T Nation

Rate My Program Please


Just wondered if everyone can see if this is a decent program? i train MMA twice a week and lift 4 times a week this is my program:
1. Deadlift 5/3/1
2. Clean 5/3/1
3. Hang snatch 3x3
4. RDL or GM 3 x 10
5. Cable scarecrows 3 x 7
6. Swiss ball Jacknife 3 x 7

1. BOX Squat 5/3/1
2. Jump squat with barbell (30kg) 3x3
3. Jumps 3x3
4. 5x5 ATG squats
5. Single leg squats on bench 3 x 7
6. Batwings 3 x 7

1. Bench 5/3/1
2. Clap pushups - 3 x 3
3. Close grip bench 5x5
4. DB rows 5x5
5. Incline bench 5x5
6. Barbell rows 5x5
7. 20 pullups + 20 dips
8. Pallof press 3x7

1. OHP 5/3/1
2. Jerk 3x3
3. Pullups with 5kg 4x7
4. OHP 5x5
5. Db bench 3x7
6. Db rows 3x7
7. Flys 3x7
8. Curls and extensions 3x7
9. Windmills 3 x 5 each side


When you do MMA 2 times a week and lift 4 times a week, don't you think this would belong in bodybuilding/powerlifting training? If you wan't to get better at MMA, the advice everyone here is going to give you is cut your lifting to once or twice a week tops and train more MMA, the way I see it right now MMA is basically just cardio you do with your lifting and you would get better advice from another subforum.


I tend to agree. I'd tell you its too much volume if you wanted to fight but if fighting is secondary to building muscle, I'd say go to the bodybuilding forum and post this up so they can help you out.


Thanks guys, I can't train more than twice a week yet for atleast another year and I'm just training at the moment cos I'm too young to fight, but I prioritise fighting so do you still think I should cut down on the lifting?


Well, the general priority for fighting is usually SKILL over CONDITIONING(so you have enough energy to use skill in a fight and train skills at practice)over WEIGHTS. The idea being that while being stronger than the other guy is always an advantage, being a better fighter entails much more.

If you cannot make it to MMA training/class more than 2 x a week than I do not think focussing on bringing strength up now is a mistake. Getting all the "newbie" gains you can now, while not getting hurt, so you can necessarily go into maintenance mode with weightroom work later is a fairly solid idea.

Now, there are a lot of people who will tell you that 2 x a week is not enough for any fighter. It is certainly not optimal, but if it is all you can make than it is better than 0 x a week. If you are just starting out I am also of the mind that trying it for a while before you start making sacrifices to train more makes some sense. I will suggest 1 or 2 short sessions away from your training class where you work on things that you drilled in the previous class, or things you know you need work on. You do not need to treat these sessions as full on workouts. You may not even break a sweat doing them depending on what it is you do.

Don't worry about not having access to gym gear for these workouts. If you don't have a heavybag, then just do something else. Work on "shrimping", or "hip-heisting", or footwork, or shadow boxing, etc. My suggestion is to do 10-15min. of something everyone needs to practice followed by 10-15 minutes of something you suck at. Or, this works especially well if you cannot afford the time to shower up post workout, spend 20 minutes getting a few quality reps of whatever the hell you did in the last practice. This is a way to "steal" some time and get an extra workout.

I feel compelled to ask, why are you unable to go to fight training more than 2 X a week? Are you in school? Is it a work schedule issue?


Robert A


ive been doing mma for near 2 years now, but ill definite try some drills at home, sorry to ask but do you have any heavy bag drills? Also, i can only go twice a week because of school, the gym is an hour and a half away and there's also the money problem. Thanks for the advice by the way :slight_smile:




Pretty much I'd agree with Robert. As someone who has trained in MMA/Jiu Jitsu for the last ten years+ I think there's a lot you can do to build skill and conditioning outside of the classes.

First up, get your conditioning level up. The general consensus seems to be that long slow distance running is NOT the way to go except for weight control. I favour:

sled dragging/pulling 8 x 40 metre sprints. Recovery between sprints is walking pace dragging for 40 meters.

Circuit conditioning. Typically I aim for 10 x 30 sec 'rounds' e.g.
heavy bag punching
sit throughs
sand bag shoulder
dummy suplex
dummy g'n'p
band resisted shoot
sand bag bear hug

Interval sprints on a cross trainer (Very boring)

Bas Rutten's tapes - this is a go to default when I need 'someone' to tell me what to do.

I lift twice a week using 5/3/1 but I'm old with a job and family and it takes me a long time to recover :-).

You can also skill train, ground skills like shrimping drills, hip escapes and stand up on the bags and ball.

