T Nation

MMA Legend Sakuraba Lifting

I was in Oomori Gold’s Gym this morning. Former Pride fighter Sakuraba was lifting weights. He had a trainer who I swore must be the “Great Muta”, a famous professional wrestler. When I first came in they were doing leg extensions. I warmed up and was on the other side of the gym.

Eventually they came near me and started to do incline presses on the Hammer Strength supersetted with machine flyes. LAter I saw them doing shoulder presses in the smith machine. Then shoulder presses with kettlebells. Then they went upstairs to grapple. I did not see everything they did, but I thought members here would find this interesting.

If you are not familiar with Sakuraba, he was once called the Gracie Hunter and fought larger heavier fighters. He has submission wins over Rampage Jackson, Kevin Randleman. Wins over Royce, Royler, Ryan and Renzo back when they still were in thir prime. Belfort. And fought Mirko taking Mirko before losing to by TKO from an eye injury.

omg he works out with machines???

[quote]StevenF wrote:
omg he works out with machines??? [/quote]

Shock! Horror!

If he is retired, perhaps he has changed some of his training regimen. Retired athletes often change how they train. He no longer has to train for peak performance, so maybe he has started training just for aesthetics. Just my 2 cents.

[quote]fireplug52 wrote:
StevenF wrote:
omg he works out with machines???

Shock! Horror![/quote]

Sak was never big into the weights. Plus he has so many injuries he might have to use machines to work around pain etc.

Last I heard he had a stroke?? Or something along those lines, guess he’s okay? Good to hear.

[quote]Dre Cappa wrote:
If he is retired, perhaps he has changed some of his training regimen. Retired athletes often change how they train. He no longer has to train for peak performance, so maybe he has started training just for aesthetics. Just my 2 cents.

fireplug52 wrote:
StevenF wrote:
omg he works out with machines???

Shock! Horror!

[/quote]

Nah, Sakuraba is still active. He fights K-1 MMA now.

As for training with machines. These guys are so talented and gifted at what they do that their weightlifting routines really don’t matter. Mirko Crocop’s workout includes Smith Machine Squats. They overcome shitty routines.

If you guys ever want to see a real T-Man workout, look up a video of Fedor training, guarenteed to raise Test levels.

[quote]StevenF wrote:
omg he works out with machines??? [/quote]

Exactly. I was slightly surprised, but many of those guys are like that.
Skill and talent are probably more important.

Time for all the koolaide drinking morons to come out and attack lifting with machines.

If I got ??? for kicking peoples ass on that level I wouldn’t endanger my body with some of the more hardcore weight training either.

OMG! Thrice weekly-45 minute-whole body-compound exercises aren’t the recipe of champions.

Bah, let the bastard train as he will. He’s always been my favourite MMA fighter. Besides, the Hammer equipment is pretty good as far as machines go for range-of-motion. That’s what I have heard.

When I am in my fourties, I doubt I will be maxing out on inclines and squats and so on. Sometimes, but not always. Right now, I want to be strong. However, at some point we all get beat up from training or sports like Saku did.

Sakuraba also smokes like a damn chimney. Many great athletes exceed in spite of their training, as Coach X likes to say. If Sakuraba thinks curling pink dumbells with his toes makes him a better fighter, then he can knock himself out, because he is a great fighter.

I’m really not too familiar with Sakuraba, the video of him getting his ass handed to him by Wanderlei Silva (for the middleweight title) is what first got me into MMA though.

One thing I can say is that he has a hell of a chin on him, if he wants to lift using machines then good luck to him.

Wasn’t there an article recently talking about how American football players use machines pretty frequently as well in order to avoid injury? I know that if I had a choice between benching in the smith machine or having a shoulder that couldn’t stand up to a kimura attempt, I’d go for the smith machine.

Many champs use machines over free weights for two reasons

  1. it’s a lot more practical. Since you’re spending more time honing you technique, doing sparring etc., weightlifting is for many the boring and mandatory part of the training. They don’t feel they belong to some Brotherhood of Iron, they just want to get in the gym, do their thing and get out. Also, many MMA guys like supersets, which is more convenient to do with machines.

  2. it’s safer. A pro must minimize training dangers, even if he sacrifices some “Bang for the Buck”.

how exactly is machine training safer? apart from dropping the weight on yourself how exactly is it safer?

if anything i would of thought the unnatural range of motion with machines would lead to injuries over the long term.

like said above i think we should take this as a case of “he’s a great fighter despite his training” instead of “he’s a great fighter because of his training.”

Annnnd, as someone predicted, here comes the anti-machine brigade to lambast machines and all those who would dare commit such a blasphemous act of using some them.

Seriously, a lot of people just don’t get that you train to be a powerlifter and an MMA fighter differently. Besides, Sakuraba’s body is shot from all his injuries.

As an MMA fighter at a PRIDE level, you’re already a genetic anomoly i.e Fedor. You could just do a lot of wrestling, bw squats, chins, pushups etc and become functionally strong. That would be sufficient.

[quote]otoko wrote:
When I first came in they were doing leg extensions. I warmed up and was on the other side of the gym.
[/quote]

This could explain why his knees have been completely shot for the past few years.

Someone send him EC article on leg extensions.

PS: I’m kidding, of course!

If Sakuraba had lifted during his career he might still be fighting. He looked not in the best shape in several bouts.

[quote]ZedLeppelin wrote:
if anything i would of thought the unnatural range of motion with machines would lead to injuries over the long term.[/quote]

People keep saying this. Where are all of the people who have been injured while using machines?

EVERY guy I know who has had weightlifting-related injuries has hurt themselves while using free weights.

Lots of people have nagging “injuries.” Those are the types of “injuries.” Those types of injuris come from machines and free weights. But the guys who really fuck themselves up almsot always do so while lifting heavy (free) weights.

I’m not saying machines are better. But I’m rather tired of the argument that free weights are somehow “safer” than machines. Few things in life are so simple. Machines and free weights each offer their risks and rewards.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
ZedLeppelin wrote:
if anything i would of thought the unnatural range of motion with machines would lead to injuries over the long term.

People keep saying this. Where are all of the people who have been injured while using machines?

EVERY guy I know who has had weightlifting-related injuries has hurt themselves while using free weights.

Lots of people have nagging “injuries.” Those are the types of “injuries.” Those types of injuris come from machines and free weights. But the guys who really fuck themselves up almsot always do so while lifting heavy (free) weights.

I’m not saying machines are better. But I’m rather tired of the argument that free weights are somehow “safer” than machines. Few things in life are so simple. Machines and free weights each offer their risks and rewards.[/quote]

Good points.

Some around have to get over all the hate they have for machines. It’s one tool, just like barbells, or medicine balls or kettlebells.