found good answers in the past. Has anybody here trained wrestling, BJJ, MMA at a competitive level and struggled being built like a bodybuilder.
 

thethinker48

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That is too much gear for combat sports

You have to decide what you want to become good at. Bodybuilding and grappling require antithetical approaches in a lot of ways

You can be decent at both, but to be truly good at grappling, you need to make that your focus. Weight training 2-3 times a week maybe to just to keep the size, and the willingness to get lighter to become quicker, more flexible, and have a better gas tank

Also, tone down your voltages when you roll. Wrestlers have this issue, because theyre used to going 100% from the start, but BJJ has elements of positioning and setups that require you to breathe, slow down, and think
 

Fa Seeshus

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I get a similar issue when I go to the ground... Something about that position and upper body activation makes it much harder to breath. One thing that has really helped me is swimming. You are using your whole body and have to control your breathing.
 

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At 750 Test and 900 EQ what are your RBC, Hemoglobin and Hematocrit numbers? More red blood cells can help but too much and that thick blood along with fluid retention can certainly be a problem. Definitely stay hydrated and I would be using one baby aspirin a day assuming you're not on other things that thin the blood too much.
 

pheenix

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Too big for BJJ IMO, did it on / off since 1999 started with Renzo in NYC. I used to go through the same thing and i was not on any gear like that. Like someone said, choose what your passionate about and make your body reflect those requirements. JMO Good luck brother
 

Pissbrain259

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Too big for BJJ IMO, did it on / off since 1999 started with Renzo in NYC. I used to go through the same thing and i was not on any gear like that. Like someone said, choose what your passionate about and make your body reflect those requirements. JMO Good luck brother
Como voce vai, my fellow Renzo teammate.
 

qbkilla

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Too big for BJJ IMO, did it on / off since 1999 started with Renzo in NYC. I used to go through the same thing and i was not on any gear like that. Like someone said, choose what your passionate about and make your body reflect those requirements. JMO Good luck brother
This, IMO. Im not expert but at 5ft 7 200 +lbs, a bodybuilder doesn't really have the body type to have decent cardio. Look at the UFC, look at who are the best fighters too, a 5'7 guy is usually about 140lbs. Im sure the muscle is better than if the weight was fat, but it will still hinder you.
 

Big Dave Smith

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That is too much gear for combat sports

You have to decide what you want to become good at. Bodybuilding and grappling require antithetical approaches in a lot of ways

You can be decent at both, but to be truly good at grappling, you need to make that your focus. Weight training 2-3 times a week maybe to just to keep the size, and the willingness to get lighter to become quicker, more flexible, and have a better gas tank

Also, tone down your voltages when you roll. Wrestlers have this issue, because theyre used to going 100% from the start, but BJJ has elements of positioning and setups that require you to breathe, slow down, and think
I completely agree and completely disagree.

Too much gear WILL zap you of energy. You will always move, breathe, and feel better athletically on the lowest end of the gear use spectrum. I operate best in the 300-600mg (total) range.

If you aren’t doing cardio (real, hard cardio), grappling alone will not condition your.

There is a chance that you could be doing too much lifting and grappling, in which case your CNS would be fried, and your resting heart rate is sort of funky. Ever see the Ultimate Fighter episode where they ran the guys through a hard session, then tracked how fast their heart rate would recover from high intensity cardio?

If yours isn’t coming down fast, or your breathing can’t catch up... you’re either burned out or unconditioned.

I’m 255-260, and grapple 5 days a week... still lift 4-5 days. My conditioning improved when I used less gear, and when I was honest with myself about conditioning. Now it’s rare that I get tired, and I never need more than 2 min to recover.
 

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ToroPharmaRep

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I completely agree and completely disagree.

Too much gear WILL zap you of energy. You will always move, breathe, and feel better athletically on the lowest end of the gear use spectrum. I operate best in the 300-600mg (total) range.

If you aren’t doing cardio (real, hard cardio), grappling alone will not condition your.

