Thanks to his dedication and coaching skills, Aarón Garcia, a student of the Strength Community, made Arturo Salas a World Champion in Grappling, who displayed exceptional levels of physical fitness and strength.
Guest blog by Aarón García
Let me tell you something about Arturo.
First things first, Arturo is the kind of person who wants to understand everything, who has his own opinion, and if something is suggested or done without a logical reason, he will not go for it and will point out that to him it doesn’t make sense, and he will not take heed.
He needs to experience everything on his own, and to all this, I have to add that he has an amazing heart, courage, and spirit.
How did I get to train him?
I met Arturo a few years ago while teaching at a local gym.
He was teaching Jiu-Jitsu there and became interested in my conditioning workouts.
He trained with me for a few months just because he likes to suffer but at that time, I didn’t have the experience or knowledge that I have now of how to train athletes to improve in their relevant sports.
After doing a lot of courses with coaches from all around the world like Charles, Carlos, Wolfgang, and Juan Carlos… a great deal of reading, research, and the most important aspect, experience, I learned how to train someone like him the way he needs, so I gave him a call and asked him to visit me at my gym.
When we met again, we were very happy to see each other after a few years, and I was very excited to tell him what I had learned from Charles and Carlos in classes.
He was very skeptical about what I was telling him, so…I showed him what I could do to improve his game on the mat.
How did I go about it?
I started by pointing out what deficiencies Arturo had and which could put him at risk in a fight, and how those deficiencies could limit his strength gains and power.
He was still not impressed by this information, so… As you may know, mobility is of paramount importance in a Jiu-Jitsu fight, as it could be the difference between getting a broken joint or resisting the attack; this is one of the reasons why fighters most need to be flexible.
I started to apply what I had learned with Charles and Carlos in Estonia, namely instant strength & mobility to improve flexibility and strength almost instantly, and of course, taking photos of before and after.
As you can see in the photos, the results were outstanding:
He could not believe what had happened and was really impressed with the results. The next question was, “When do we start to train?” and, of course, “What does the process involve? What will the process, periodization, nutrition, etc., be like?
During the first phases, our main focus was on the lower body, the VMO, adductors, hip rotators, and lower back.
We worked on different step-ups, split squats, back extensions, and different PNF and Instant Strength & Mobility points to balance his mobility and strength because he had gotten used to fighting mainly on one side and had therefore acquired a significant imbalance between both sides.
For the upper body, we mainly focused on his external rotators and trap 3, which were completely off and got him as strong as possible in as many angles that we could think of that he uses when he fights.
We also did specific work on the shoulders because his vertical presses were too weak in relation to his close-grip bench, and I believed this could be a limiting factor for improvement.
The next few months were focused on getting him as strong as possible with the “main lifts” like back squats, deadlifts, bench presses (in different angles), different kinds of chin-ups and pull-ups, dips, etc.
Even in this phase, we kept some unilateral work to keep him as balanced as possible.
Before the competition
In the last phases before the competition, we started to focus more on explosive strength and speed.
We used power cleans and power snatch, prowlers/sleds, and some bands and chains for the upper body.
We increased his basics lifts:
- Back squat + 40 kg
- Dead Lift + 38 Kg
- Close Grip Bench Press + 30 kg
- Chin Up + 25 kg
We based his nutrition basically in relation to his body fat percentage and his supplement protocol based on his skin folds. Additional supplements were added, mainly focusing on improving his sleep. His relative strength was greatly improved because his muscle mass, strength, and performance increased at the same time as becoming lean.
- + 7Kg of lean mass
- - 11Kg of Fat mass
- Better Performance
- Better Sleep and recovery
- Better hormonal response
Silver Medal World championship BJJ (We lost by points in the final against Claudio Calasans, six times world champion, three times South American champion, two times Pan American Champion)
Gold Medal Grappling World Championship
Several Gold Medals in different OPENS in nationals and continental competitions
I’m very glad to have learned from the best coaches in the industry, as training Arturo was very complex; we had to deal with a lot of small injuries from fighting.
I needed to change exercises quite often and even the whole program sometimes.
In the end, the results were really satisfying as we accomplished our goal of winning a Gold Medal at the World Championships.
I want to Thank Arturo, as he is one of the toughest guys I have ever met, and he really is a hard worker, even though sometimes I needed to convince him that his main need was to train less.
Great job, Champ; you really deserved to become a World Champion.
Who am I?
My name is Aarón García; I’m the owner of “NAGA Strength & Conditioning” in Torrejón de Ardoz – Madrid (Spain).
I train professional athletes in Boxing, BJJ, Muay Thai, American Football, swimming, football (soccer), and Padel with great results.