T Nation

Conjugate MMA

There’s been a lot of questions regarding training for MMA especially how to integrate lifting and what not. I have a LOT of ideas bouncing around in my head and this forum has basically been an outlet for it.

So I’m going to present a snapshot of what I was doing for some time along with conversation that I traded with another forum member, CHENZEN, (its ok Mod’s I asked his permission first :slight_smile: ) that happened to be one of my most concise explanations of what I was doing at the time. And Chen raised important issues…anyway


There are a LOT of variables that go into and keep in mind I’m primarily a standup fighter too, my strength levels are way different than most, my weaknesses are going to be vastly different than yours and despite my young age, my ‘training age’ is probably greater than most…and I have a ridiculous work capacity so don’t do what i do…

There are also things I do intuitively (like managing lifting volume and technique training volume) that I don’t necessarily outline but are critical to staying in front of the over-training curve. Which if you’re a combat athlete is easy to do… most have a balls to the wall mentality which can get us into trouble and we get eager to run ourselves into the ground.

Sometimes less is more.

The lifting goals are MY goals, create your own for what you feel improves YOUR mma game. This requires being more like an intermediate lifter so you know what your body responds to.

Some people might like overhead lifts, some might not. Some might have injuries that inhibit you from performing certain lifts. Some guys might need to just stick with a simple 5x5 bench, squat, row type program.

I’ll try to help out everyone I just want to get the ideas out there so we’re thinking about shit other than body part splits and or bosu ball deadlifts and crap.

I was going to try and make a free e-book but honestly thats more work than I care to put in. Plus this way if any one has any questions they can just ask me. Please feel free to ask cause otherwise there is a lot of shit I do intuitively that I don’t realize I need to actually explain.

I’m working on a training program for MMA/Thaiboxing…kind of a mismash of shit i’ve learned from various coaches, articles, personal experience, etc… i have everything worked out in my head but right now I just have the program for myself I think i’m going to write it all out though.

I was thinking about submitting it to T-Nation, but I’m torn between that and just making it a free e-book.

anyway here’s the rough notes of it figured you’d like a peek.

Bodyweight Limit: 180lbs

Overall Strength Goals:
Power Clean and Press 315#
Deadlift 600#… break powerlifting top 100 for BW
20 Overhead squats with Bodyweight

Back Squat (a2g) at least 2.5xBW (425) 10reps
Front Squat at least 2x BW(340) x10reps
Power Snatch Max at least 1.5xBW
Overhead squat Max at least 1.5xbw (255@ 170#)

Phase I, Improve power clean. Phase II, Improve Back Squat. Phase III, Improve DL. Phase IV, Front Squat

Phase I:

3 day rotation- Tu, Th, Sa
Warmup- Dynamic movements, OHS 1-3x20

-ME (4-6 singles over 90%)

Snatch Pull from floor, Powerclean From Blocks, Snatch pull from blocks (Thigh level)

  • Accessory, 1, (4rm x 2-3+ 1 widowmaker set)

RDL, GM, Back Squat, Front Squat

  • Integrated Assistance Work

Javorek Complex x5
10x1 min Rounds, Power-Endurance

-ME (4-6 singles over 90%) + 1 widowmaker set

Seated OH press, Push press, Incline barbell press
-Accessory, 1, (HEAVY 3-5rm x 3-5 + 1 widowmaker set)
Weighted Chin, Bent Row, 1 arm row

  • Integrated Assistance Work

Arm Strong + 2min rounds x 3-5


Jump Squat, Power snatch from blocks 80-85%

  • Accessory 1, (6rm x 2-3 + 1 widomaker set)

Snatch Pull, RDL, OHS

  • Accessory 2, (6rm x 2-3 + 1 Widowmaker set)

GM, Front Squat, Back squat

  • Integrated Assistance Work

Magic 50 + 2min rounds x 5

Out of season, change friday to DE: Upper day


Speed chins, ballistic bench

  • Accessory, 1, EDT


  • Accessory, 2, Timed sets/high reps

OH Presses, db bench

  • C2 Rower

2 min sprints above target HR (175), 4-5.

