T Nation

Change My MMA Workout?

i got 40mins 2x a week, for one upper & one lower body strength workout for MMA. i swap workouts per week - heres my current workouts:

Upper 1: Decline Bench 3x 5
Weighted Pullups (wide grip) 3x 5
Dips 3x 8
Single Arm Rows 3x 8 (per side) Military Presses 3x 8
Standing Hammer Curls 3x 8 (per side) Narrow Grip Bench 3x 8

Lower 1: Deadlift 3x 5
Front Squats 3x5
Walking Lunges 3x 16
Pistols (well i did til i read how bad they are) 3x 8
Jump Shrugs 3x 8

Upper 2: Swiss Ball Alt. Chest Press 3x 5 (per arm)
Seated Row 3x 5
Incline Flyes 3x 8
Pullups (Hands facing me) 3x 8
Plate Raises 3x 8
Skull Crushers 3x 8

Lower 2: Back Squats 3x 5
Single Leg Deadlifts 3x5
Step Ups 3x 16
Box Jumps / Explosive BW Squats 3x 8 Power Cleans 3x 8

i also do 2x HIIT Cardio, 1x LSD cardo, 1x Muay-Thai, 2x boxing, 4x BJJ & 1x wrestling session p/wk.

What changes would you make to the above strength program?

What’s wrong with pistols?


I take everything Taku says as gospel.

If you only have time for 2x/week, why not do a fullbody workout?

My strength workouts are generally Tues (Upper) & Thurs (Lower) - And Tues are my hardest / longest skills night, finishing 3hrs of training with an hr of Muay Thai i’d prefer not to go in with fatigued legs…

[quote]sjfou wrote:

I take everything Taku says as gospel.[/quote]

The link just brought me to the homepage of some forum, I didn’t see anything on pistols. Would you mind copying and pasting to this forum what was said about them?? Thanks.

You need to add some “injury prevention” type exercises in there. Do some scapula-retraction type exercies to compensate for all the forward leaning fighters do.

Inverted rows with a 1-2 second pause at the top seem to help. Really contract the scaps at the top of the movement.

Also, I assume you have a foam roller. If not, you need one right away.

Quick Synopsis from the Link-

Don’t have too much time at the moment…got to teach a class.
Pistols are similar to Sissy Squats or perhaps you could think of them as the bodyweight version of a leg extension. Now unlike many I would not say a quad isolating exercise is totally useless but…For the most part we want to work all the leg muscles as a team.

There are countless versions of squats and lunges which can do this without putting the pressure on the joint the pistols provide.

Plus, if you are “functional” type…Pistols are like triceps kickbacks or lateral raises, yes they work the muscle but why do them when you can work these muscles in other ways that are safer more functional and more effective?

I hope that makes sense. I’ll see if I can post my old weightless leg workout from way back.

Taku 2:
Just look at the action of a pistol.
On one hand there is really no such thing as a pure isolation exercise. There is always somebody else involved in one way or another.

But think about what a pistol looks like and feels like. Does it look and feel like a regular squat (regardless of depth)?

My feeling is the action is more like a leg extension then other forms of squats.

But even if we say it is not. It is still not the best choice for a functional movement. How often in life do you perform a movement that looks or feels anything like a pistol?

I walk around every day and watch all kinds of athletes play all kinds of sports and I can not think of any times I have ever seen anyone do a movement that resembles a pistol.

Taku 3:

There are many ways to do a one legged squat but only one way to do a pistol. When I do a squat It does not feel like a pistol.
Ultimately anybody here is of course free to do what ever exercise they wish.

I am merely stating my opinion. I don’t feel pistols provide any benefit that I can not get with another movement that I feel is safer to perform.

I can do pistols…No problem. But I don’t bother.

JC Brown: (owner of Crossfit in Philly)

I agree with many here,there are much better variations to go with such as Bulgarian Split Squats and simple Lunge variations.
Consider this, 80% of our lives are spent on one leg at a time so single leg training has a place for sure. But,I would rather my athletes work on Lunges,Step-Ups and Split Squats rather than Pistols.

Taku has a point although I don’t agree 100%. The Pistol is a quad dominant movement even though there is hip extension involved.