There is a chance that you could be doing too much lifting and grappling, in which case your CNS would be fried, and your resting heart rate is sort of funky. Ever see the Ultimate Fighter episode where they ran the guys through a hard session, then tracked how fast their heart rate would recover from high intensity cardio?

If yours isn’t coming down fast, or your breathing can’t catch up... you’re either burned out or unconditioned.

I’m 255-260, and grapple 5 days a week... still lift 4-5 days. My conditioning improved when I used less gear, and when I was honest with myself about conditioning. Now it’s rare that I get tired, and I never need more than 2 min to recover.
Thanks for commenting Dave, I know you're a BJJ practitioner. What kinds of cardio helped condition you the most? When I wrestled, we just ran and drilled, the guys I roll with don't seem to like to come to class early to drill or stay late to drill. A few of our pro fighters live on a rowing machine.

CNS could definitely be fried, i'm training 2-3 times per day right now. One of the guys that I roll with uses a Polar HR monitor and tracks his HR recovery, I'm thinking about ordering one and seeing if it works for me.

Are you running mostly test at the 300-600 range? I thought bringing EQ in would be smart; but, all the BJJ guys I know that compete at high levels run Var and test. I'll pull in the EQ regardless and bring the test down a bit as well.
 

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Funny..my first thought was going to be ask Big Dave Smith but by the time I kept reading..he had chimed in. Toro...when we talked weeks ago, you didn't tell me this! That's too much gear lol!
At this point you can back down to 300-400 test, and 200-300 EQ and still have the lingering EQ benefits(and maybe sides too) from the EQ that has built up(depending on how long you've been running it).

When I ran EQ in 2016 for 4 months, it seemed like I kept a lot of that look for a very long time afterwards. It was a slightly toned down version of when on..but only slightly. I had gotten into good shape and ran T, EQ, Serostim for 4 months and I looked pretty wild for at least 6-8 months after that on just 200-300mg trt.
 

FrancisK

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It's the size you're carrying from the gear and the gear itself dude, think about how tall the 215lb guys were back in high school. Those guys were the weight class below heavyweight and they were 6'3 or taller unless it was just some fatass filling a spot, you're 5'7 carrying 215lbs of course you're going to have shit endurance your body is working itself to death just getting you to move.

I said this in another thread recently, I couldn't even imagine running gear while wrestling in college I don't care how much stronger it made me the endurance drawbacks from added size from muscle or water or whatever it is would kill me and negate any advantage.

You're 5'7 215lbs running gear, you're fucken huge dude of course your body doesn't like the most taxing sport possible!
 

Big Dave Smith

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Thanks for commenting Dave, I know you're a BJJ practitioner. What kinds of cardio helped condition you the most? When I wrestled, we just ran and drilled, the guys I roll with don't seem to like to come to class early to drill or stay late to drill. A few of our pro fighters live on a rowing machine.

CNS could definitely be fried, i'm training 2-3 times per day right now. One of the guys that I roll with uses a Polar HR monitor and tracks his HR recovery, I'm thinking about ordering one and seeing if it works for me.

Are you running mostly test at the 300-600 range? I thought bringing EQ in would be smart; but, all the BJJ guys I know that compete at high levels run Var and test. I'll pull in the EQ regardless and bring the test down a bit as well.
2-3 times per day is wayyyyy to often. Unless you’re getting ready for ADCC, and doing absolutely nothing but eat and rest in between, it’s not going be sustainable.

I prefer HIIT intervals using progressive overload, plus some added steady state after the intervals. There’s usually a warm up, then 10-15 min of sprints on an elliptical, followed by 10-20 min steady state.
I love the rower, but prefer the elliptical because the stress is spread evenly throughout the body.
Cardio should be “how do I get my heart and lungs to work as hard as possible, but tax my muscles and joints as little as possible”.
When I say progressive overload, I’ll track what resistance is used during the sprint, what resistance is used during the cruise, and total cals burned. I’m not looking for true calories, just something to quantify energy expenditure. From there, I just try to burn a few more calories per session by going a little faster, adding a little more resistance on a sprint, etc... But the goal is to get more work within the time frame than last week and the week before.
It’s not something I do all year, but when I know training is getting tough, I make myself. There’s a school in the city that has a shark tank full of guys once a week, all competitors and fighters. 5 min matches with 1 min rest. It’s not uncommon to have 15-20 matches on a good day.
When you start to grapple week in and week out for long periods of time, you Also learn how to breathe a little better, calm down, reserve energy for the right moments, etc.