–Morning Conditioning–
3 day rotation- M, W, F


  • 20min shadowboxing
  • 2 Conditioning Drills


  • 20min shadowboxing
  • 2 Conditioning Drills


  • Track Work


6 rounds, 3min each (Heavy, Wrecking, Wall bag), last 30s. punch out drill, 1min rest
3 rounds, 2min each (keep away), 30 s rest

-Magic 50-
Perform 5 circuits of the following:
5 Dumbbell Snatches Per Arm
5 Dumbbell Swings Per Arm
10 Burpees
Rest 60 seconds and repeat

You should know right away who i took this one from.


  • 4 rounds, 30s each period, 3min rounds, 30s rest

left double kick (high low)
right double kick (high low)
Jab-MatatOOM-lowkick (right)
jab-right-switch lowkick (left)
body punches, knee, kick, teep
Leaning Knees (wrecking ball)

-Power Boxing-
10 x 1-minute, all out with specific combo for 1 min, with 30s-60s rest

  • Staying Power -
    4 x 1-minute power boxing 1min-30s rest
    5 x 30-second punch out drills 1min-30s rest

-Fighting Burpee-
Burpees, 30s
Shadowbox, 30s
continue for 2-3min
1 min rest
repeat for desired # of rounds

-Work Capacity-
explosive chin-ups x 5
Medicine Ball Slams x 10
Burpees x 15
Weighted High Steppers x 20 …use suitable substitute

-Sequential Fatigue-
10 burpees (sprint down and back)
10 plyopushups (sprint down and back)
15 diamond pushups (sprint down and back)
10 tuck jumps (sprint down and back)
Jog down and back to start

-100m Challenge-
6 laps. Run straights jog curves

-Hill Sprints-
10 uphill

10x 400m, 1min rest

-Arm Strong-
1 arm snatch x5
1 arm jerk x 5
1 arm row x 5
repeat with opposite arm
1min rest.

Barbell Upright Row x 3-8
Barbell High Pull Snatch x 3-8
Barbell Front Squat Push Press x 3-8
Barbell Behind the Head Good Morning x 3-8
Barbell Bent Over Row x 3-8

Yikes you’re the freakin energizer bunny…lol good stuff

Couple thought’s

  1. Glad to see your emphasis on the posterior chain and not benching thank god

  2. If you personalize the article as YOUR plan/experiment in fight conditioning it will do great…but can you hear the newbies " what if i don’t know how to do a snatch pull and i only have plastic weights and i don’t really like training legs so can i just do ME/DE curls and bench and would it still be effective if i only train once a week…"

Maybe clean the template up ( although i know it’s a rough draft ) and provide progressions based on your experience coming up as a fighter to the level you’re at now

3)How far along are you to reaching your strength Goals?

4)I actually do a similar workout but way simpler ( no disrespect) based on the conjugate method but done full body 2-3 times a week 1 explosive lower or upper body 1 me exercise either lower or upper 1 weighted calesthenic exercise in the 5-10 rep range(pistol,handstand push,chin variant,dips etc) 1 remedial circuit done to hit any small body parts missed (band circuit for arms,scapular drills,x band walks,pull throughs etc) followed by some sort of finisher ( Bas’s thai boxing or boxing done for 3 to 5 rounds,ross’s minute drills ,etc) on the other days i do my skills training and more Ross or Bas stuff or javorek complexes,mobility work etc…

But i’m not a competitive fighter and have “issues” left over from football,wrestling,weider training in the early 90’s and Bad TMA training back in the day.lol

  1. restoration would be paramount and from a guy with bad hips and shoulders let me just say you’re hitting ALOT of volume during the course of the week plus your sparring so your joints will take a beating ( A price any competitive fighter has to pay ) paying attention to CNS fatigue would be a issue

  2. Your fighting at 155 right…do you cut alot of weight or do you train down and cut the last 5-10 the last week?

7)I like that you are paying attention to your total set rep volume per workout…people forget that fighting is relative strength mixed with strength edurance so you can’t go to crazy with your sets…

  1. Silly question but …do you think attaining your strength goals might interfere with your skill training? simply cause as i’m sure you’ve found out the hard way as have i the body only does 1-2 things really well at any given time ( when i chased my totals in the big three i got strong as shit but when went to back to my fight training my rate force development was great but i gassed in 93 seconds…i’m serious it was BAD)

  2. all in all great freaking work…trim the rough edges…streamline a bit and i think it’s a great piece of work ( I like all the different influences…i’m the same way

I don’t know you but you obviously LOVE this game and all the training involved…now we gotta get you to rest lol

Yes in the article I’d make it known that this is primarily an example of what I AM doing right now and what I’m working through. But I would provide a template as well as the obvious snap shot of what I’m doing right now.

