T Nation

Diaz bros conditioning?


This has probably been talked about but...

So the general orthodoxy is that MMA is a sport in which, outside of your skill training, you should be doing explosive, olympic style lifting to improve your power and intense bouts of interval training to improve conditioning.

I have never seen the Diaz brothers do anything but skill training and long, endurance sport style conditioning. Indeed, since Nick mentioned that he has been doing triathlons, I have never seen him even CLOSE to gassing.

Does this suggest that maybe rejecting low intensity endurance training is the way to go instead of interval training, or are the Diaz brothers a case of being successful in spite of their training rather than because of it?


I disagree with this statement. I know that if you follow the articles/training snap shots it seems that way, but I would be floored if the majority of pro fighters didn't spend a decent amount of time doing what you might term "aerobic" or "endurance" work. Road work/running/swimming all done for fairly long time at a "pace" is probably the norm. The fact that everyone does it, and that the athletes are in good enough shape that it doesn't take so much out of them may be why it gets talked about less.

I would also state that most pro MMA fighters spend/have spent plenty of time doing slower lifting/strength work and did not build the majority of their strength/power with the snatch or clean and jerk or variations there of. These lifts get plenty of press, and for good reason, but you are hard pressed to find a wrestler who hasn't done more pushups and pull ups than snatches.


Robert A


I don't know much about MMA, cause it sucks, but I'll bet any amount of money in the world that 90 percet of the guys

1) don't do olympic lifts

2) Run for miles and miles

When I look at a fighter, I can tell right away whether or not he's been doing roadwork. And I don't mean running a couple 100 meter sprints and doing Nancy for time. I mean, fuckin running for five miles every morning.

And also, who said Olympic lifts were the thing to do? Personally, I think that because they're as technical as they are, if you don't have a good base in Olympic lifting, you shouldn't bother with them if you're a fighter.

Nothing more than two or three days a week lifting with a program like 5/3/1 or WSSB - something that gets your maxes up, increases strength, and doesn't keep you in the weightroom long enough for you to exhaust your muscles for skill training or do some dick-measuring shit that gets you hurt.


Nick and Nate probably don't strength train in the traditional sense (I think), but they also don't have a whole lot of explosive movement during fights. You'll never see Diaz shooting for a takedown the way Georges does, or as often. I'd wager this is the reason behind his good cardio.


fiction was a D1 wrestler from what I recall...

most D1 programs have someone doing some kind of S&C work
and on most wrestling menus the main dish has always been power cleans.
they use them for a reason
its a super effective bang for the buck lift
little less taxing IMHO then deadlift singles for example

lots and lots of the slice of life - or snapshots of big fighters
are often showed doing the O-lifts or their variants of High Plyo stuff

I think we are seeing the 'peaking' if such a lame ass word is applicable
it applicable here.

what we dont get to see is normal everyday gym stuff with fighters
the grind of roadwork, weights, bw shit- we only see the snazzy shit
cause it makes for better blurbs.

Having 'came up' in the time where long ass road work was the norm-
while it can be a recovery issue- for many- it does allot to elevate fitness levels
yes its 'slow' but I think there is allot to be said for consistent effort cardio-

I never got the 'slow steady' terminology
running 5 to 13 6 or 7 minute miles up and down hills outside
while not sprinting really isn't slow
no one said you have to run slow or at the same pace

doing that for a few weeks/months
can make a much easier time when you switch or mix in much
'faster' harder sprint type work

Nick is big on the marathon/triathlon training

you can do it by yourself
dude is kind of anti social if not a jerk for the most part
training alone like that is something you can do
all the time without having to be in a gym
or deal with other people

he lives in a climate where you can train outside doing that kind of shit
for most of the year-

not saying its not an expensive hobby but its probably easier and more fun then
hill sprints and battling ropes or doing tabata style intervals on 5 different machines
or outfitting a 'shed' gym on your property that rivals a Golds

and look at their builds.
Im serious- they are not power houses-
kind of lanky scrappers with long long limbs
perfectly suited for that kind of cardio- just my thoughts here.

something I heard at a lecture a million years ago-
is that what we do- what fighters do

is generate power
not necessarily the same as 'getting stronger'
and keep that power going over an extended period of time

its not about stop and go intervals

while triathalon training might not be the best-
you cant argue that it wont make you gas
and it clearly works for diaz


Great post KMC.


Hey bud, a lot of strength coaches say stay away from road work if you want to get strong. What do you think about this? Do you think you can do too much and it'll have a detrimental effect and maybe there is a sweet spot? I don't have any practical experience in this but I have read that a fighter usually is a good puncher because of natural power, speed and good technique that give it a "pop" as opposed to just being bull strong and being able to lift a lot.

What would you say are the benefits of daily moderate paced road work for a fighter?



Doing triathlons to prepare for MMA? Thats ridiculous! :)))))

Fighting is an prolonged explosive event...more of a sprint than a marathon.Unfortunately,cultural/historical influences are still in athletic preparation of athletes.
On the other hand,ROy Jones,Muhammed Ali,Fedor and Crocop did road work and it didnt hurt their speed & power.
I dont know for sure.

I will tell from my personal experiences.I used to hit the heavy bag for hours at at time.Sometimes for 3 hours straight.When I couldnt lift my leg to kick or my fist hurted so I couldnt punch it any more,I would spend another hour just getting the elbow in.Punch.out,combinations,single all-out-power strikes,experimenting with agles & distances.

I did some calistenics,spralws,high intensity shadow fighting,rope jumping at other times.Kickboxing classes in the evening.When I had the energy,I did sprints on the track or uphill sprints.Everything I did was either explosive or power-endurance.

