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Combat Fitness

I recently purchased a book called Combat Conditioning by Matt Furey. It lists a variety of bodyweight exercises to condition the body mainly for people participating in combat sports (wrestling, ju jitsu, etc.). The book is great! I’m going to incorporate this stuff into my weekly routine.

I’ve realized that lifting weights has done a good job of putting on some muscle, making me look and feel better. And yes, it has increased my strength. But when I participate in other activities (flag football, mountain biking, in-line skating, etc.), I have no endurance and horrible conditioning. And my friends make fun of me because they know I work out, but it doesn’t seem to help much with other activities.

I like the idea of using these bodyweight exercises in combination with sprinting, jump roping or other related activities to increase my overall conditioning. I highly recommend the book. Anyone else had similar thoughts? Is there anyone else who uses these types of exercises in their routine?

Matt Furey is a real T-dude. I’ve written about him some and exchanged a couple of e-mails with him.

What you’re referring to is called in some circles “general physical preparedness” or GPP. Read Dave Tate’s current article at T-mag for details. It’s a very interesting concept and one that most of us, as bodybuilders who lift mainly for looks, neglect. I’ve started adding in some GPP work myself.

To get some great routines, where you incorporate weights and combat conditioning, check out Dinosaur Files put out by Brooks Kubik. Its a monthly newsletter, and in the last one he has a routine that incorporates matt furey exercises into a weight routine. it is awesome.

I would check out the book written by Charles Staley. He was a competitive fighter for years and he has trained some of the best. I cannot mention names, but these fighters rely on him for training and call him the “Secret Weapon”

Nate Dogg, I feel the same way right now. I’m finally pretty big and strong in the weight room, but my athletic performance has taken a nose dive. My speed and agility sucks. My friends have been giving me shit too during other sports activities because I’m the guy who trains all the time and it doesn’t transfer to the field. Nate, I’ll look into Matt Furey’s stuff. Any other recommendations?

I checked out Matts website awhile ago and have been doing the single legged squats and bridges and they are sweet exercises although i did the bridge with a slight back injury and it put me on the dl for a couple of weeks.Oh, and that single legged squat really improves tour balance

Chris Shugart, it’s funny that I read the GPP article by Tate and also found out about Matt’s book about the same time. I liked Tate’s article, but wanted to see more stuff rather than sled pulling. Matt’s book fills in all the gaps.

Joe, thanks for the info! I’ll check out the Dinosaur Files article. That sounds great because I don’t want to give up my weight training, but would like to incorporate both techniques.

Scott, I have Staley’s strength training book for martial arts, but it doesn’t address bodyweight exercises. But it is a great book about the use of weight training for martial arts. I have to say that I don’t participate in any combat sports, but I wanted this book since it would help with overall conditioning. A friend of mine is going to teach me how to wrestle soon, so it will be good to be in condition.

Jake, I actually found out about Matt’s book after reading an article in a magazine called Combat Fitness. I’ve always admired the guys who participate in no-holds barred fighting for their superior conditioning. And I’ve always wondered how they got into such good shape. Well, I was at the bookstore over the weekend and saw this magazine. So I checked it out. It had an article by Matt about various pushups you can do. Some of them are brutal. So I looked for his site and ordered the book! I don’t know about any other recommendations other than his book and the magazine. Although, some of the things they recommend in the magazine are outdated, and I wouldn’t recommend following them.

I started incorporating the “Royal Court” of exercises (Hindu Squats, Hindu Pushups, Back Bridge) into my daily routine. Matt recommends doing them every day for about a month before adding his supplementary exercises (various pushups, squats, handstands, bridges, ab exercises, etc).

If you want to be in better condition and be functional as well as look good, I recommend this book. Hopefully, this will help me perform much better in other activities. And if someone participates in combat sports, then you will need this type of conditioning.

Interesting thread. I weight train 3 times a week and do 2 days of sprint or interval cycling or running. I also do one endurance run or bike ride a week.

I find when I play flag football with my buddies, I can whip their butts in both speed and endurance. Also, when I play basket ball (BTW I suck at basketball) I can make up for my lack of size and ability with my strength under the backboard.