My plan is to note that just like in other combat sports, everyone has unique styles and that your training program has to be modified to fit that persons style of combat.

As well as the fact that every athlete is different and will have different concerns.

For example…

I have above average handspeed so i’m not all that concerned with a dynamic day. Though, hitting the heavy bag is inherently plyometric so I am still working that attribute. Also striking power is primarily from the legs so I have an emphasis on that.

I like certain lifts that I feel will fit my athletic goals (power clean & press, overhead squat for 20) because i feel that they’re well rounded goals.

Overhead squat bw for 20

strength-endurance in total musculature

Power clean & press

full body explosive strength

the sub goals (front squat, etc) are basically what I feel I will need to accomplish to OH Squat 20reps with my bodyweight.

Power clean & press currently I’m doing 275x2 clean and 225x3 push press at a bw of 168 (bw as of today)… snatch pulls REALLY are what shot up my power clean. If i can snatch pull it high and fast, I can power clean it for 2-3.

Overhead squat, I’m not very close to approaching. I can do 3 with my bodyweight but my olympic squat is pretty fucking weak. I think its a flexibility issue or something’s not firing right. I have a buddy who O-lifts but he lives in the san francisco bay area (8hr drive from me)

I’m visiting him this weekend or next weekend (not sure yet) and he said we’ll figure it out when I’m up there. When I get that straightened out I think I’ll be a LOT closer to that goal.

And yea no benching haha, thing is i figured its cost benefit. Overhead pressing increases my bench because I dont activate my pecs very much when I bench, mostly shoulders and triceps… so why spend time between benching and overhead pressing when i can just focus on one and increase the attributes of both. Plus everyone really likes to say “well bench pressing is in the same plane as punching so its more sport specific”


The punch is such a complicated movement it makes the power clean look like a wrist curl. the kinetic linking involved includes so much its fucking pop-locking in fast forward.

If you bench like you punch you’d either hurt yourself or not be benching period.

what you need to do (imo of course) is increase the attributes that effect your punch through ME/DE/RE (dumbed down is basically strength, explosiveness, and hypertrophy)
and where you apply this new strength is in hitting the bag and actually training the technique. which is why i feel its so important to include this in the accessory work.

I can flat bench 125lb dumbbells for a triple, but I never felt that carry over to my punching. I front squat more, and bam my striking (period, kicks, knees, elbows, everything) goes up. so i started to focus more on whats important and what i see WORK rather than just heresay a lot of strength coaches toss around.

Anyway a good analogy for it is that if you’re an olifter you HAVE to train your lifts for the technical proficiency but where you gain the strength for them are the front squats and clean pulls, etc. Same here, break down what attributes you need to improve upon but STILL train your technical movement (and in an ME format that would be a 30s-1min around, or just count 10x10… 10 punches, rest, etc.)

In my program I want to do my best to detail that EVERY fighter is going to be unique and should choose their own “indicator lifts” based on their style, previous injuries, ability to complete the lift, etc

Most guys probably can’t Oly squat without pain so box squat is fine… and Sumo dl might not be best for some guys because of the heavy work the hip will be putting in, but then again might be better for some BJJ guys to give them better explosiveness.

Also I only have 2 dedicated sessions to stretching (though i always do a dynamic stretching warmup) but thats because I’m pretty flexible already so i dont need it, someone else might though… not just for flexibility but for recovery as well.

Again I’d like to emphasize to people that this isn’t a “n00b” program… you really have to be an experienced lifter and intuitively know what works for you.

That’s pretty much conjugate lifting period.

I like your training idea with the total body lifts I had that idea for a 2 day lifting schedule. i used that previously actually and if i feel my cardio needs more work i still go back to that… I like it for maintaining strength though gains are not uncommon, especially with the EDT work.

ME: Upper
DE: Lower
(or vice versa depending how I feel)

15 min EDT pair assistance work for both (Squats and presses)
superset upper and lower assistance again.