White through purple, I was the guy who’d fizzle out after 4-5 matches in practice. Deep down, I knew it was work ethic. Ever since, I only sit out matches if I’m injured or I’m the odd man out. I get there early, start before class, and leave when I’m told to get off the mat. I’ve added sport specific core training, flexibility training, and the cardio. Once I structured things around being a grappler, my problems went away.

Anyone who claims size robs you of energy is being intellectually dishonest.

If you build an addition to your house, but you don’t add plumbing, electric, or HVAC... it’s not going to serve much of a purpose.

If you want to be jacked AND grapple, you can. You just have to do the work necessary for your heart and lungs to oxygenate your body. It takes longer than most people are ever willing to wait, and work most people never would or could do. People who say you can have one but not the other say that because it’s just really hard to do both. It’s not impossible.

As for the gear, I‘ll go as high as 1000-1200mg total... maybe a combo of test/mast/primo... but only when my calories are lower and I can maintain my weight.

At 248-253, I’m hell on wheels.
At 254-257, I’m okay.
258-262, I need some work, but can lazily “technique my way” to conserve energy.
263+? Molasses on a cold day.

I’d like to come down next year to the mid 240’s (Jacked). That’ll be a new level of speed and endurance.
 

ToroPharmaRep

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That is too much gear for combat sports

You have to decide what you want to become good at. Bodybuilding and grappling require antithetical approaches in a lot of ways

You can be decent at both, but to be truly good at grappling, you need to make that your focus. Weight training 2-3 times a week maybe to just to keep the size, and the willingness to get lighter to become quicker, more flexible, and have a better gas tank

Also, tone down your voltages when you roll. Wrestlers have this issue, because theyre used to going 100% from the start, but BJJ has elements of positioning and setups that require you to breathe, slow down, and think
Definitely good advice, A lot of my problem is that in HS I wrestled 112-119, so I still try to bring that explosiveness all the time @ my current weight. My coach is on me a lot lately about using my greco to create low energy takedowns or even to just force people into bad shots.
 

ToroPharmaRep

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It's the size you're carrying from the gear and the gear itself dude, think about how tall the 215lb guys were back in high school. Those guys were the weight class below heavyweight and they were 6'3 or taller unless it was just some fatass filling a spot, you're 5'7 carrying 215lbs of course you're going to have shit endurance your body is working itself to death just getting you to move.

I said this in another thread recently, I couldn't even imagine running gear while wrestling in college I don't care how much stronger it made me the endurance drawbacks from added size from muscle or water or whatever it is would kill me and negate any advantage.

You're 5'7 215lbs running gear, you're fucken huge dude of course your body doesn't like the most taxing sport possible!
Thanks for sharing, I definitely want to lean out a bit and try to shed some mass at some point (not really excited about that part). But, one of my challenges is that I still grapple like an explosive 119 lbs wrestler, I need to slow down and use my size a bit more, my pressure game is really good; but, I roll literally knowing that i'm a 5 point takedown away from entering my game and not having to worry about passing guard, so I usually get spent early on going for arches, HC's and doubles.
 

ToroPharmaRep

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2-3 times per day is wayyyyy to often. Unless you’re getting ready for ADCC, and doing absolutely nothing but eat and rest in between, it’s not going be sustainable.