It is interesting that we all spend time in the gym to build muscle and look good but in the real world it does not always pay off. Sometimes, you got to sacrifice a little muscle (ie endurance training) in order to be a man in the world.


Tfackler, I agree! I’ve also started doing sprints once a week, as well as some other “aerobic” exercises (biking, mountain biking, jump roping). I feel that it helps a lot, and I’m getting leaner, which is one of my goals for summer. It’s a win-win situation.

After all the talk about how aerobics were bad, I pretty much stopped doing anything except weight training. My physique and conditioning has suffered. But I’ll change all that in the next few months!

Good Luck!!! I’m relatively new at this whole fitness thing (2 and a half years in the weight room) so I love kicking my buddies asses from college and high school. They are all out of shape and getting fatter.

The other thing though is that they joke with me b/c I don;t seem to play any different no matter the soprt. Basketball, football, ultimate frisbee they are all contact spots in my book.

I do like(bad word) incorporating Matt’s exercises into my routine but I really get upset when I read some of his commentary. Some of the things that he has written like “you must train the way animals train in the wild” really irritate me because its comparing 2 completely different things. Despite this, I believe his exrcises are extremely useful adjuncts to any kind of training.

Hey Nate, I have been using single-leg squats with body weight effectively while recovering from a lumbar disc hernia. I hook one foot behind me on a bench, sofa, chair seat, etc, stand on the other foot, and hold onto another object for balance while I perform reps on one leg at a time.
The farther you place the working foot away from the rear foot, the more you involve the hams and glutes. Sets of 20 with slow tempos, alternating legs (20 one one leg, then switch) with no rest will definitely get you huffing!
I would be very interested in a description of the more challenging pushups you found in the books.
Pullups with body weight on a bar in the garage are still plenty challenging for me, but regular pushups are too easy. Thanks - Nylo

hey nate dogg, what are the hindu training exercises you are talking about. I have never heard of them. Mind explaning in detail, i am interested?? Thanks.

jdroks…check out Matt’s website mattfurey as it explains several of the exercises that my dawg Nate Doggie Dogg is talking about. Wassup, Nate!!

Matt’s book is great and I have been using the combat conditioning exercises for close to a year. When I first started using them, I quit weight training for about three months and just used the bodweight exercises. Once I got my hindu pushups up to 500+ in a row, 1000 squats, and holding a backbridge for 10 minutes, I started doing some of the other exercises such as reverse pushups, jumper squats, and handstand pushups. The handstand pushups were hard as hell at first. However, no I can do 25 in one set and 7 off of two chairs to increase the range of motion. My endurance is a lot better and the exercises are empowering and really boosted my mental attitude. Currently, I combine the exercises with weight training and that has worked really well for me. Also, I used MD6 and the warrior diet with the exercises and got more ripped then I ever have! Really a great combination. I recently purchased the “Power wheel” at Matt’s site and it is a great exercises for working the abs, legs, and for making pushups much more difficult. Really good tool for stabilizer muscles and improving overall balance. I highly recommend Matt’s products.

Nylo, some of the other pushups can be found in the most recent issue of Combat Fitness (on newstands now). But a few of them include the Hindu Pushup, it’s hard to describe. You have to see an example. Some of the other pushups include a Reverse Pushup, where you lay on your back and get in position to do a wrestler’s bridge, but you just raise yourself off the ground as high as possible, keeping your feet flat. Then there is the Elbows close to the sides pushup, Hands wide pushup, One hand on top of the other pushup, Hands reversed pushup, between chairs pushup (chair on each side and one in back for your feet), Hands extended pushup (hands way in front of the body), Fingertip pushups, and the Handstand off the wall. I’ve only just begun using a few of these. And they aren’t easy!

Jdroks, the hindu squat is similar to a bodyweight squat except that you start with your hands at your sides making a fist, then you squat down keeping your back straight, as you bend down, you go up on your toes (Yes, your knees will go forward over your feet). Then you go off your toes and return to the start position. As you go down, your hands should extend behind you when you squat down. As you come up off your toes, your hands should go in front of you, then return to the start position. Again, you may need to see it to do it, just like the pushups. And the wrestler's bridge is the typical bridge, but you want to try to rest on your forehead and bring your nose to the floor. You'll be up on your toes, and your hands will be on the ground.

