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Hypertrophy's Bad for Fighters? What's the 'Right Way'?


As stated in the title, obviously we know that pursuing hypertrophy in the way a bodybuilder would is counter productive for a combat athlete... So what's the right way then?

How does one go about moving up to another weight class or two while still spending time on his skillset and other athletic qualities?


Well, for starters, a combat athlete, or any athlete for that matter, shouldn't focus on a "hypertrophy specific" training routine. A program that focuses on increasing limit strength with low volume and high intensity should be adopted to put on lean mass whose only purpose is to move more weight in big compound lifts. This isn't to say that certain sports/martial arts wouldn't benefit from some specialization (bicep and grip strength come to mind for sports like BJJ and Wrestling)

With lower volume, albeit higher intensity, an athlete should be able to continue to train his/her skillset(s) with minimal sytemic fatigue while still focusing on increasing strength, and therefor increasing muscle mass.

I am currently using Wendler's 5/3/1 program, getting stronger and it hasn't affected my boxing work. I attribute this to the fact that Jim Wendler was a collegiate football player, and as such knows how to build a program that has plenty of room for muscular growth/strength development while managing fatigue well.

BTW-Sweet avatar


How's that program working for you Therizza?


I'm getting stronger, leaning out and my hand speed hasn't suffered a bit. I'm never truly sore from the workouts either. I really like the low volume and constant progression built into the program.


That's crazy! I used to do 5x5 BB splits and I was ALWAYS sore, but since modifying my workouts this summer I've leaned up, improved speed, and my endurance has gone through the roof! I think for my body high volume is the way to go, but I'm wanting to put on some more mass to fight up a weight class. Decisions, decisions. Glad to hear that's working for you though.


Hmm food for thought, I might give that a try, as I too, am a boxer. I'd be happy with just increasing strength, but I'd like to move up a weight class or two. I take it with this kind of training though, gains in lean mass come very slowly?

Thanks, I wanted to get a RJJ animated icon, but that one just struck me as what Jones is all about.


Hypertrophy isnt evil... just not ideal for a sport where two things most athletes deal with less.
body weight and recovery from training are such issues.

other athletes like o-lifters even power lifters have weight classes but those are a little different

the Big issue is recovery to do a BB style work out for 90% of people who want to roll a little or box a little is fine.
For those who are more serious its going to impact your recovery. Allot.
and its going to work some muscles, that might not really be all the necessary like say the bench press,
when other lifts might a combat athlete better like say a clean.

Moving up in weight is difficult while preserving body composition flexiility etc.. If your small as in under 150lbs then its not such a big issue.

Ive said it before strength training is great as long as it does not impact your ability to recover for skill work.
Skill work, conditioning, Iron find room for all three.

I Like the WSFSB3 from defranco Its for inseason atheletes. Its different form a true west side template
in that its for people who are using strength training to enhance other sports , not make strength training their focus. Its 4 days a week.

Im doing the Eric Cressey program maximum strenght- its good too like defranco its 4 days a week. cycles in phaes and has a built in deload.

I would recommend reading about Prelipins table for a good rep scheme.
you could skin the cat hundreds of ways-

what is your training and eating like now?
what are your goals specifically?



well, i think training for hypertrophy can work if you want to change weight classes. the question is why do you want to change your weight class?

if it's a matter of making weight, than i don't think you need to train for size, but continue with strength and skill training and move up "naturally." this is something that (theoretically) would work itself out....

but chaninging weight classes for the sake of getting bigger is a different mindset. your goal is no longer primarily athletic performacne, but (i assume) cosmetic AND athletic performance.


I would agree that persuing hypertrophy in the way a body builder does isn't optimal, but hypertrophy isn't necessarilly counter productive in combat sports. Focusing on compound lifts will not only make you bigger, but will make you stronger.

If you're on the lighter end of a weight class, getting swole to the limits of your weight class can definitely help control your opponent when it comes to fight time. As others have said, as long as the hypertrophy doesn't impede your skill work and ability to recover, it's all good.


Your avatar. Is creepy.


I agree. Brock Lesnar's size is killing him.

Sorry. I'm not a troll and I've got nothing to add other than my weak joke.