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An interview with Giuseppe Cimadoro

Today’s interview is with Dr Giuseppe Cimadoro. Giuseppe has a PhD in Exercise Sport Activities studying in Milan (Italy), Dijon (France) and Loughborough (UK). He has a strong interest in combat sports and has worked with numerous athletes across a range of different sports.

View Giuseppe's staff profile

Can you give us an overview of your role at St Marys within the S&C programme?

I am currently a Lecturer at St Mary’s. My teaching contributions mainly relate to S&C subjects; I also have a strong interest on neuromuscular aspects of performance training.

What is your history with S&C?

In the past I have been involved in different sports, my first role as a coach was within the athletics world, training junior sprinters. My first years of coaching were inspired by coach and Prof Carlo Vittori. He developed and diffused an interesting training methodology for sprinters, and coached Pietro Mennea (who set the 200m world record before Michal Johnson) for a long time.

For six years, in Milan, I trained Junior sprinters at National and International level working for Camelot and Riccardi athletics clubs. Subsequently, I took part to several projects in Tennis (in Italy and UK) with both amateur and professional Junior players, where I learnt to adapt my previous knowledge to a very different sport context.

For a short period of time I was the S&C of a professional Volleyball team in Lyon (France), an important experience where the balance between performance training and injury prevention was a crucial factor. This was my only experience with a team sport, though one of the most exciting overall.

However, because my background as an athlete is Thai-boxing, my coaching expertise is mainly related to striking combat sports. I practiced for over 20 years this discipline, and I coached fighters at all levels from beginners to professionals, in Italy, France and UK.

Nevertheless, my overall coaching philosophy was and is still strongly influenced by Prof Gilles Cometti, who had a great impact in the S&C world (particularly in football) mainly in France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.

Can you talk us through your main research interests?

My PhD was in computer simulations. I developed a forward dynamic torque-driven 2D model of vertical jumping, using the software Working Model 2D©. The model was developed based on biomechanical and neuromuscular physiology aspects of vertical jumping.

Because of my passion for combat sports, I am currently focused on mechanical and neuromuscular aspects of Muay Thai kick striking. I would like to provide objective data to striking combat sports coaches. I believe that S&C specifically for these sports have large room for development, so that it keeps me busy with coaching based research.

In contrast, I am fascinated about the neural control of muscles, and I planned to contribute to the explanation of hamstring injury mechanisms.

Discuss how an S&C coach can apply your research to their practice and where you see the potential benefits to the community?

In relation to the research that I am performing in combat sports, I believe that there is the need to better understand the characteristics of these disciplines. Particularly, the characteristics of striking actions. Traditionally, we can say that S&C does not exist in martial arts and combat sports; in fact there is great resistance from coaches who love adopting training methodologies based on anecdotes rather than evidence.

Because winning fights is mainly a matter of decision-making skills (see Maywethaer vs. McGregor, assuming you believe it was a true match), I see the S&C as the part of the training that will help giving value to decision-skills abilities, for example enhancing striking impact force, or even better making all techniques more efficient. This implies the development of specific training methodologies; the problem is that to date, the needs analysis can only be inferred because there is not enough direct evidence. Researching in this area perhaps will help filling this practical gap, and contribute to improve the quality of physical preparation in striking combat sports.

Do you have any advice for those entering S&C?

I will be very very brief here: immeasurable passion.

How can we find out more about your current research and / or applied practice?

You can follow my research online: 

View Giuseppe's staff profile