T Nation

Rich Franklin's Training Routine


Rich Franklin's training routine based on UFC All Access show on Spike TV. Obviously what was shown is just a snapshot of his training program and doesn't necessarily indicate what he does year-round.

Cardio - Jog/Sprints 5x/wk
Weights - Circuit Training 3x/wk
Muay Thai - 1x/wk
MMA - 2x/wk

Cardio workout:

-Jog (Treadmill)
20-25 minutes
7-9 mph

30 sec
11 mph
3-10 reps
Rest periods are based on resting workout THR.

Workout THR >180
Resting workout THR <130

His goal is to get his resting heart rate down below 130 between sets to mimic rest periods between rounds. At the time of the show he was down to 45 seconds.


10 machine circuit
10 circuit rotations
~15 reps per machine (~1500 total reps)
45-60 minutes with no rest between sets (he jogs from machine to machine)

All exercises shown were on machines except for curls:

Bench Dips
Cable Triceps Ext.
Lat Pull Down (Straight Bar and Close Grip)
Seated Rows
EZ Bar Curls
Overhead Press (Plate-loaded machine and Smith)
Leg Press (Bi- and Unilateral)
Some funky-ass squat machine contraption that I had never seen before
Leg Extension
Hip Abduction
Seated Hamstring Curls


And allow me to swing from his nuts for a moment. Check out the break in his hand from round 2 vs. Loiseau. He continued on to dominate the next 3 rounds and still punched with his broken hand.

(x-ray on the right, 2nd metacarpal)


His weight lifting may not be ideal, but the man is nevertheless a beast.


I'm suprised he uses so many machines. I think a circuit using free weights and sandbags would be a lot better.


I can't believe he can still fight after breaking a 2nd metacarpal. That is a nasty break. Anyone know if that increases the chance of a rebreak in the same place?


I caught the first part of that show (until right after he finished his weight training). You have to wonder if what they showed was really what he does or if he just did something different for the cameras.

What surprised me most was his breakfast shake. He seemed to have the basics on proper nutrition, which I think a lot of MMA athletes probably lack.


I must have missed the nutrition part. What is in that shake of his?

Franklin is an incredible fighter.

Who can beat him in his weight class?


If you're looking at an athlete's program through the eyes of a T-Nation disciple than almost all athlete's have poor programs.

Despite this they are still the champions of their sport!

Food for thought.


Billy Rush handles nutrition for a number of fighters, and has stated that Franklin is perfect since he follows instruction to the letter.

Another thing is that these are not stupid guys. Many have college degrees, and being that their livelihood is based on physical performance, they know proper nutrition and training is key to their success.

Several big name fighters use training methods that invovle poodles and jumping up and down.


Steroids, duh!

Actually he said he puts protein powder, oats, a banana, and flaxseed oil.

To another poster on this thread who talked about their nutrition:

I don't doubt that these guys are not stupid. Definitely wasn't trying to say that at all. But if you look at some of their physiques, you'll realize that their nutrition isn't exactly optimal. Hell even Chuck Liddell looks like he could stand to drop some body fat in most of his fights. I'm just saying that there could probably be some improvements.

Regarding their training methods and how different they seem from T-Nation followers:

We all know that poor training programs can be overcome by sheer intensity, determination, and grit (along w/genetics). I've personally seen guys who train like shit out perform everyone. Like I said about nutrition, it just seems like there would be more optimal ways to train.


I can't believe there are some comments on here and some people on here who think they know more and can improve on what he's doing.


I thought about this and concluded that determined most of athletic success is determined by intangible attributes. Determination, work ethic, etc. seem to make more of a difference than anything else and can more than compensate for less than optimal training programs.

In addition, I think people often become too paranoid about overtraining the more they read, which is bad to think about for a fighter. If you want to read an inspiring story: http://www.judoinfo.com/kimura3.htm


I couldnt agree more.


It seems to be some kind of T-Nation signature.

"Sure, he may be the best athlete on THIS planet and his muscles may be 5 times as large as my 12"ers, but don't you think he should be using 'insert T-program here' and using 5x5 supercondensation 3x3 80% one rep max 3x body weight full body three times a week training with only free weight powercleans like me?"


From an interview:

Rich includes swimming in his weekly workouts and tends to do weight-training exercises that will work his body?s larger, core muscle groups.

"We follow a good weight regimen incorporating heavy lifting and endurance training that will also help us with getting out of holds and stuff like that. You know, fighting isn?t all about how much you can bench or squat, but how well the muscles perform in there. Any kind of power movement or compound motion for the muscles - that?s what I?m really into.

"We do a total body workout three times a week, rather than one body part a day. So we usually take the compound motions where, if it?s chest we?ll do bench press, or if it?s back we might do deadlifts or cleans. But we try to stick with the compound motions as much as we can."

Source: http://www.knucklepit.com/mixed-martial-arts-rich_franklin.htm


I don't think I know more but I think there are some things that can be improved with these athletes' training and nutrition. This would allow them to dominate their sports even more. Hell Michael Jordan wasn't perfect and could have improved in some areas. If you look at some of those guys and say "hey he must follow a very strict diet" then you're shittin yourself.

And I agree with KombatAthlete, heart is way more important than nutrition. But you have to wonder what difference proper nutrition would make.



If you think that Jordan would be a better athlete if he ate more oatmeal and lean chicken then you're mistaken.

And I'm not sure how lifting Sandbags would allow rich franklin to dominate the sport even more. Its impossible to quantify.


I didn't say shit about Jordan's diet or sandbags. :slightly_smiling:


Hey guys, first of all none of us have any idea how Franklin trains or what he eats! We only know what we have been told or shown. And that might just be a very tiny glimpse into the totality of his training. It may even be all deception as well for that matter.



Good points, Zeb.