I have a client training for a mixed martial arts competition (CAGE RAGE). He has six months to get in top shape for the fight. He already has a good base of strength. Can you give me a safe training routine including plyometrics, strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness? Also, should he stop doing strength training a few weeks before the fight?
Below is a workout your client can follow in addition to his MMA training. You want to plan BACKWARDS from his fight, so the last two to three weeks are “deload” time from the strength work and he should do more skill work at high speeds.
The high speed skill training is excellent for conditioning as well as reinforcing proper skill under a fatigued state. His amount of sparring should be minimal and two to three weeks out to avoid unwanted injuries as well.
Try the following workout on non consecutive days for one month. We do this to ensure proper intensity/rest:
- Week 1: Introduce workout, submax efforts
- Week 2: Increase intensity
- Week 3: Increase intensity and set records on as many movements as possible
- Week 4: Reduce training volume/intensity by 50 percent to deload, preferably very light weights and calisthenics
Every month, we begin a new three week training cycle. The fourth week is always a deload with a new program of lighter work. This will be a great way to consistently improve strength, power and conditioning. Notice we do not have linear periodization where we focus on strength only, power only, etc. The qualities are mixed together every workout!
- Barbell hang clean and press 4 x 5 reps
- Mixed grip weighted pull ups 4 x 5 - 8 reps
- Walking dumbbell lunges 3 x 8 - 10 each leg
- Two hand dumbbell swings 3 x 10 reps
- 45 degree weighted back extensions 2 x 15-20
- V ups 2 x 20 reps
Complete three rounds x 5 minutes non stop of the circuit; rest 60 seconds after each 5 minute round.
- Squat jumps x 15 reps
- Lunge jumps x 10 reps each
- Mountain climber with both hands on one medicine ball x 15 reps
- Close grip push up w/both hands on one medicine ball x 15 reps
- Recline rows on rings or rope (if necessary, simply use a barbell in a power rack or Smith machine) x 15 reps
- Leg raise while upright on dip bar x 15 reps
Repeat sled work below for 10 minutes non stop; attach sled to harness or belt.
- Forward sled drag x 100 ft.
- Backwards sled drag x 100 ft.
- Sled bear crawl x 100 ft.
- Barbell deadlift 4 x 3 - 5 reps
- Barbell floor press 4 x 3 - 5 reps
- Parallel bar dips 3 x 15 reps per set
- Mixed grip pull ups 3 x max reps
- Knee tucks on stability ball 3 x 15 reps
- Plank 3 x 30 seconds
Follow these guidelines throughout the workout:
- On mixed grip pull ups, use towels and thick ropes for grabbing for extra grip work on some sets.
- Use the foam roller before and after all workouts.
- If the training is too intense, train only two times per week instead of three times. The amount of training that can ellicit an exceptional response will depend on how much MMA training your client does, especially sparring sessions, which can be exhausting on the body!
- Just because a day is pre-planned for deload or intense work, it does not mean you MUST follow the code. Listen to your client and back off on intensify when he expresses the willingness to do so or NOT to do so!