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MMA Strength Training


I know that a lot of people on T-Nation are big mma fans. So I was just wondering what a normal mma guy's strength training program looks like. If anyone knows of one post it. Thanks guys.


sherks workout is floating around here.

check out coach hale, zac even-esh & ross enamaits work.


If you haven't already, take a look at Chad Waterbury's Hammer Down series of articles. I think maybe Alwyn Cosgrove has something too, but maybe I'm wrong.


They are as varied as the fighters. Best thing is to do something that relies on the basics.


Check out Charlie Lysak's Primal Strength stuff. Lysak's been training martial artists for 20+ years, and is himself one freakishly strong, freakishly well conditioned, and phenomenally skilled martial artist.

His C.R.A.W.L routine is phenomenal for strength endurance and I've personally never known anyone who Lysak put through the routine, or who got a chance to do the routine, who didn't say that it was the most intense resistance training routine that they'd ever done.

And keep in mind that he's put guys like Adam Guerra, Joe Lewis, and I believe Frank Shamrock (although I'm not absolutely certain of that, I know that he's put Frank through some workouts, but not absolutely certain about the crawl) through this workout and they even had that response.

I've personally seen this workout make physical beasts out of people (especially on the mat). I also got one of my friends (who coaches wrestling) doing the routine and he absolutely loves it. In fact, he thought it was so good that he's got several of his wrestlers doing it as well.

You can find the dvd over at the Primal Strength website:


Good training,




I use conjugate approach with strength/spp emphasis during off season , and during inseason on approach to a fight GPP emphasis is increased and strength and spp emphasis decreases. Im still competeing in amateur events (pankration style) but hopefully soon ill make the jump to a larger org



Looking at the info at the website the routine appears to be 17 exercises performed non stop for 20-24 minutes.

How does this differ from routine circuit training? Reps, selection of exercises?

I am a little concerned at the assertion that it "mimics fight energy." I have no doubt that the routine is hard but if you are going non stop for 20 plus minutes what energy system are you training and what type of fight is this mimicing?


Hi peter,

The "fight energy" that is mentioned is the mindset necessary for actual street combat (and is very applicable to sport combat as well).

Basically, if you look at a lot of circuits and conditioning routines they are time/reps oriented. Meaning, they are in 4 round intervals, or so many times through the circuit, etc...

The CRAWL, just like combat is goal oriented. In other words, you learn to keep going until you finish the task at hand, not just continue until 4 minutes has gone by. It develops a "never say die" attitude.

I would say it differs from traditional circuit training in that:

1) there are some unique exercises

2) it builds tremendous grip strength and endurance (something that a lot of traditional circuits do not adequately address)

3) results

Things like crossfit are good and I know some MA's who use it and like it. I know one guy who loves it and does it all the time, his conditioning while doing calisthenics is phenomenal.

But, he'll openly admit that crossfit isn't even close to Lysak's conditioning routines when it comes to carry over to combat. The guys who I know who have done the CRAWL for an extended period of time and progressed on it like you're supposed to are absolute animals.

As far as energy systems, stuff like that is honestly over rated in my opinion. What matters is results. Sure, there is some truth to things like that. But seriously, let's just say that it'll allow you to go balls to the wall for what seems like basically as long as you want. You'll pretty much be able to keep the intensity extremely high for extended periods of time, thus allowing you to out last those with similar strength levels, and steam roll through those with lesser strength/conditioning levels.

Just look at guys like Sherk. Sure, he doesn't actually do the CRAWL, but his training is based around similar methods and a similar mindset. Wrestlers in general tend to have a dominant mindset where they just push the pace and often times win by attrition. The CRAWL will develop that level of strength endurance and conditioning.

On top of all that, the program is progressive. So, as you get stronger, it continues to get harder, thus making it theoretically infinite in it's strength and conditioning capabilities.

But seriously, if you doubt it's effectiveness, buy the dvd and try the routine. Once you do it once you'll realize just how ridiculously intense it is. And if you stick with it for a few months, you'll see results on the mat.

As Lysak told me (and several others that I know who he has given the routine to) "I'm not going to tell you the results that this routine is going to give you. If you do it right and stick with it, other people are going to tell you the results. You'll have people coming up to you after rolling saying things like "Holy crap! What the hell have you been doing?"."

If you have any further questions feel free to PM me.