So,my question is,what would that all that running or other aerobic work do that all other explosive stuff didnt already accomplish ( high anaerobic work capacity)?

Why do aerobic prolonged work when you can instead do slower pace skill work,technique learning,drilling?

Why not mix other sports as crosstraining ? streetball,table tennis,low level acrobatics,volleyball or other stuff that can possibly enhance some other aspects of your performance?

I believe all training should have clear specific purpose or its just wasting limited precious resources of time,energy & recuperative ability.


Roadwork can be anything.Strength is not a simple thing.

Why do moderate pace running when you can do hill sprints for example?


I dont understand how Nick Diaz got to the top with doing triathlon as a conditioning method.


Then he is clearly doing something wrong. There is only one way to train, and if he isn't doing what you consider right then he is fucking up.


so many ways to skin the cat-

Here is my take on roadwork.

I came up at the time when road work was the way to train.
I happen to have taken it to an extreme- in that I worked up to
10 to 13 miles a day 5 or 6 days a week for years
its what I needed to do to keep competitive

maybe not the best way to train- but its what was popular
and its simple - more is more

It only takes an hour- really-
ok lets say 90 minutes-
so get up that two hours earlier- three if you want a nap and a shower after
and just get it done.

I also cut ALOT of weight and this was one way to always keep my weight down.

Dont think I wasn't jumping rope, doing hillls, stairs, sprints from 50 to 400m
and 20 or more hours a week of practice meaning skill work
I also swam and used a rower and sometimes an exercise bike

while I think you need to do a variety of training- for this argument I will tell you why-
something like roadwork can help

it helps you develop your breath-
breathing isn't just about oxygen
its about rhythm and making that process automatic

keeps your weight in check-
you can say its detrimental to building muscle- but if you are really trying to keep your weight down

has your body on autopilot- lets the mind be free- to clear the head
visualize your other training, your plan for the day week etc
reclaim some space in your own head
probably the most important element here

lastly its the mental aspect-

honestly- being driven in a van 10 miles away from the college-
and being kicked out in 35 degree weather and being told make it back in an hour
does allot more for me then sprinting on a bycycle...rower versa climber-
or what have you

digging that deep tells you allot more about yourself
pushing your mental limits allot harder then some other training
or how to keep moving while feeling defeated physically

you can argue
- pretty scientifically-
that working that much
can hamper recovery
or can halt your ability to explode

and yes more modern ways promote better recovery

but you can also argue that it provides a better base
then what you can build doing only 'faster' work

as for Diaz running triathalons

we dont know that he isnt sprinting or doing other shit
we know he does this in addition to his regular gym shit


The explosive phenomenon shot up around the Mid 90's and took off in the 2000's with most if not all sports. It had so much common sense that everyone ran with it. The problem is that people were missing the whole story. When Pro athletes started using the explosive movement trainers they had already had years of endurance conditioning.

This new shock to the body was bound to work, but as with everything there is a plateau. As time passed and more athletes had less conditioning, but primarily worked with explosive work you started seeing a higher percentage of Pro Athletes with pulled muscles. This is when trainers tell you you have reached your max, but it's not necessarily true.

If you really want to master strength and conditioning, master the use of cycles, and specificity. You can never have too much endurance, speed, explosiveness, or skill for sports so why would you only train one way? Make your strength super strong and work on your weaknesses.


I would agree that too much running is probably detrimental to gaining all out max effort strength and it's not going to help you gain a lot of size either.But who gives a shit about that? If you're a fighter, your weight room numbers mean dick.

If you're training because you like to train, then don't worry about it, and I'm sure there is a sweet spot between cardio and lifting to keep you relatively lean and able to gain size and strength at the same time. It probably varies for everyone, but it's definitely there.

But fighting is a totally different animal. Weight room strength doesn't translate to punching power, and I have always been of the opinion that punchers are born, not made. Power can be increased slightly, but you'll never turn a Paulie Malignaggi into a Marco Maidana. Simply won't happen.

But power doesn't mean shit if you tire out too quickly, and that's where roadwork comes in. It's the base of your aerobic conditioning, helps keep guys from gaining weight too much, and really does make a difference in your wind.

You can do all the intervals you want, all the sport specific bullshit, etc. but let me tell you - my coach knows right away who is running and who isn't.

There's a reason that guys still do it, and no matter how many internet warriors and internet guru coaches tell me that these guys are succeeding "in spite of their training," I'm going to listen to the guys who know this shit inside and out - the coaches, and the fighters. Not some fucking guy who learned some shit in a university classroom and thinks that he knows everything.



Ummm no, he has great cardio, especially for nick, cause he has trained for triathalons. and to the dude who says mma sucks. ok, and i suppose you like boxing better? ya, boxing is doing great these days isn't it? lol. Boxing is pathetic. you get get maybe 2 or 3 big fights per year. most of the time, they suck and are boring. theres only 2 fighters anyone has any interest in, pacman and mayweather.


Thanks for the input fatass. Now back to the bodybuilding forum with you.


I think you should go back to sucking the dick of your sensei,dumbass motherfuckers! :))))


I know boxing is boring for all of you pencilnecks playing video games in your mommas basement,but for the rest of us its a manly sport.What the hell are doing in the combat forum??


Fighters doing lots of roadwork tend to do those runs first thing early in the morning.So maybe there are some not to obvious physiological benefits to this.Any ideas?


I love the "fatass" comment. lol. tell that to my 59 in chest and 21 inch guns baby. yep, im realllllly fat. lol. you keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better. Oh, and i know more about mma than anyone here. anyone here. thats a fact.