ME: Lower
DE: Upper
(again, or vice versa…)

15min edt pair

As far as the volume in my program thats what I feel makes it unique.

I’ve read a LOT of mma training manuals but none of them have ever in my opinion addressed HOW you’re supposed to get used to the workload of lifting, conditioning, AND technique/sparring/etc training.

So I’d dedicate a whole section to that progressive overload basically what I used for myself.

I’ll give you the gist of it.

I did gymnastics, ran track, tried out for my college football team (made it but basically was just going to be a practice dummy and decided against it), wrestled on a club team for a while too…

When I sat down and realized that no matter what, even if I was homeless and lived under the freeway or was rich beyond my wildest dreams, I’d still probably train to fight… and want to be a fighter.

Sooooooooooo I stopped everything else, no lifting at all really. I did a shitload of cardio and started training Muay Thai… I did that till I adjusted to the workload of muay thai training.

Then i decided what time i’d like to do my conditioning

i started with light calisthenics and jogging, moved onto dragging sled less jogging, moved on to all three, then additional bagwork and sprints, then some mixed it up.

Now I was training two times a day built up over a roughly 10 week period.

Basically continued that progression till i was able to train multiple times a day and 5-6days a week. I always approached it SLOWLY and go through phases where I lift 4 days a week, 3 days a week, 2 or I might not lift at all. But the only thing I NEVER miss out on is actual fight training.

I might skip conditioning or lifting but never actual fight training (which is pretty conditioning oriented itself so i’ve never seen a drop-off in my conditioning because I push myself…so its either maintained or improves…which is pretty fucking cool)

The important thing about is to identify what attributes you need to train, how you’ll go about doing that, and remembering that you’re a FIGHTER not a weight lifter so all your work (especially acccessory work) should be done with an emphasis on making you fight better.

Which is why I like heavy bagwork intermingled with the accessory work. 1 min is a short time to hit the heavy bag, but 10x1min rounds is really like doing plyometrics plus you train yourself to have the ability to go balls out for one minute. which is NOT a bad thing if you ever need to save a round. You can’t do something if you’ve never done it before training.

Other attributes, power endurance, etc can be trained with weights etc. But the only way to make them REALLY sport specific is to actually just hit the bag and such but manage the time frame in a way that it works the facets you wish to improve upon (in my opinion).

I can do 3x20 rep squats to improve my kicking endurance, or I can just spend a few rounds doing double kicks. the movements are far, far too technical to be pissing around.
While the squat thing has merit, its rarely super necessary. Your movement efficiency and motor unit control will ONLY improve by actualliy performing these highly complex techniques.

Not to pick on him, but Martin Rooney in his fight training dvd has a guy doing zercher squat lunges to improve his shot.

While this is cool as balls and something i’d probably reccomend at some point… its not something to make your bread and butter on.

If you want to improve your shot… work your shot… thats the ONLY way to truly replicate the mechanics.

Then take apart the movement and find what you think is wrong.

Does it hurt your knee to bend into that position? is your drop step not fast enough? do you feel weak when you go to lift your opponent?

solution: you probably need to hypertrophy your VMO or some other habilitation work, rebound jumps off of a box will increase the speed in your drop step, and front squats will improve your overall strength.

see what i mean? I think thats a better solution than coming up with some crazy gimmic exercise that you can’t really load. I mean people have a hard time loading zercher squats much less a zercher lunge. thats in the same area as 1 arm rows on a swiss ball to me.
Its cool… it works for a while… but if i dont have time to bullshit around I’d rather do something else.

Restoration… not much to do other than manage your volume, build up slowly and see how much you can do as an individual which damn near always will be different. My job has me sitting on my ass most of the day so I can afford to train 6 days out of the week because im not doing much else.

I also usually get a decent nights sleep so thats another big benefit. If you have a wife and kids or something important like that obviously you have to divide up your time because unfortunately unless you’re a pro and getting paid to fight this is just a hobby so other things come first.

Hell even most pro’s dont get paid enough. So other than managing volume and diet/nutrition (which i’d get into as well) there isn’t a whole lot that you can do imo. But if you slowly build up your work capacity i bet most people would be surprised what they can do. Its kinda funny to me how many people try to do EVERYTHING without some sort of progression.