Plan it out and throw yourself in to it. Write down what you want and record what you're doing. Change up the circuits so you don't get bored or build a tolerance to specific exercises. There is no substitute for 'live' training and sparring but you can make good progress outside training sessions in the gym.

Good luck.



I just had a stroke. And my head exploded. Totally.


Its cool. I just realized that nothing I ever write makes it into "the consensus". I have no idea why you are excluded, but there it is.

Are we the 1%? If we are, I feel I should get a nicer watch. And I just bought this fuckin' Timex too.


Robert A



Simply "working" the heavy Bag - This is the one that gets done the most. Let the bag swing naturally from your strikes and move around it. Throw different combo's and try to stay relaxed and in balance while hitting hard. You can emphasize different things or strikes easily. This works best for rounds or time.

50's or 100's - Just throw 50 or one hundred of a strike or combination on the bag. Power and form are the buzz words. Go for mastery of the technique. Taking an extra breath between reps does not matter if it means that all the strikes are quality. This could be something like "100 hard round house kicks", or it could be "50 of double jab, step off line". Just get the practice in.

I have heard this called "hammers" or "cannonballs"- This works for Thai pads as well as a heavy bag. Get in your fighting stance. For whichever side is back, throw a hard straight with no telegraph. Go back to guard. Then a hard elbow. Back to guard. A hard roundhouse kick. Back to guard. A hard knee. Back to guard. That is 1. You can also do it with the lead sid by using a hook and switch kicks/knees. This is about power, plain and simple. Emphasis is on hitting hard from your fighting stance. THIS IS NOT A COMBINATION. It may feel awkward. That is fine. It seems to work better with 3 minute rounds.

Strike and Sprawl drills- Any combination, followed by a sprawl, followed by standing up and throwing a punch or a knee. Repeat. It can be done at a medium pace for rounds. Or non stop for short bursts, working up to a minute. If you do it non-stop it fries your lungs/wind.

Since you are going to be operating a bit behind the eight ball in terms of practice time (since you can only get formal coaching 2 X a week) I recommend three points of emphasis for these extra workouts.

1.) Working on things YOU do poorly- If you have trouble with something in class, or you repeatedly get caught or cannot perform in a situation you are going to have to do what you can to get extra work on your own. The option of just doing what you enjoy, or what your coach/teacher has you do in class is not going to fly in your case. You will not have the "in class" time to even hope that your weaknesses get addressed normally.

You have 2 years experience so you likely have some idea about your weak points. If they can at all be worked on your own, do so. The obvious weakpoint is going to be "NEW STUFF". Most everyone is bad at something they try for the first time. At 2 times a week there may be a lot of calender time between a "new" technique and when you see it again in the class. Thus, simply reviewing what you did in class for 20 minutes or so becomes a very good learning tool. Even if between shadow boxing, shadow wrestling, and the heavy bag you can only "sort of" do it, do it.

2) Working on things we all need to practice - There are certain movements and techniques that are absolutely fundamental to martial arts/mma/fighting. A big part of training is simply working these movements over, and over. You can absolutely do this on your own. Because of your situation you must do this on your own.

I am of the mind everyone needs to be able to jab. I did not say every boxer. I said everyone. In fact I will go the route of saying if you only have one punch, make it the jab. Working a variety of drills that train the jab at home will help you. It is usually the easiest blow to land. Even if it only breaks the other guys rhythm it will do a lot to keep you out of trouble. Presumably you are going to be sparring with people who get more training time, and thus more experience, than you. This means that you cannot afford to let them dictate the terms of the engagement. Failing that, simply covering and throwing jabs will allow you space to move and survive some rounds that you would not have otherwise. So, practice the jab. Practice the double jab. Work the jab as a way to set other techniques up.

The Cannonball drill practices the 8 strikes that damn near every MMA fighter throws/trains. For grappling I submit that you should be shrimping/elbow escaping, bridge and rolling, hip heisting, bridging and turning, going from turtle to on your back and then returning without leaving space at our hips or neck, and standing up. You can practice all of these by yourself.

3) Work on your strong points - I know eliminating weakness gets a lot of press. It should. In your case I am going to argue that it is just as important, maybe more important, to make your strengths even stronger. With limited training time and other priorities, school, you are always going to have weaknesses and things that need work. You need to have some things that work well enough to give you an A game. So, whatever techniques already work for you, practice the hell out of 'em. Find ways to use them more often. If your right straight is your best punch. Stand, move, and fight in a way that gives you chances to land it. Practice combos that have a right straight in them. Do this with whatever you are good at, or whatever seems to work well.

