T Nation

'How to Train' Questions


This board seems to be getting cluttered with a bunch of the following questions:

"I'm starting BJJ (or whatever MA it is) and wondering what I should do for conditioning (or strength training)?"

Guys, there's already a bunch of thereads like these on the board. Do a search or scroll through a page or two of the board and you should find an answer.

Or you could post your question in the MMA Training Hub. All forms of MA are discussed there...

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Thank you. This goes for the entire T-Forums really... do a fucking search b4 you ask a question so you at least come back with an informed opinion and probably a better question.

Let me go ahead and knock out 90% of those threads right now-

Yes I know your situation is "unique" somehow but you're still a beginner start like everyone else

Yes I know you want to do MMA but you're still bulking, and cutting, and doing 4 crossfit programs a week... or whatever the fuck. You might want to just focus on one of those a while

No your football experience really isn't going to translate all that well.

Like 70% of fighters wrestled, unless you were state champ or something impressive, doesn't mean dick. You can still get subbed.

No you can't learn from DVD's.

Yes you should lift weights but TMT, TBS, TNT, WIFI, TMNT, DBZ or whatever Waterbury program you're doing probably isn't going to be what you need for MMA. (not picking on Waterbury he just usually has all the acronyms).

To follow that last one, no you probably don't need super special secret spetnatz ninja training program (IN MOTHER RUSSIA WEIGHTS LIFT YOU!). 1 arm rows on a bosu ball isn't going to shit for you.

Thats like changing your hair color to make your tits bigger. Don't get complicated unless you know what the fuck you're doing. 90% of us could just do the Bill Starr 5x5 program and improve leaps and bounds.

You should train at the place with the best reputation, that has fighters it has produced (from the ground up I might add), that fits into your budget and travel arrangements. Just remember you get what you pay for.

Cutting weight is a lot more than sitting in a sauna. Just focus on your training and getting your bodyfat down. Sort out that other shit later...


I do agree, although the search function sucks ass on T-Nation. If I had one complaint about T-Nation it is the haphazard organization of high quality information that tend to just get lost and buried under mounds of other stuff.

I disagree with this. DVDs can be great for getting ideas and introducing the basic technique. Ultimately you need a trainer to do the little "as you go" modifications, but DVDs can be a solid way to start out.

Couldn't agree more with this. A lot of nice rich gyms try to make you think that having a bunch of imported talent makes their gym good. Being a good fighter does not necessarily make you a good trainer. Turning out good fighters makes you a good trainer.


DVD's are a good supplement to someone who already trains under a coach. I would not recommend them as more than a supplement to regular supervised training. Just my opinion!


My herald speaks.



Billy Graham vs. Freddie Roach.




"Ah, well, we've been takin' it easy this year. You know, drinkin' in the local, eatin' chip bunty, lickin' the grease out of the pan. But by God you'll see Hatton in top shape for his next fight!"






I was thinking more like Big John McCarthy's gym in Valencia, they have a fucking smoothie bar inside. It's like 400/month. You don't need all that shit, some of the best fighters in the world are made in areas with JUST a tin roof, a few pads, and some 20yr old bags.

While it's nice as fuck and in theory you should be a great fighter with all those resources there. Until they produce some top tier talent i'm unimpressed.

go to militech camp on the other hand and they make champs like it's no one's business. or delagrotte's for instance.


Well this is a good opportunity to ask questions to you pro's without creating a new thread.

1) Assuming I lift 3 times a week, is it a good idea to do conditionning work on every day that I don't train or should I always schedule a rest day? I have solid recovery as far as nutrition and supplementation, could be better sleep-wise but still decent.

2) How long should a good conditionning workout take? I usually go for about 15-25 minutes depending on my exercice selection. Barely rest at all, most of my workouts are circuits of explosive moves (plyo pushups, sledgehammer, tire flips...) combined with high speed mobility work (skipping rope, punch-out drills, sprints, ect.)

3) Should I be doing steady rate cardio at all? I'm thinking it probably doesn't translate too well on the mat but is there any reason I should be jogging?

Thanks alot


I'd like to add that if you get all bent out of shape due to an argument on the internet, the best way to settle said argument would be to challenge some guy you've never met to a fight by starting a thread about it...NEVER BACK DOWN!


^^this is what I meaned by informed questions, at least give the guy answering you something to work with not "dude i wanna be badass...what do i do?".