Anyway I’d include sandbags, and kettlebells, and other strongman type shit in the complexes and what not but I dont have access to that stuff and since this is my personal training thing its based around what I actually have access to, and I only have a keg, sledgehammer and stuff at home.

But hope that helps you get an idea of what i’m going for

Well sorry if i spoke too soon…you’ve filled in alot of gaps in this message.I like your philosophy man…similar to mine…I find most MMA/Combat training material is sinking to the depth’s that the “functional” crowd did in the last decade…trying to mimic every sports movements and environments and then place them under a load…sounds very good science but …

Not everybody has the same weak links in the kinetic chain…so in a attempt to sound good these theories end up screwing up what people seem to forget the purpose of conditioning for sport IS…to strengthen and condition whatever areas NEED work in order to better compete or participate in their given sport.

A powerlifters job is to squat,bench and dead…your job as a fighter is the execute whatever techniques express your style of fighting…a sprinter sprints…a baseball player swings a bat you get the picture.Your fight training and sparring are the most important aspect of your game,skills pay the bills, your conditioning program serves the purpose bulletproof those areas of your body that require work in the most direct manner possible for that given areas weakness.

I hear you on the example you gave about benching and martin rooney loading up his fighters shots with a zercher lunges to improve the technique…it just messes with that motor skill…the fighter would be better served by drilling his shots and and seeing where’s he’s weak…is he slow?..does he lack leg drive…and attack that area directly.

Newbies can improve just by getting stronger all over with a general program but if you really want to take your training to the next level you have to learn to identify what areas your weak in…my own example…despite the fact at the time i could bench 455 at 215…my punches were a little slow and lacked power at my size…now should i spend more time benching cause punching happens in a similar pattern…no …due to the fact that punching power has been proven to be derived from the ground through the posterior chain and kinetic linkage and blah blah…

I only improved when i built up my explosiveness through my backside via speed pulls because although i could deadlift 3+ times my bodyweight…i was strong but slow…so DE work and jumping drills took my striking to a whole other level along with sparring and drilling my ASS off…

But the next guy might have another weak link in his chain …anyway i could go on and on but i totally agree with your approach and support it .Put it all together man and get it out there…i’d read that article or buy that manual…

teh end

Special thanks to the guys I bounced this off of, Dante (“DoggCrapp”) who inspired me to put this up for free instead of trying to market it or something :-p, Dave Tate, Ross Enamit, “Wiggy”, “Scrapper”, and “Taku”… all of whom I’ve blatantly stolen ideas from :0) and of course T-Nation who gives us cool free shit like I dunno…this website, domestic shipping, our own forum… thanks

Oh by the way its fucking long.

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
oh by the way its fucking long.[/quote]


Is this your thesis or something? Damn Xen. You better sum this up for me in one sentence.

Train your technique 80% of the time, lift progressively heavier shit 20% of the time.


Oh and it was chenzen’s the guy im talking with in the conversation.

Very Nice,

I realized its similiar to some of the stuff I have been finding works for me…similar lifts far different volume. I probably need much more warm up- mobility, ice recovery than you… :slight_smile:

thank you very much for your time. i am going to eat, and come back to “talk”.

unfourtunely i only can get to around 3 sports practices, bur i can manage 3-6 strength trainings, so i have tried almost EVERY program on the internet, variables and all kind of BS.
I really wanna to know what “kind” of nutrition do you try to follow. i have always gone high carb, but lately, high protein medium carb-low fat is giving me “good” results.

Now i am using some kind of WestSide template.
One ME or DE lower or upper + 6x3 + 4-5x8 x 2-4x24 in the others movements, i only do squat, deaflift, lunges, pistol, jump squat // rows weithed push-ups, pull-chins , push-press and push-down and forearms grip work. My main movements are ALWAYS squat or deaglift, rows or pulls. I keep rotatin the exercises and variations with the set/rep scheme.

[quote]kmcnyc wrote:
Very Nice,

I realized its similiar to some of the stuff I have been finding works for me…similar lifts far different volume. I probably need much more warm up- mobility, ice recovery than you… :slight_smile:

Do you plan any recovery time -
Full days off?