I prefer HIIT intervals using progressive overload, plus some added steady state after the intervals. There’s usually a warm up, then 10-15 min of sprints on an elliptical, followed by 10-20 min steady state.
I love the rower, but prefer the elliptical because the stress is spread evenly throughout the body.
Cardio should be “how do I get my heart and lungs to work as hard as possible, but tax my muscles and joints as little as possible”.
When I say progressive overload, I’ll track what resistance is used during the sprint, what resistance is used during the cruise, and total cals burned. I’m not looking for true calories, just something to quantify energy expenditure. From there, I just try to burn a few more calories per session by going a little faster, adding a little more resistance on a sprint, etc... But the goal is to get more work within the time frame than last week and the week before.
It’s not something I do all year, but when I know training is getting tough, I make myself. There’s a school in the city that has a shark tank full of guys once a week, all competitors and fighters. 5 min matches with 1 min rest. It’s not uncommon to have 15-20 matches on a good day.
When you start to grapple week in and week out for long periods of time, you Also learn how to breathe a little better, calm down, reserve energy for the right moments, etc.

White through purple, I was the guy who’d fizzle out after 4-5 matches in practice. Deep down, I knew it was work ethic. Ever since, I only sit out matches if I’m injured or I’m the odd man out. I get there early, start before class, and leave when I’m told to get off the mat. I’ve added sport specific core training, flexibility training, and the cardio. Once I structured things around being a grappler, my problems went away.

Anyone who claims size robs you of energy is being intellectually dishonest.

If you build an addition to your house, but you don’t add plumbing, electric, or HVAC... it’s not going to serve much of a purpose.

If you want to be jacked AND grapple, you can. You just have to do the work necessary for your heart and lungs to oxygenate your body. It takes longer than most people are ever willing to wait, and work most people never would or could do. People who say you can have one but not the other say that because it’s just really hard to do both. It’s not impossible.

As for the gear, I‘ll go as high as 1000-1200mg total... maybe a combo of test/mast/primo... but only when my calories are lower and I can maintain my weight.

At 248-253, I’m hell on wheels.
At 254-257, I’m okay.
258-262, I need some work, but can lazily “technique my way” to conserve energy.
263+? Molasses on a cold day.

I’d like to come down next year to the mid 240’s (Jacked). That’ll be a new level of speed and endurance.
This is awesome Dave, thank you. Right now, i'm actually working from home with COVID and my diet is solid, sleep is shit (going through a divorce); but, i'm looking at a grappling industries tournament in October then I think i'll slow it down a bit and try to build the infrastructure that you mentioned. I remember a Joe Rogan podcast where they talked about that type of cardio being ideal for BJJ/MMA, i'll get started on the elliptical tomorrow. The gym i'm in is all killers and most of them were D1 college football players, so they are 250+ and move like they are 185lbs. We have a few world champs and the instructor was the grappling coach at AKA in CA. I've done BJJ before in my life and it was nothing like what these guys do. We do shark tanks on Saturdays when there is a tournament coming up. I got through a couple of them by just grit and willpower; but, after 1-2min of attacking, i'm just trying to not get tapped for 3-4 min.

I'm also doing a good bit of yoga which is helping alot, what sort of core training are you doing? The bodybuilder in me is still scared of thickening my waist.
 

ToroPharmaRep

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Funny..my first thought was going to be ask Big Dave Smith but by the time I kept reading..he had chimed in. Toro...when we talked weeks ago, you didn't tell me this! That's too much gear lol!
At this point you can back down to 300-400 test, and 200-300 EQ and still have the lingering EQ benefits(and maybe sides too) from the EQ that has built up(depending on how long you've been running it).

When I ran EQ in 2016 for 4 months, it seemed like I kept a lot of that look for a very long time afterwards. It was a slightly toned down version of when on..but only slightly. I had gotten into good shape and ran T, EQ, Serostim for 4 months and I looked pretty wild for at least 6-8 months after that on just 200-300mg trt.
Man you said add some EQ and I just added it like I normally would.....whoops.
 

thethinker48

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I completely agree and completely disagree.

Too much gear WILL zap you of energy. You will always move, breathe, and feel better athletically on the lowest end of the gear use spectrum. I operate best in the 300-600mg (total) range.

If you aren’t doing cardio (real, hard cardio), grappling alone will not condition your.

There is a chance that you could be doing too much lifting and grappling, in which case your CNS would be fried, and your resting heart rate is sort of funky. Ever see the Ultimate Fighter episode where they ran the guys through a hard session, then tracked how fast their heart rate would recover from high intensity cardio?

