T Nation

Roadwork 2.0: the Comeback



I thought this would make for an interesting topic. Especially since S&C experts keeping coming into this section citing studies to 'prove' that there is no point doing roadwork at all.

(I do not do roadwork at the moment but then again I'm not a professional competitor so I can get away with having decent conditioning levels from sparring and cycling. I will, however, re-introduce it at some point)


Good article, thanks for posting.

The trouble with the people who shit on roadwork is that they view it as some kind of steady state jog for 5 miles. In my view, roadwork is going for a run, not a jog, and that means pushing to cover a set distance as quickly as possible. Alternatively, something I've always imitated, is the way the great fighters in all the footage are never actually straight jogging for hours on end. They are running up hills, shadow boxing, running backwards, sidesteppin, bobbing, weaving, throwing in pressups etc. I think you very rarely see a top level combat athlete jogging sedately for a few miles. If they are, it's probably just a gentle recovery run to get the muscles pumping.


on that point though

I have never seen anyone post a legit study that actually disproves the benefits of jogging

Almost every time its been someone posting a study that they think supports their opinion, but if they actually stopped to read the study it doesnt support it at all. From memory a good example of that was some really dumb selection bias by one of the T-Nation authors in one of the subsections recently.


I'm always enraged when Martin Rooney opens his mouth on the subject. "Train like a warrior!" Um, yeah, nice sales pitch. But even though I wish it was true, I don't believe a 600lbs deadlift will have a bigger carryover to martial arts than the ability to run five miles hard.

In the same vein, the 'mantathlon' was blatantly designed to cater to its audience's strengths. "I'm a REAL man because I can curl 0.5xBWx15!!" Good for you. Now go buy a tapout shirt.


This place has gone to shit.


I really like Joel Jamison and his take on conditioning. That is a really good article. Back when I was still competing, between 2008-2010..he was posting stuff on sherdog and people were very very skeptical at first. This guy works with top fighters in the game. He started his own site, the 8 weeks out site, right around 2009 I think. I read everything he posted on that site, got myself a heart rate monitor and really implemented his methods into my training.

I was in the best shape for fighting since I was in high school (where I would run track and cross country before going to the boxing gym in the evening). I even gained strength while improving my conditioning.

Like he says, its about the heart rate, not necessarily jogging. I would do bag work, jump rope, shadowboxing...etc with my heart rate in the 120-150 range for 50+ minutes. If I wasnt working and in grad school now, I would do a similar thing with sled work.

If you think about it, it is not really that different than powerlifting - build a base with lots of low intensity volume, then peak later on.


I use heart rate monitor now too...as a result of Joel's articles and experiences. I still do old-fashioned road work...because it works for me..and doesn't take away from anything else I'm doing for conditioning. Besides...I will have no choice when I go to Thailand in April..lol. Just how it is sometimes....


put a marathon runner on the mats with me... he would tire in less than 3 minutes.

put me on the road, the runner would toast me

if you're a runner, run. Just don't have this fucked up illusion it's going to somehow better you as anything else.


A marathon is a 25 mile run.

Typical roadwork = 3-10 miles as fast as possible. Spot the difference.


i got Jamieson's book (Ultimate MMA Conditioning) a while back and really dig it.... there is a little bit of scientific terms, but the cool thing with his book, is he explains what to do, and the why. not just "steady state cardio," but steady state cardio, because it increases heart stroke volume (i think)....

i'll dig the book up, but for those interested in the how's and why's of improving their fight endurance, i highly recommend it...


if all he/she did was run, then i would expect them to tire...

but i really doubt you're gonna tire out Nick Diaz on the mats, even though he wastes all that time on triathlons....


being a wise ass probably wont get you far in life. but with that said, you missed the point.


Nick trains both, but its the mat work that gives him mat endurance. Running helps of course, but only so much.


Does anyone have a study they can quote that shows road work doesn't work. Anecdotal evidence doesn't hold water. Your feelings don't matter. A double blind study is the only thing that will have any real value, full stop. So unless you have it , with a link. Your just wasting oxygen. We have enough studies that prove the benefits of steady state cardio, and now it affects the CNS and the CV systems as well as metabolism and shifting your oxygen disassociation curve. I would even settle for some study that shows something , anything works as well. Doesn't even have to be better. None of what I have said is antagonistic, so don't take it that way. Just produce the science.


If you want to know the science, go out there and experiment rather than demanding we conjure it up somehow. Science is theory, just like all of our presumptions based on our own experiences. Even if 20 research teams set out to conquer your question, they will all come back with different findings, and you know that.

Instead of saying, "just produce the science" go and get it yourself.


The idea that roadwork doesn't work for conditioning for fighters is an idea that non-fighters came up with.

All fighters do roadwork. Those that don't, tend to lose. It has been tested by thousands of fighters over hundreds of years. I could give two fucks what some know-it-all writer or poster on a bodybuilding board thinks.


Yeah ok how many of those sc coaches have been in the ring? road work is incredible important in boxing. yeah sprints are important to but running is a staple. you wont find 1 world champion who doesn't consider running an absolute must


this is also what legendary sc coach mackie shillstone does. you can use a heart rate monitor to tell if youre overtrained as well


roberto duran had the greatest legs in the game


Most people just see fists flying for a few seconds before a break in action when they watch fights. They don't see, or see the reason for, the nearly constant movement that creates angles/positioning. That's why a fight is seen as multiple sprints-people only see the punches and don't understand what's happening.