Just wanna give what happen to me, some time after a training session on the other day i just can do nothing it is rare, when it do not happen i take 1 day totally off now, kind of randonly.
I forgot to say that i try to do some kind of shawdow boxing 3 times per week, on days of training practices.
so weekly 4strength,3real practice and 3 skill

[quote]ricardowesley wrote:
I really wanna to know what “kind” of nutrition do you try to follow. i have always gone high carb, but lately, high protein medium carb-low fat is giving me “good” results.


I like your training program I am a big fan of the westside system also (as you can tell) it really helps train all of the important attributes that go into athletics.

My diet, I find that I stay at a lower bodyfat and I recover faster with High Protein diet (around 1.5- 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyfat), I really only have “carbs” before and after training (usually waxy maize and/or dextrose/maltodextrin).

Other than that I am having lean meat and vegetables, I really don’t count those too much in my carb total.

I’m not sure how many calories I get in per day, I just know that I get my protein in and I feel fine.

When I want to bulk though, I know that in order to add muscle, and keep up my current level of training I need to have quite a bit more which I usually get from adding in more carbs and perhaps slightly more protein not much more at all (2 grams/lb of bodyweight MAYBE some more but thats almost by accident). I can usually do this by adding in a lot more dairy products, especially yogurt. Also I add in more calories by putting a tablespoon (or 3) of olive oil in my protein shakes. This makes them take longer to digest as well as it adds 120 calories per tablespoon. So 3 tablespoons in 3 shakes over the period of one day is 1080 extra calories (which is probably overkill) but will get you the intake you need if you really need it.

The odd thing is that this is a diet (very low carbs) I’ve always done. My parents used to joke about the fact that I’d never eat the buns when we’d go to a burger place, or that I’d take the bread off of my sandwhichs… I almost always ate “atkins” haha. So I’ve never had a problem avoiding bread… Pasta is my weakness though (and women, in particular italian ones, bad mixture with the pasta thing).

My fat’s usually come from extra virgin olive oil, fish oil, and almond oil.

So to sum it up, my diet is like BJ Penn said, “…Like Atkins, but with the carbs”

Cool, i am the inverse, i don´t like fat, never did, i try to eat peanuts for fat, other than that all comes from eggs and meats, i didnt, understand how much conditioning you do sugest per week.

to say the thuth i can get without, simplily by doing more practices with more combat volume. what kind of %BF do you maintain, i am maintain like 7-8, but a year a go i was 4-5, and i was sick, and cold all the time, in the winter i was with 2-3 pants, and i live in a tropical country.

[quote]kmcnyc wrote:

Do you plan any recovery time -
Full days off?


I manage my volume enough that my recovery time is usually decent, I get in an active recovery for days where I’ll just shadowbox or something. Also if I for instance (usually is a friday) get out to the track and after my warmup I just feel like shit, I call it a day. Somedays I push farther in an effort to improve myself mentally and spiritually. But sometimes its not worth risking injury.

I rarely get to that point though because I try to manage everything else well during the rest of the week.

This is kind of intuitive for me…

But its my opinion that if we spent enough time developing our work capacities and not trying to do 1000 different exercises in the gym we’d all be better off.

Old school lifters used to work hardass manual labor jobs THEN lift after work. And I mean sawing down trees, coal mining type of labor. So if me with a desk job can’t get out and bust my ass then I need to figure out where I’m going wrong.

In today’s society 90% of most of our day we spend on our collective ass.

  • Work you’re sitting

  • You drive home (sitting)

  • You sit in traffic

  • You come home and SIT on the couch

  • you SIT for dinner

  • you SIT through a movie

  • Hell people (me included) even have chairs in their tubs now to SIT on while they shower.

So while I definitely don’t reccomend lifting on consecutive days (though there are exceptions), its my opinion that we can do SOMETHING everyday.

So “full days off” imo shouldn’t consist of sitting on my ass. Why? humans are bipedal, we don’t butt scoot everywhere, I’m not a gracie.

Shadowboxing and a fucking light jog shouldn’t hurt my recovery unless I have the work capacity of the typical 21st century male worker drone.

But if you post on T-Nation your goal is probably NOT to be typical :slight_smile:

Now for older dudes… i have no idea, you have kids and wives and mortgages and shit. I’m no where near that kind of stress levels.