The reason I am writing all of this is that if you have to train very part time, you are likely going to get tooled on some. I am not trying to be condescending. You are going to get tapped when rolling and hit when sparring. The two things that will minimize your injuries, and make training fun enough that you stick with it are defense/surviving and being able to pull off some techniques. This way you will tap less, and have "something" to try. For stand up, a good guard, and a good jab will make you harder to "beat". On the mat good posture and defensive positioning will make you tougher to tap. This means you can have more fun, and learn more while you are training.

You can make great strides at 2 x plus a week and still do well in school, but the training has to not suck so bad/be enjoyable enough that you stick to it.


Robert A


WTF? Did I say something wrong?


For the most part no. I should point out the the bulk of your post, the part with the suggestions, is good. Irish wasn't highlighting that part.

It is more that somehow the message of "Do not just do long distance running for your cardio if you are a fighter and think that covers it" turned into "No fighter does roadwork longer than 200M sprints". The funny thing is damn near every fighter seems to either currently spend, or has spent, a considerable amount of time running several miles at a varied pace.

It seems like there are some people out there, who have posted here, that have watched the behind the scenes training showing more anaerobic or non-traditional cardio, read some articles about "conditioning for fighters" (often penned by folks who should not be speaking for all fighters), and pop in w/ the conclusion that fighters do not, and never should, jog or do "roadwork". This of course ignores the fact that most fighters, and damn near every decent combat athlete I have ever spoken with, spend some time doing traditional roadwork or spent YEARS doing it in the past so they have a huge base in it.

The "not the way to go" part sort of invokes baggage.

To clarify:

Long, slow running has value because it:

helps with weight control by burning calories and may do something to keep muscle hypertrophy down(this seems weird on a Biotest site but if you are at the top of your weight class you do not always want to get bigger).

Has beneficial effects on the heart muscle itself.

Is not as "taxing" physiologically or mentally as higher intensity work. This is a big one for someone running a rugged training schedule. If everything you do requires death metal, stimulants, angst, hate, and your best "murder face" than you might run yourself into the ground or injure yourself well before your opponent gets a chance to.

Requires less thought/attention to reap the benefits (just do not be a schmuck and run along a road with both ear buds from your I-pod in). Not pay attention during some kettlebell drills and you could literally fracture your skull. Go for a run. Just run. No psyche up. No need to get a calculator for percentages.

Can even help with recovery or mental relaxation/focus depending on intensity and distance.

I am sure there are more. None of that means "all you gotta do is jog, bro" but it also doesn't mean "just do barbell complexes and sprints" either. It certainly doesn't mean "fighters don't run".


Robert A


Yea. There's NO consensus on this.

Every fighter does long distance running. And as soon as I start doing it myself, my endurance in the ring skyrockets.

Sprints are good, but only as a part of a larger program that's got you putting in the miles.

This shit about interval training, complexes, and fighters succeeding "in spite" of their training is bullshit cooked up by internet gurus who've never been in a ring themselves.



Running, sprinting, jogging seems to be the most argued movement on this board. Personally, I do it all - long "slow" distance, intervals and 15-20 min intense pace. Thats 3 days of running in a week. Seems to be effective (or maybe only one day is really helpful and the other two are wasted/detrimental).

I am all for new evidence in training programs, but if something has worked for people all around the world for as long as anyone can remember, I don't see how you can go to far wrong.


old arguments aside-

OP if you are doing MMA only 2x a week.

then do what ever.
until one interferes with the other.

looks like you have laid out a 531 program with some 'different'
rep and set schemes

Looks like you need to figure out those a bit too.

and you are throwing two MMA classes on top.

doing deads, cleans, and hang snatches on the same day isnt really 531 or that productive
doing box squat and ATG 5x5 isn't going to do much for you either

and Im really not sure where you are going with 3x3 clap pushups
20 dips 20 pullups- if that is your total number of reps
dont bother.

I wont comment on the 3 kinds of bench in the same workout-

take this to the BB or PL forum and get more specific advice there.


Its the Anti-training training experts pushing their agenda! :wink:)

1.static stretching will reduce your power

2.aerobic training is catabolic & will slow you down

3.calistenics are waste of time-you should only lift heavy weights

4.swimming will mess up your proprioreception on land

5.Olympic lifts dont build power,they just express power & you also need 2 years with broomstick to learn to heave the weight up

6.the whole overtraining paranoia

7.masturbation will cause blindness :)))


I can't read all of that list because it is blurry. Must be something wrong with my web browser....where is the refresh button?


...and not to mention wrist artrithis :)))))


Not to take anything away from strentgh,but if you train in any MMA club,its rarely that the strongest man there is the best fighter.