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Colin McLafferty 04-17-2012 07:58 AM

Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
I just got approached by my trainer to lead an MMA conditioning class one day a week. The class starts this Friday.

Take a look at what I'm planning and let me know you think. Thanks.

Warm up will include standard ROM stuff but also exercises like knuckle push ups and shadow boxing in order to increase wrist stability and prime reflexes for the session.

Skill session will teach a skill relevant to the impending workout e.g. cleans, burpees, KB swing, etc.

Option 1, with sandbags

3 rounds

•400 meter sandbag carry (any style of carrying)
•400 meter run without sandbag
•Sandbag Clean and Press x 10

Credit Rosstraining^


Option 2 without sandbags:

Perform cycle at top of every other minute for 20 minutes(credit rosstraining for timing idea)

5 Pike push ups
10 KB swings / sandbag slams
10 burpees
20 jumping jacks or 30 single unders

Brief rest

Tabata Focus Mitts / Heavy bag with 16 oz gloves: jab, cross, hook body, hook head

Move, Strike Takedown-
3x1:30 minute drills. With a moving partner, throw strikes at focus mitts for first 30 seconds. On call of "takedowns" perform as many takedowns as possible in one minute. Throw one to two punches before initiating takedown.

Cool down

My intention here is to create a warm up that will build wrist stability for striking and prime the athletes for striking work. The skill session teaches a new movement and the conditioning workout is meant to create work capacity and the ability to work through fatigue while moving intensely. I follow the conditioning workout with striking and takedown drills to boost confidence in the fighters' ability to throw punches and perform while fatigued.

Equipment at my disposal-
Focus mitts, 16 oz gloves, MMA gloves
Three bags- one heavy, one muay thai, one short
Wrestling mats and cage
Kettlebells up to 50#
1 set of rings, 1 pull up bar
Various dumbbbells

Vickie Ellickson 04-17-2012 08:40 AM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
Don't neglect teh abz....we typically include flutter kicks, leg raisers, side crunches and iron cross into our warm-ups.

Another thing you can mix in there is walking lunges and/or air squats, as it gives them a respite from upper body work and primes the legs (or at least mind) for takedowns (i.e. double-leg).

The tabata mitt work is solid gold.

Wayne Riddle 04-17-2012 06:29 PM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
Something to read if the people are prepping for a fight

It's A Fight, Not A Workout (WFS)

Adam Molnar 04-18-2012 05:33 AM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class

Originally Posted by Wayne Riddle (Post 1053325)
Something to read if the people are prepping for a fight

It's A Fight, Not A Workout (WFS)

True, bloody true. You can do any kind of tabata protocoll, it is completly different when some is in your face, punching/kicking continuously.

Don't get me wrong, weight training, strenght&conditioning is great, but a fighter should spend more time fighting - as the above link says it.

Colin McLafferty 04-18-2012 06:32 AM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
I agree as well. This gym has sparring sessions throughout the week but this is specifically a fight conditioning class. The people at these sessions get 2-3 sparring sessions in on top of this, so this is just for the conditioning. However, I am trying to keep it fight-specific.

I have thought about the physical toll that tolerating pain plays (e.g. taking a body shot) into the conditioning aspect and may incorporate that later. For now, what do you think of what I have above?

Would you add anything, restructure, delete, for conditioning purposes?

Wayne Riddle 04-18-2012 06:51 AM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class

Originally Posted by Colin McLafferty (Post 1053427)
Would you add anything, restructure, delete, for conditioning purposes?

I'm not involved in MMA training so I really can't comment on this. Robb Wolf has talked about this in a couple of his podcasts.

Adam Molnar 04-18-2012 12:02 PM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
I like the so called "partner excercises" for conditioning, like carry a teammate, squat with him, multiple takedowns, light body-slams onto a foamy, soft surface-concentrating on the pick-up movement. Teammate can make it harder by moving, shifting during the drill. It can be separated drill or you can build it into the rounds you wrote above.

I hope my english was good enough to describe what I mean.....

The pain tolerance thing is good, usefull, we usually use body punches, leg kicks after the sparring session, not as part of the conditioning programme.

Will Mckasson 04-18-2012 01:10 PM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
I'm a firm believer in sparring while conditioning. Someone here already said it I think but these guys are training to fight so they have to fight each other to get there reflexes and techniques down. When my guys complain about sparring I'll mix it up a little bit. Here's a couple examples of how you can shark tank someone (round robin) or take your team to a track/stairs/hill to get them running and sparring. Both work tremendously well in getting your athletes in shape!


Colin McLafferty 04-20-2012 10:29 AM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
Adam, yeah I'm thinking of using body tempering either during or after. Probably after. Will, I like the drill you posted. Here's my revised plan. It's much more fight-specific. What do you think?

The class length is an hour. Thanks.

Warm up-10 minutes
Standard ROM stuff but also knuckle push ups (wrist stability) towel pull ups (grip) isometric punch holds at close and mid range. I will briefly explain what I seek to accomplish in the class and why it will benefit the fighters.

15 minutes of
3 person sparring / running drill. Team of three at top of a hill. Two members spar (60%) with 16 oz gloves while one runs around the gym and down and up a hill. Upon ascending the hill, the runner tags one of the spar partners out and immediately begins sparring while the tagged out partner becomes the runner. Run takes approximately 1 minute fresh.

2-3 minute break, get a drink.

3x1:30 move, strike takedown drill for each partner. Strike at partner holding focus mitts for first thirty seconds. On call of "takedowns," perform as many takedowns as possible in 1 minute. 20 seconds rest, repeat. This process will be repeated for each partner.

2 minute break, get a drink

Tabata focus mitts. Jab cross hook uppercut, as many reps of that combinaton as possible for a 4:00 tabata interval. Repeat for each partner. Tabata at the end is designed to increase confidence that the fighters can throw a bunch of punches even when dead tired

Will Mckasson 04-22-2012 06:42 PM

Re: Programming for MMA Conditioning Class
I like that variety in the training Colin! The idea's behind maintaining a certain level of technical expertise, and confidence, while dog tired is a great way to think about it. The beginning of round 3 can be a scary time for a lot of these guys based on lack of cardio alone. Not being pushed to the deep end enough can mentally break alot of fighters. Great stuff!

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