If someone wants to weigh in on that I’d love to hear some ideas…

[quote]Xen Nova wrote:
kmcnyc wrote:

Do you plan any recovery time -
Full days off?

Now for older dudes… i have no idea, you have kids and wives and mortgages and shit. I’m no where near that kind of stress levels.

If someone wants to weigh in on that I’d love to hear some ideas…


I guess I am an older dude???

Im 36, and by 24,25, was done with wrestling- its like being a female gymnast- only so long you can do it… or can you?
From those years I have built up a fairly high work volume
but do need to actively manage rest.
And I have some pretty bad, hip, neck, issues and some lingering
tendoitis that has killed my love of pullups.

I need more days off or have to do different stuff in the gym
work is physical- I work in television- the making part of it.
So ladders, labor etc. And having been an athlete I work HARD.
I have to stretch way way more. way.
Ice, ice showers, and much more foam, mobility stuff.

Yoga postures and a good massage help I have to do one lighter day with weights too- I train 3 to 4 days with weights I blog some in profile… If I can I will do sprints and swim the other days of the week.
If I roll BJJ or Judo I will mix up the strentgh training with it and add or subtract a day too.
But I am at the point where life, can take over that as well.

If I am doing a longer work day- 12 hours + I usually cannot train that day at all the next day- Production for a big show or movie its common to do 16 hour+ for a few days.
then I take a few days off of work, eat, train, sleep.
I travel for work too, and that can suck.
In stead of a "heavy day"I would do BB complexes or BW conditing and swim insted. on a recoop day I do one or two per week,
when its busy more.

I find fluctuating the rep and set schemes helps with recovery
keeps me fresh- I am probaly doing a full body type thing 3 to 4 days. I will always either dead or front squat and clean.
some antagonistic vertical pull push, and some plyo-agility
or O-lifts. Lifting for speed changes that up too.
and finding a balance- heavy lower body day- conditioning plyo upper body movements.

But I will do one entire day of just unilateral work- adding that has helped- more than I thought it could,
with recovery and balancing some long term issues.
I still have a lead leg close to an inch bigger than the other.

Im 5’6" and 175- and mostly a vegetarian- I eat fish eggs, milk
adding more protein also keeps the recovery aflame.
So probably more carbs than you as well.

I guess the big question is how long can you work at your schedule…
I have reluctantly cut back- far less road work,
more swimming- adding more O-lifts at “reduced” weights
from what I would like.

So no longer can I do 35 to 45 miles of road work, and work and weights… and drink all night :slight_smile:

the strangest part is the similarities of what Im doing…
to parts of your scheme…
so that puts me far ahead of average gym type
and would be slogging along at your pace


Great post Xen, really interesting stuff. I should hire you as a strength coach hehe

pay me in thai girls :-p

I know what you mean by the can’t do it forever thing. My exgf was nearly having panic attacks because this next year is her last doing college gymnastics and thats the end of her competition career in the sport, pretty depressing. It’s like having an early midlife crisis or something.

Considering my age, yea anyone >30 is older.

And i like your ideas… ChenZen as well as Jellyroll were on the same ‘path of discovery’ , its very interesting how several of us have come to very similar conclusions!

for recovery I largely depend on fluctuating my volume and workload, as well as proper diet.

By volume & workload I’m referring to # of hours training per week, set/reps, rounds of conditioning/bagwork, level of intensity, etc.

When I’m farther out from a fight I’ll do more rounds of training focusing on technique and building work capacity

Closer to fight I focus more on intensity and putting the fury of 10,000 suns into those 3-5 rounds rather than doing 10 rounds at pace. I want 3 sheer terror for myself, so that if worst comes to worst the last thing I have to worry about is my heart exploding and I can just think about fighting.

Lifting is relatively the same pattern too, farther from the fight it has more relevance and I’ll pursue my lifting goals with a little more fervor, I usually lift 4 days a week rather than 3 actually. Also it might just be straight lifting and not the “integrated assistance” work as shown above. Farther away from the fight I’m working on JUST straight attributes. Closer it’s usually more application.

I forgot to mention that while I’m not a vegetarian either, I drink a lot of “raw food” shakes. Not because I’m a healthy hippy (I LOVE hot wings) but actually because it shaves me a shitload of time and I’m severly impatient nor do I have a woman to cook for me unless I’m fortunate enough to stumble across a girl that can stand me for a weekend or two.