Timbo, what's up buddy? It's good to hear from you again. I heard you had a good time at the expo. I'm jealous!!!!! I wish I had gone! I'll just have to go next time. And then we can chill.

Mike, you are the man! I can't believe you can do that many pushups, squats, and bridge!!! That is awesome. You said it made a huge difference for you. How so? Increased strength? Flexibility? Awesome conditioning? I'd like to know more.

hey nate thanks for the info. i decided to check out mattfurey’s website. I saw the picture and all but boy am i confused. I mean sure I could learn to do it(after trying it like a thousand times), but is it worth all the time, i mean why not just do regular squats with weights on your back u know? Wouldn’t it be better? I think to increase endurance you’d just need to increase cardio and intense running (sprints, etc…) Hell why not just go and get a good game of football or basketball or something. In my case my endurance is really low because I have cut cardio out of my diet to gain weight. I dont like the fact that I’m probably really low in endurance but my top priority is gaining weight. Anyways to end this message, didnt one of the articles or posts in T-mag talk about how in order to do a good work out on bodyweight squats you would need to do about 500 or more and u could get the same workout doing about 5 sets of intense squats. Am i right? Anyways i think this is pretty interesting. let me know nate or anyone else who seems to relate.

Nate Doggie Dogg…way to spark up some interest, buddy! Yeah, the expo was definitely an awesome experience…the trip was somewhat spontaneous, so I drove there and back the same day (about 8 hours) seeing that I didn’t make any hotel plans. It was worth it though. I mainly went to meet with the T-mag guys. That was worth it in and of itself. I also picked up some freebies…looks like I should have stuck around till Sunday and got some deals. Next year, I would plan on staying Sat and Sunday or all three days. Yeah, and, my Dogg, we will definitely chill (maybe before that…I’m really wanting to hit the LV seminar). Anyway, I better go do some crazy ass pushups. Actually I’ve been working on the handstand pushups…but the handstand is about as far as I am right now.

i have to agree w/ this thread…i started doing body weight squats (explosive)and my squats at the gym have gone up considerably…but more importantly i feel more stable when squatting…i think its because the movement is much more a part of the nervous system now.

JDROKS, yes you could do weighted squats for higher reps for a similar type of workout. The reason Matt recommends bodyweight exercises (especially squats) is because he recommends doing some sort of conditioning exercises every day. And if you plan on doing squats everyday, you are not going to be doing it with weights for very long until you are burned out. Another reason is because this type of training conditions you for combat situations. Not only will it strengthen your legs, but it increases flexibility and endurance. The Hindu Squats will also strengthen muscles and tendons that don’t seem to get worked when using weights. And he said that all the people that have used his conditioning exercises have noticed less pain, especially knee and back pain. I know he has other reasons, but I can’t remember them off the top of my head.

I think his exercises are very valuable. And he also mentions that just running or doing cardio exercises don’t condition you as well. He recommends doing “road work” where you run for a certain distance and then stop to do pushups, squats or a number of his other exercises. He also recommends jumping rope alone, before a workout, or in combination with the exercises. And believe me, after doing some of this stuff, you will be left gasping for air.
And I personally would rather do this type of stuff rather than sit on a stationary bike or treadmill. It’s very similar to the short topic about the Lion’s Den in a recent issue of T-mag. You might want to check that out too.

I guess it really depends on what you want to accomplish. I want better overall conditioning because my weight training hasn’t helped much with other activities. To me, this is the ideal way to do that. It provides variety throughout the workout and works all areas of the body. This is the type of stuff that many Olympic athletes and old-time wrestlers have used to become strong. It’s worth a shot.

Timbo my man! Bro, sounds like you had a good time even if you were only there for a day. Yeah, we need to hook up one of these days at one of these seminars. Although, I doubt I'll make the Vegas seminar due to the time of year. Since I work for United Way, we hold our annual campaign during the fall. And we have an unwritten policy not to take vacation during that time of the year! So I'll have to wait for another one. But we'll definitely have to get together one of these days to chat about training and everything else!