T Nation

Drilling For Combat Athletes


To all combat athletes here at T-Nation-wrestlers,thai boxers,mma fighters,etc. here is great tip about training from geoff thompson,top bouncer-streetfighter&body guard-
"i thought nothing about taking 5 mile run and then drilling one punch or one kick or one combination on heavy bag for 40 rounds.its awfully boring,but it has to be done.most people thought i was crazy.my hands would hurt so much,but thats how i got to feel tecnique."

this tip helped me in building my boxing skills during those long grueling every day training sessions.
stay strong!


I do the same thing...just not 40 rounds' worth....


many would argue that drilling athletes that way, with long runs and endless drills is very "old school" and in alot of cases actually a negative drain on an athletes recovery.


That?s an archaic training modality, in which the common success factor is not the training regiment ? far from it ? the common success factor is heart/dedication. I would argue that people like Geoff Thompson, etc? have excelled in spite of not because of their training modalities and would have been superior athletes had they used a more scientific & intense approach to training.


5 mile run is crap.i would rather run sprints and 400m for conditionong.but its about drilling to sharpen technique.like reggie miller shooting 3-pointer for hours since childhood.
like quarterbacks throwing lasers.like mirko cro-cop doing high kicks for 1 hour every day.like minotaur doing jiu-jitsu sparring for hours every day.like david beckham doing hundreds of free-kicks.drilling produced athletes with excellent skills in most sports.

athletic preparation is different.although bulgarian weightlifters basically do drilling---greasing the groove--to gain strenght.do check article--weekend of strength--


Legendary coach Dan Gable said that in training if something is important--do it everyday nad if it isnt important--dont do it at all.
He insisted that his wrestlers do at least 75 repetitions of every wrestling technique EVERY DAY!!!


Dan Gable was an incredible wrestler and went on to be an incredible coach. That said, he's had some problems(muliple hip opertations I believe) as he's gotten older that may have something to do with his grinding style of training.


It depends on how much time one has.If one could train 3-4 hrs a day like a pro, fine. But for average joe, no.Vary it up to keep up the interest.


Not sure what you're saying here. If you're saying "Boxers, martial artists, etc. should do drills," then yeah, of course.

I read somewhere that (unless you're a phenom) you need to punch around 1,000 times before you ever learn how to throw a punch. I remember the first day I threw a punch "from the hips." It was about three years after starting martial artis, and a few weeks after I started doing drills. It was an amazing feeling.

So, yeah, do drills!


I dont know where the notion that interval High Intensity is the be all and end all of MMA endurance proficiency. It is certainly necessary, but a good 5 mile run or sometimes 11 mile jog works wonders for VO2Max and physical endurance. We still say, you can never have too much cadio, but you can have too much fatigue. That means, pace and excercize should be equal to the goal.

For example, I was crapping out after the second 5:1 round, hyperventalating, slurring speach, dehydrating, the whole nine, just a few weeks ago. I decided my slower intervals werent proficient enough so I ran for 3 miles every day for a week. Slower, not sprinting runs. Then I did that every other day for the next week. Last week it did it everday again and this week, I can go all 3 5:1 rounds stable, energized and primed.

Next week, Im going to try swimming as that tends to be the better cardio anyway.


^^^^ so true, people think that just because boxing mma etc are primaraly anaerobic that one does not need or would not benfit from a good base of aerobic conditioning.

I can talk from experience, Myfirst ever fight i followed the traditional route of endless running, and gain my anaerobic conditioning through drills at practice pads heavy bag etc and my conditioning held up well through the fight.

I fought again last sunday after doing no distance running but instead focusing completly on high intensity work, tabatas, punch out drills, sprints etc. I gassed within about a minute, luckily i still pulled out the win but it served aS a valuable lesson, do not neglect any aspect of training.

A well developed aerobic system will afford you quicker recovery increased cappiliary density within the muscles primarily used for your aerobic work, and also remember its not cut and dry as "this is anaerobic" or "this is aerobic" all energy sytems work simultaneously.

sorry for the rant, first post as well. Its just that i was disussing this matter earlier today so was on the mind already. Although i love sports science and strength and conditioning , finding what works best is not always in a book or journal, it comes from experimenting an finding out what works in reality.

I apologise again i thnk it may be the ephedra i just popped making me natter on.


Did you ever stop to think that they new how to sprint in the late 1800's, right on through to the 1990's? The reason they trained the way they did is simple, it worked!


Wise words.


What kind of fights do you have? MMA? Boxing? What does your training schedule look like?

It would be nice to hear how guys who actually fight, train. A lot of fanboys and people who "do MMA" (but never fight) opine, but we rarely hear from actual fighters.

What are some things you've tried in the weightroom but found to be ineffective? What has seemed to work best for you?


Well I thought that I would add my 2 cents. I have fought MMA, been an armature boxer, trained with pro boxers and muay thai fighters and I compete in submissions grappling tournaments. I also coach fighters and a training partner of mine fights in the UFC. Not bragging here but I do have a bit of experience in this area.

Someone posted that it depends on the athlete and you need to decide what works for you. I would agree with that find out what gets you in the best place mentally and physically.

Now with that said I am not a fan of distance running to get ready for a fight. Unless you plan on running away the whole time. What I personally favor is practice what you are going to be doing in the fight. I love to lift heavy and do some sprinting/sled dragging work. But when it comes to getting your wind for a fight practice fighting. At my gym I routinely have the guys and myself do iron man?s, shark bate, cut throat all versions of the same thing. Set the clock for 5-10 minutes and one guy stays in the middle and fresh people are rotated in throughout the period. You can make many variations of this to suit your needs. Some times we will work in stations two minutes working the pads, then two minutes with gloves on and a partner trying to take you down, then a partner with gloves who strikes and you attempt to take him down, and finally another partner on the ground working submissions. Or just working takedowns with a fresh partner every time a takedown occurs same thing can be done with just grappling or just striking. I can only speak for myself but I would much rather fight a guy that has been running five miles every day as opposed to a guy that has been fighting six guys for ten minute goes for the last two months. But like I said that is just my take on it.