But i do believe my digestion improved, my skin looks better, and my nails grow SUPER fast. So I think I’m getting a whole host of vitamins out of the deal which is great.
Plenty of energy and I never feel like lethargic after a “meal”.

Takes some time adjusting to the taste but not bad at all.

Nutrition imo is HUGE when it comes to recovery and there are a lot of supplements that help with this.

I’m not sure if there’s any science to back it up but its my personal opinion (at least what I’ve noticed in myself and people around me) that learning new techniques and the whole ‘muscle memory’ thing required with drilling is also draining to your nervous system so this ALSO has to be factored into your recovery.

The nervous system and muscular system are tied very closely together so things that might work for recovery for your muscular system might not work for your nervous system (though some may).

Some things I like-

extreme stretching after lifting (google it: “Doggcrapp extreme stretching”), a dynamic warmup before training, static stretching, myofascial release, massage, hot tub, ice baths, cryo-cups, icing things period, hell ice water…

Beta Alanine
dl phenylalanine
Getting carbs/protein asap

^^And I’m pretty sure all of those are available in or as Biotest supplements.

Other than a sleep supplement ambien CR or for the less likely to pop pills among us, Biotest has some other thing available to help with sleep too.

Thats a great resource there Xen, cheers for that.

Anyone has “problems” training lower body? sometimes all of sudden i get so Sore. Anyone think leg training some times go bad with mma techniques later in the week?

in my mind ricardo its all about training attributes.

What athletic attributes you are lacking in your sport attack those.

And whatever techniques need work, you train them by proper repetition of the technique.

For example to improve my single leg takedown I would be remiss to practice zercher lunges. and expect to see an improvement.

While these can be used as an accessory exercise, I would be better off improving my leg strength, or single leg strength if necessary, or core stability…or whatever ailment in my strength is causing the problem.

OFTEN it’s not even a strength issue.

All that is to say that some people may not need to train their lower body much at all.

Depends all on what you need for yourself. but in my personal opinion and my personal method of combat it behooves me to have increasingly strong(er) legs.

My work capacity allows me to handle training legs a lot…

but 99% of Combat sport techniques are going to involve the legs A LOT so you really have to manage how much you work them.

TECHNIQUE IS ALWAYS FIRST, so never hit it so hard in the weight room that you cannot train your technique in the next session.

If you are increasing strength by using 3x3 squats, once a week and that is all you do in your leg session. Then good for you and keep it up.

whatever keeps you fresh, and training OFTEN.

Frequency of training is more important in combat sports.

Sure you can train 7 hrs once a week but i guarantee you would be better off spending just an hour every day instead.

So the key is that if you have a problem training your lower body then lower your volume and re-evaluate what you’re doing.

Try to have your lower body session far away from your combat training

For instance most train m-f… so then schedule your hardest lower body session for friday evening so that you have fri night, sat night, and sunday night all to rest.

Also stretch immediately after training your legs, and I mean hard… google “extreme stretching”. That has REALLY improved my recovery, I can’t hype it up enough. Myofascial release (which you can search on T-Nation) and a tool called “the stick” also get great reviews in regard to improving recovery time.

"Bodyweight Limit: 180lbs

Overall Strength Goals:
Power Clean and Press 315#
Deadlift 600#… break powerlifting top 100 for BW
20 Overhead squats with Bodyweight

Back Squat (a2g) at least 2.5xBW (425) 10reps
Front Squat at least 2x BW(340) x10reps
Power Snatch Max at least 1.5xBW
Overhead squat Max at least 1.5xbw (255@ 170#)"


Very well done Xen.

Your strength goals are quite lofty, especially for a fighter. I
have a decent amount of experience in the business and have not really known any fighter or grappler with that level of strength.
10 deep reps in the squat with 425 for a guy that fights at 155? Im guessing you are a freak to even have any kind of realistic expectation of accomplishing that.

I don’t follow everything that goes on here but I would be interested in learning a little more about your training history.

I tried to piece it together from this article, but couldnt manage to figure out what your training weeks look like in a total sense(types and frequency of skill practices/sparring/conditioning and strength training). If you wouldnt mind, it may help me with
some of my guys.