1) Have a scheduled recovery day (if not DAYS), depending what you're doing in the gym you should consider adding in some sort of barbell or dumbbell complex that also hits either your strength endurance or power endurance needs. It's largely individual and you need to find out what works for you and gives you peak performance.

Generally speaking you can go hard for a few weeks with minimal rest, then take it slow for 2-3weeks then go hard again. But you still need at least ONE day where you fucking chill

2)Sounds spot on to me. Outside of other little shit, drills, prehab/rehab, stretching or wtfever, your conditioning work shouldn't last must longer than your "fight time" will (ifyou're doing one balls out circuit like that).

3) If you already have a good aerobic base, you can keep it up through various means. Not necessarily just jogging. Get a heart rate monitor, learn your aerobic range, and shadowbox staying in the aerobic range for 20-30min, it will:

A) improve your technique B)Drill your technique C) improve aerobic base & provides all benefits of aerobic exercise D) easier on your joints

On the otherside, there's a reason nearly every single champion does some form of roadwork. It toughens you mentally, it's refreshing, it keeps your bodyweight down, it sparks your appetite... the benefits are numerous. Too many guys poo-poo steady state cardio without thinking about it outside of their science notebooks.

Again it's highly individual, I would encourage you to add in one day of it and see how you feel for a few weeks, then add in another. I wouldn't advocate more than 3 days per week...

three is getting to be too but has benefits depending on your goal, two is pretty ideal depending what else you have going on, 1 might be all thats necessary for most people who are doing various other forms of conditioning.

Then again, thaiboxers run twice a day everyday. 99% of champion boxers run everyday. There has to be something to it.


Have you guys thought about starting a sticky for reputable gyms? There are a TON of places out there that want to capitalize on the MMA craze and it might be a good idea to give people an idea of where to start looking in their local areas.

I have seen this for powerlifting gyms or strongman friendly gyms but I think it could work here as well. Or not. I know I couldn't add anything but I, for one, would rather not throw money away on a place that is a joke and I'm betting you guys could save some beginners some grief.


Very good post, may I elaborate?

If in doubt about conditioning set up a number of "skill stations"... heavy bag, shadowboxing, speed bag. Time yourself for a round on each one, take ten seconds break and move to the next. Do this for 20-30mins.


On second thought, this isn't a very good sticky thread.

In a sticky, you should have protocols to follow (do a search before asking something simple) and frequently asked questions and their answers.

This thread starts off with a complaint and turns into a rambling thread about training methods.


Thanks for the feedback!

I'm gonna schedule a rest day on sunday, don't wanna burn out. Actually I might hit a couple CSW sessions since they're not very physically demanding (compared to my lifting or conditionning sessions anyway).

As for weightlifting since you mentionned barbell complexes, I lift 3 times a week, usually pick 3 big compound exercices that I perform as 5x5, then pick 2 somewhat less all-around moves which I'm gonna be working 4x7 with.

(EDIT: Those are NOT dumbbell kickbacks or fuckin' curls, when I say less all-around I'm talking about pretty much everything outside of DL's, squats and clean and presses.) I rarely go to failure, always use about 70-80% of my max capacity and strive to add weight every other session.

Does this suck? Should I be making any changes?

Lastly, do you recommend any brand of heart rate monitor? I always just thought I'd keep it simple with my conditionning and train till I crumble but you can never be precise enough right.

Thanks again for your insight


I use the Polar 625SX. Tracks everything down to when I should take a crap. Well not quite that detailed, but it does let me know when I'm training hard versus just being a pussy.

On the otherhand, when you are talking about MMA conditioning and compound complex training, going until you almost puke is worthy. Then train some more.


Thats fine, and provides you with a good base. As long as you're recording your lifts and getting some kind of improvement every time you hit the gym you're doing fine.

I would encourage you to write a list of very detailed things you want to improve in your combat skill and use those to direct your weight room training.**

That's what I like about heart rate monitors it lets you actually track progress. Now there are a lot of things that can influence the #'s but at least it gives you a projected level of how hard you "should" be working. So I recommend that you use one (especially with aerobic work where you can get lazy. I can't really recommend one but if you could find one that didn't need the strap around the heart that would be preferable... not sure if they even make them like that though.

If you can do some bagwork or something that really beats your ass, record that peak work rate then you can use that to assess how hard you're working on elliptical sprints or rowing sprints, etc...

**Most of the time fighters probably need to improve power endurance and maximal strength. Thus ME work and different kinds of complexes (i like singles for 15-20 sets with about 20s rest between sets) work well.