If yours isn’t coming down fast, or your breathing can’t catch up... you’re either burned out or unconditioned.

I’m 255-260, and grapple 5 days a week... still lift 4-5 days. My conditioning improved when I used less gear, and when I was honest with myself about conditioning. Now it’s rare that I get tired, and I never need more than 2 min to recover.
I agree

You're a great example of a really big guy becoming a good grappler

But I suppose my point was that the muscle came first for you. You established homeostasis by carrying it for years, and you rarely get below 250 even on TRT (correct me if I'm wrong).

But if you were building it, it would be a different.

Your suit of armor is yours for life now
 

thethinker48

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Definitely good advice, A lot of my problem is that in HS I wrestled 112-119, so I still try to bring that explosiveness all the time @ my current weight. My coach is on me a lot lately about using my greco to create low energy takedowns or even to just force people into bad shots.
You can also use your weight to your advantage by letting guys carry it for you

When the bigger experienced guys I've rolled with do that, it's a terrible experience for the opposing party lol
 

ToroPharmaRep

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This, IMO. Im not expert but at 5ft 7 200 +lbs, a bodybuilder doesn't really have the body type to have decent cardio. Look at the UFC, look at who are the best fighters too, a 5'7 guy is usually about 140lbs. Im sure the muscle is better than if the weight was fat, but it will still hinder you.
I agree with you; but, we have 280 lbs college football players that roll and just have explosive speed and cardio for days, I mean they are more fat than muscle; but, they are some corn fed killers.
I agree

You're a great example of a really big guy becoming a good grappler

But I suppose my point was that the muscle came first for you. You established homeostasis by carrying it for years, and you rarely get below 250 even on TRT (correct me if I'm wrong).

But if you were building it, it would be a different.

Your suit of armor is yours for life now
Just to be clear, you're also describing me :p I've been over 220lbs for about 9 years now and competed in BB from 2009-2015. I quit competing after doing Nationals in 2015 and decided that it was my time to move on from the sport, I still train and eat like a bodybuilder; but, I've just maintained my size or gone up and down on the cruise and blast for the past 5 years.
 

Big Dave Smith

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This is awesome Dave, thank you. Right now, i'm actually working from home with COVID and my diet is solid, sleep is shit (going through a divorce); but, i'm looking at a grappling industries tournament in October then I think i'll slow it down a bit and try to build the infrastructure that you mentioned. I remember a Joe Rogan podcast where they talked about that type of cardio being ideal for BJJ/MMA, i'll get started on the elliptical tomorrow. The gym i'm in is all killers and most of them were D1 college football players, so they are 250+ and move like they are 185lbs. We have a few world champs and the instructor was the grappling coach at AKA in CA. I've done BJJ before in my life and it was nothing like what these guys do. We do shark tanks on Saturdays when there is a tournament coming up. I got through a couple of them by just grit and willpower; but, after 1-2min of attacking, i'm just trying to not get tapped for 3-4 min.

I'm also doing a good bit of yoga which is helping alot, what sort of core training are you doing? The bodybuilder in me is still scared of thickening my waist.
Waist thickening is another long conversation... but I’ll say that the stronger my core has gotten, the SMALLER my waist has gotten.
Louie Simmons suggests training your abs in positions relative to your sport.
I do a lot of...
Prone ab exercises with sliding discs and Swiss balls to mimic float passing and posting while passing guard. “Slider V’s” and mimicking shin pommeling with the ball.
Standing Rope Crunches for strength (10-15 rep range)
Hanging Leg raises (from a chin up bar) to failure, with good breathing


I’ve also made up a few. One is where I lay flat on my back and explosively throw my legs over my head, touch the ground with my toes, and fling them back. Helps my inverted guard. Another is where I lay flat on my back in the same way, simulating the moment after someone’s pushing your over in sitting guard. From there, I explosively sit up and get back to sitting guard with good posture. 100 reps of each, just to maintain the reaction speed and endurance.


Every rep is executed to be precise, with controlled breathing. All breathes are in sync with the movement.
 

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