Strength Training For Judo: Part 2 – The Turner

   The Turner’s image is perhaps the “prettiest” of all the judo styles. Their arsenal of high sweeping throws, dramatic turns, and acrobatic body movements will most often elicit applause and cries of appreciation from the crowd. In addition, the throws used by the Turner can often be employed in the blink of an eye, making them some of the most dangerous opponents on the mat.

Needs of the Turner

  • Horizontal pulling strength. Most of a Turner’s throws will depend on a strong horizontal plane throw. This will pull their opponent off balance to the opponent’s frontal plane, the thrower’s (initial) rear. As such, a strong horizontal pull is needed.
  • Turning speed and tightness. The key for most Turner’s techniques is quickness. A tight, sudden turn can create more off-balancing opportunities for the Turner than all of the strength in the world. As such, the hips, transverse abdominals, and legs are all important.
  • Knee, hip and shoulder stability. The simple fact is, the human body was not intended for the types of rotational stress placed upon it by elements one and two above. Add in the fact that an athlete’s opponent will usually do everything they can to avoid being thrown, and you have a recipe for intense pressures upon the knee joint. Even in a defensive role, the knee is often placed under severe stress. As such, stabilization for the knee, especially in the realm of hamstring and hip strength, is key for a long, pain-free judo experience. For the Turner who favors the seio nage shoulder throw (especially the version known as morote seio nage), shoulder stability is also key. Many promising judo athletes have had their careers cut far too short due to pain caused by lack of stability in the knees, hips or shoulders.
  • Abdominal rotational (and anti-rotational) strength. In conjunction with number one, abdominal rotational strength is very important to the Turner. Think of it as horizontal pull initiates the throw, while rotational abdominal strength completes the throw. Of course, the abdominals also have a very important role in turning speed and tightness as well.

Main Exercises for The Turner

  • Front Squats – In watching Turners, you will notice when they squat to get under their opponent’s center of gravity, they commonly will do so with knees going forward, with the torso remaining vertical over the hips. Now, what does this sound like? If you answered front squats, you would win the prize. Alternatives include overhead squats and Bulgarian split squats. In fact, if the Turner very much favors the tai otoshi throw, a split squat of some form becomes almost required.
  • Romanian Deadlifts – Why not deadlifts, you ask? Two reasons. First, in competitive judo, lifting an opponent in a deadlift manner will not gain you anything. It’s even possible to get disqualified if you throw an opponent in such a manner. However, for the Turner, the more important reason is to really target the hamstrings and erectors. Throw in a strong glute contraction at the end, and you have a very effective targeting of the posterior chain.
  • Rows – Whether they be Yates rows, Pendlay rows, Kroc rows, or even cable rows, rowing is essential for the Turner. Throw in a variety of rows, from multiple angles and grips (overhand, underhand, dumbbell, etc.) to fully stimulate all the angles that the Turner will be pulling from.

Example Exercise Templates for a Turner: 3-Day Template

The general idea for a 3-day template for the Turner is to cut the body into three main areas (push upper body, pull upper body, and legs) and focus on one area each day heavy, another area as speed, and the final area as hypertrophy. If an athlete is already at their desired size, or does not wish hypertrophy, than the third area is rested.

Note that the pulling/back exercises are more level in average intensity than the others. I do this because of the complexity of the back, which has so many different muscles and planes of movement that dividing up the back can be useful. Also, grip work is not shown, because it can be done at almost any time on any day as mentioned in part one of the series.

Day 1: Pull Focus/Push Speed/Leg Hypertrophy

Day 2: Leg Focus/Push Hypertrophy/Pull Speed

Day 3: Push Focus/Leg Speed/Pull Hypertrophy

Turn to page 2

Please follow and like us: