T Nation

One Year of Preparation

I live in a small town with no access to any form of combat sport. Until around this time next year when I move to the big city I’ll have to make do on my own.

What can I do to prepare for next year? I plan on doing muay thai and BJJ.

Any advice is much appreciated.

How long have you been training in these things? How much experience do you have?

Get stronger. A lot stronger.

I’m already weight lifting and doing tabata sledgehammer training.

I meant sport specific things, like hand eye coordination or flexibility training.

If you know how to shadowbox, do it constantly. It’s as close to fighting as you can get.

If you got a heavy bag, work that motherfucker too.

Maybe some of the grapplers can help you with the BJJ upkeep.

And like CALaw said- get as strong as you can. Hell, go on a bulk. You got the time.

In terms of ground game, how is your basic knowledge of submissions, sweeps, positions, escapes, etc? You can do shadow submissions or work them on a still body whenever you get the chance. Look into getting either or both of these two books, they will help enormously with your individual on-your-own training. They teach two of the best types of jiu jitsu and are highly compatable with each other. Both are intended for no-gi grappling and are among the best for no-gi BJJ techniques.

  1. http://www.amazon.com/Jiu-jitsu-Unleashed-Eddie-Bravo/dp/007144811X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214288552&sr=8-1

  2. http://www.amazon.com/Brazilian-Jiu-Jitsu-Submission-Grappling-Techniques/dp/1931229295/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214288614&sr=1-1

other than that, work on your tumbling. youtube “ukemi” and look for tutorials. become swift and move smooth.

It sounds like you’ve never trained before so I’ll tailor my opinion towards that.

In my personal opinion… do not take it upon yourself to learn any new techniques or try to learn via video or something. More than likely ESPECIALLY WITH STANDUP you’ll just end up developing bad habits.

I can count on one hand the amount of people I’ve met that are coordinated enough to learn via those methods without picking up bad habits and improper technique. One was a dancer at Julliard, the other learned how to do a round off, back handspring, standing back tuck just by WATCHING…

I’m going to side with californialaw.

GET REALLY FUCKING STRONG. This is depending on your current strength levels but these are things I would work on.

Ridiculous grip strength, like crushing coconut style strength (i’m exaggerating but hopefully you get my pt)

You should be able to bust out 1 arm chins (or if you’re a heavier guy, 170+) 90lb weighted chin…preferably even more.

Power clean & Press should be sick (greater than 275)

ass to grass back squat or front squat should be 3 bills easily if not more.

deadlift… whatever would put you in the powerlifting top 100 for your weight class go for it.

Hell I’d get a pair of parallettes and rings, train gymnastics shit exclusively for upper body and train westside for my squat/dl and indirectly power clean.

Personally I wouldn’t even worry about conditioning right now. Take the time to get brutally strong that way its not something you have to worry about later and you can just perform maintainence on it while you’re learning technique.

What you should work on is increasing your work capacity so that you can lift twice a day.

If you learn how to do that properly then when it comes time to put in work on the MT and BJJ you’ll be able to train twice a day without a conversion period because you’re work capacity is already up to par.

I would lift in the morning sometime, in the evening begin with a brisk walk, then move into some light calisthenics, then start using a dragging sled, then some light barbell complexes and/or sprints, finally I’d start lifting just 1-2 exercises and then play with it to figure out what you can do without crash and burning… preferably just splitting your morning workout in 1/2 and raising the volume on your DE and ME work… so instead of 6 lifts above 90% I’d do 8-10. Or if you do DE work in the morning with just one other accessory exercise because you’re going to do the rest of your accessory work at night I would do more sets of DE work…

That way when you eventually train BJJ/MT you can train MT and BJJ in one day in diff. sessions, or add in conditioning, or hit the weight room all without skipping a beat.

You’re in a PRIME position to make HUGE gains but please realize that you only have 52 weeks to do it. So ANY skipped session is time that you can’t make up and time you can’t get back.

So set long term goals, and a few weekly goals and just go for it.

Remember that progression is the most important thing you have going for you as far as lifting and to use those 2.5lb plates.

That little 5lbs you put on every week will add up to 260lbs at the end of your 52 weeks.

So even if you can only power clean the bar right now if you put on just 5lbs a week, you’ll end up power cleaning 305 at the end of the year.

Get a log book, record every weight you hit and beat it every week.

Combine that with proper nutrition and some serious gameness and you’ll have a fearsome physique with awesome strength to match it.

Here’s some shit for you to learn how to get stronger pretty fucking fast.



www.google.com (lol)

Good luck

oh but if you do have an extensive training background already… I’d give you the same advice, but I’d also tell you…

  1. Get some DVD’s. There’s a shitload available, from Eddie Bravo’s stuff to kevin randleman’s takedown instructionals. I mean there’s a crap load out there.


Bas Rutten’s “Big DVD’s of Combat” are very good

Chris Brennan’s DVD’s are good.

some stuff here:

I mean online there’s a shit-ton to learn just from searching.

Imo, you can learn a lot this way but you really need a body to work on. And standup is much much much much harder to learn because it relies a lot on reaction timing and other attributes that are hard to train w/o a knowledgable partner.

Even grappling is hard but its a little more do-able.

  1. Work on your flexibility. Severely underrated. http://stadion.com/column.html
    pretty much all you need is at that site. still is more of a secondary objective in my mind but something to do especially if it’s a weakness. For example, I’m naturally flexible so I just work on maintaining that… but if you’re not and you need to improve it there is no better time than the present.

  2. if you do shadowbox/etc. Video tape yourself and critique. Hell make friends on message board (such as this one) and post the video. Be aware that most people will flame you if you suck, but this board is (thankfully) a pretty safe environment and I doubt any of us would give you too much of a hard time.

3a) Watch a LOT of fights, and critique yourself according to the best. Be honest with yourself when you’re not doing very well, and also be aware that unless you see whoever you’re watching doing something in a demonstration their technique (unless it’s fedor) probably isn’t perfect so tighten up what you’re doing a little more than what you see them doing.

This is where shadowboxing/ drilling like fightinirish said comes in handy.

“My weight is not enough and strength is not enough either, so I have to take the fight by mastery.”

~Fedor Emelianenko

wrestling techniques:

Wow thanks for the in depth information Xen. I’m buying all of the recommended DvDs and books.

My current strength progression is coming along nicely. I’m getting at least 20lbs a month on all of my compound lifts. I just need time, which I thankfully have.

At the moment I’m exclusively training powerlifts with some accessory grip work thrown in, why are olympic lifts better?

Thanks for the advice everyone.

Agreed. People forget that peak conditioning is something you can get in 8-12 weeks. And it interferes with strength gains.

The great thing about “cardio” is that while it’s the first thing to go, it’s the easiest thing to get back.

Strength, otoh, takes years to attain.

So why are people so ape shit about “conditioning” when they don’t have a fight or comp coming up? Beats me.

Incidentally, I’ve been on a lay-off due to circumstances beyond my control. So in a sense, I’m in the same position as the OP. What have I been doing?

Working on strength and getting rid of the last layer of bodyfat. Doing lots of stretching. Some cardio for fat-loss, but not for conditioning. I’ll get my conditioning back soon enough - though the first two weeks back will be cardio hell.

I’m not even reading books or watching YouTube to “study.”

Just training hard. When I get back, I’ll be stronger in an absolute sense (weights have gone up, even on a diet, since I’m not so drained from training), and I’ll be more explosive (even though I’m not a black guy) because I’ll have greater strength and less body weight.

If I had to map out an MMA guys life, I’d have a couple of years of just really heavy training in there.

Getting strong is hard and takes time. Maintaining strength is pretty easy. Once a week is enough once you have a baseline strength.

So get strong as hell. The cardio and technique will come once you start training.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
even though I’m not a black guy[/quote]

Blackthlete is overrated


[quote]LiftSmart wrote:
Wow thanks for the in depth information Xen. I’m buying all of the recommended DvDs and books.

My current strength progression is coming along nicely. I’m getting at least 20lbs a month on all of my compound lifts. I just need time, which I thankfully have.

At the moment I’m exclusively training powerlifts with some accessory grip work thrown in, why are olympic lifts better?

Thanks for the advice everyone.[/quote]

My caveat was:

if you do have an extensive training background already

If you dont, then dont even look at the dvd’s you’ll just confuse yourself. There’s plenty of info online that you can find so dont bother wasting time and resources on shit you can spend on lifting. Save your money… if you’re in the mood to spend hell buy a pair of bands and so some work with accomodating resistance.

Nothing wrong with powerlifting or olifting, just make sure that you train your dynamic effort or speed work because your activation speed is just as important as your max contraction.

I’m interested in your training history and what you’re actually doing right now and how long you’ve been lifting. Because 20lbs per month (if this is on a max) is quite a bit.


Squat: 5x5

CG Bench: 5x5

Bent Row: 5x5

Assistance: 2 Sets Weighted Hypers, 3x6-8 Thor�??s Hammer


Squat: 4x5 75% of Monday�??s max twice: 3rd + 4th sets

Military Press: 4x5

Deadlift: 4x5

Assistance: 3 sets incline weighted sit-ups, Pinch Plates 3x20s


Squat: 4x5 to 85% of Monday, 1x3, 100% of Monday

CG Bench: 4x5 85% of Monday, 1x3, 100% of Monday

Bent Row: 4x5 85% of Monday, 1x3, 100% of Monday

Assistance: Crushers 3x6-8, Zottman Curls 3x6-8

X Day

Tabata Method Sledgehammer

That’s my current program. I haven’t been lifting long, just 4 months or so correctly. I was injured for a couple of months and was stupid for several more. (Did a HIT program and got 0 results)

I sledgehammer train if I feel good on an off day, if I’m very tired I skip it.

My diet is excellent but could always be better.

I wouldn’t do o-lifts do the half versions clean pull power shrugs you can’t mess these exercises up as much as the others read thib’s training handbook or look in the archives for some of his athletic programs this should point you into a more structured full body routine.

great training schedule, 5x5 is perfect. Ride that fucker till the wheels come off afnd when you’re ready to switch to westside bump this thread or make another and i’ll be happy to help you out.

Right now don’t worry about speed work and all that shit just learn your body and what works for you etc

Keep track of the weight (actually write that shit down…trust me) and do your best to beat it every week. (if not in reps in weight or something)

I would say add some skipping and a lot of neck strengthening exercises (neck curls, crunches, shrugs etc). These exercises will benefit you greatly when you begin your martial arts training.

I plan on training in Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai in about a years time as well and hope to compete by the time I am 20 ( I am almost 19). However, I weigh 195 and would guess that my bodyfat % is about 20. My lifts are… okay… but I just started strength oriented training this week. My deadlift is about 350lbs. My squat is probably 200 something… bench is likely above 200…

point is, I have a lot of work to do. Do you suggest a 5x5, Xen…? I am not lean, I weigh about 195 @ 5’ 11", I am bulking up to 205 and it will take me about a year if I did my math right. Right now I’m doin g about 15 chinups without weight and will add on some weight now that I’m strength training. Any advice would be great (I’m broke right now, college, so I can’t buy dvds… but I can download them, heh.)

yes you can do something similar… as always the program itself is kind of a moot point just get stronger but there’s always things that will be better for you specifically.

I’d reccomend going through a few Alwyn Cosgrove articles on fatloss, can’t remember which ones specifically off the top of my head…

Anyway in your situation, maintain (and increase some) strength through lifting and use (primarily) your diet to get leaner. I’d sprinkle in some sprints and metabolic conditioning (complexes, circuits, etc) once or twice a week to increase your metabolism. Overall just raising your energy expenditures during the day (morning walk, evening walk, take the stairs instead of elevator) can do a lot as well considering you’re not lean but you’re not super duper fat either.

you know that getting ‘shredded’ is primarily diet. Depending how quickly you’d like to get lower bodyfat determines what you should do.

Depends on your current strength levels as well, how long you’ve been lifting, and few other factors.

sits in psychiatrist chair

…so…tell me about yourself.