T Nation

Strength Camp Power Program


*I am not looking for advice on the program itself or recommendations to follow other programs. I do not feel the need, desire or competence to do heavy squats. This is not meant to be disrespectful but I do not want to confuse myself with contradictory advice which will send me routine hopping. *

I have started a log in preparation for my Elliot Hulse strength program for MMA/grappling.

It is as follows:

Monday - Deadlift
Tuesday - Bench
Wednesday - Overhead press
Thursday - Deadlift
Friday - Bench
Saturday - Overhead press

week 1 - 3x3
week 2 - 5x2
week 3 - 6x1
week 4 - 1x5 deload

Never hit failure, 50%1RM on deload week. minimal body weight abdominal and upper back work to prevent imbalances (20 pullups one day, twenty ab raises the next etc)

Now for the questions. I have a really weak grip, small hands too, which means I can only lift around 125KG for a one to two rep max. This program uses weights that stop short of failure, I was wondering if using chalk on the 3x3/5x2 weeks and using straps for my 6x1 week would build grip while also letting me lift more and gain strength without my grip failing me?

Belt or no belt? I have a big Inzer like belt from Iron gym, cheaper and poorer quality but perfectly fine. Should I use it, for what exercises and or what week of the program?

Following the deload week should I have a week off or is the deload week in effect a week off?


Build your grip it's equally important for PLing, and MMA, since your not training to failure, just use chaulk and let your grip catch up. Do your deads double over hand grip. Mabey throw some Kirk rows in with the deads (after) couple sets. He was a famous PLer with small hands, and used this exercise to improve his grip, and traps (google it) I have no problem with the routine, deadlift to me has more carry over to MMA, than squat.

I hope your doing some assistance exercises though, at the very least some facepulls, and pullups (between bench, and overhead press ?) Other wise your quickly going to become front dominate, and unbalanced, this would be bad for shoulder health, and MMA in general. I'm sure you just didn't list your assistance work, since nobody builds a routine without upper back work, especialy MMA, remember a strong upper back has more carry over to a fast punch, than a strong chest, just sayin. Other wise I think you'll gain, and learn much from this routine.

I see now where you mention chins every other day, somthing I guess, but I would recomend 2pulls for every push. Shoulder health is paramount for an MMA fighter-face pulls between presses wouldn't be a big deal, and could save you large. Not trying to mess with your program Bro, just worried about your shoulders. Goodluck


Oh ya no belt, your training to be an athlete first, PLer second. Note to self read full post before you answer


Thanks for the friendly advice mate. I did include what assiatance lifts I will be doing but did not really go into much detail, sorry about that.

I will be doing pullups, hanging leg raises and chinups to prevent imbalances, again not to failure and only around 20-25 per session.

So for example on monday after 3x3 for deadlift i would do either 20 pullups, HLR or chinups. I am hesitant to do bodybuilding style assistance like 5/3/1 routines do because I don't want to exhaust myself.

Also your good advice should of come a year ago! My left shoulder is jacked because of all press no pull. Thanks man :slightly_smiling:


If you're training for MMA why bother to bench? I feel like this will be a waste of time/energy for your goals. I am by no means an expert, but you will be doing a whole lot of pressing. 2 bench days and 2 press days has hell written all over it.

If you are actively doing MMA I don't think you will like the 6 day lifting schedule very much, but you do whatever works for you mate.

I cannot imagine 4 press days a week. You better have iron elbows.


Can I ask what accessory exercises would you recommend on what days at what rep/sets?

I was thinking:

kirk shrugs-4x4-6

Barbell rows-4x4-6

Overhead press-3x3

kirk shrugs-4x4-6

Barbell rows-4x4-6

Overhead press-3x3

The accessories are mainly to offset the warned about imbalances and also develop grip strength. Will throw some very limited abdominal work in at the end once or twice a week too.


On pressing days, lots of pulls, mainly chins and face pulls.

Deadlift days, do core work. Zercher holds and landmines are the best.

Everyday, do 100 band pull aparts. You're essentially good to go.


Makes sense. Cheers man.


Do Some Squats -- all the grip strength in the world won't help if you don't have the power to drive through somebody, lift them up and slam them down. (this comes, for the most part, from the bodies core and thighs) both are developed by squatting. Squatting builds power. You are short changing yourself on your over all development if you don't work with your legs. You don't have to squat huge weight and you can find somebody to show you a proper squat form. On line, even. Hell I can tell you how to do it and not even be there. People think it is magic voodoo to learn to do a serviceable squat.


The problem I have is I have had a well known owner of a quite well known gym where olympic weightlifters train show me how to squat and watch me squatting and approve of my form, it still hurt my knees afterwards.

I was hit by a car going around 30 mph a few years back and my knees took most of the impact. I am pretty sure it is not my form, rather it is my body.

I have however thought about doing Low bar squats. I will look into doing them after a few cycles on this current setup.


Awesome news! Low bar squat is the way to go Allows for a better range of motion that makes sure the entire thigh (quads and gluts and hips) gets improvement..

Make sure you keep your toes angled out at around 30 degrees and make sure you keep your knees forced out wide -- knees caving in toward the centerline of your body makes my 53 year old knees (kicked by horses, screwed by football, hammered by years of running and ground pounding in the military) pitch a bitch. Keep the form strong and my knees actually feel better on a day to day basis.

Good luck with the MMA! You gotta have all your ducks in a row to do well in those gladiatorial pastimes. LOL


Thanks dude!


Find and watch dave tates "so you think you can squat" series, your routines looking alot better, I'd throw some light (sets of 20) face pulls in between sets of bench. It actually makes me stronger in the bench to have pump in upper back, other than that routine looks perfect. Your going to love Kirk rows bro, after final set of deads, lighten weight a bit, from the top of a deadlift pull the bar up to belly button, and hold for a 3-5 count, go back to arms hanging, and repeat. Best grip, and trap builder ever. Glad to hear your going to squat, I was going to recomend one of your dead days be a deficit to make up for not squatting, but I think squattings better, watch that vid series, and Goodluck


Deadlift - 3x3/5x2/6x1
Kirk shrugs - 4x4-6
HLR - 3x10

Bench press - 3x3/5x2/6x1
Barbell rows - 4x4-6
Band pull aparts inbetween press sets

Overhead press - 3x3/5x2/6x1
Band pull aparts inbetween press sets

Deadlift - 3x3/5x2/6x1
Kirk shrugs - 4x4-6
HLR - 3x10

Bench press - 3x3/5x2/6x1
Barbell rows - 4x4-6
Band pull aparts inbetween press sets

Overhead press - 3x3/5x2/6x1
Band pull aparts inbetween press sets

All set, you guys have been a big help.

On a side note, I am thinking about alternating between deadlift and squat every three months on this program.

I am going to find some coaching for a couple sessions before I do it though, with knees like these I figure I should probably do it properly.


Make one of your deadlift days some type of clean: Power cleans, high pulls, snatch grip pulls etc.

Make one of your squat days - a loaded carry : Farmers walk, walking sqaut, zercher walks etc.

Everything else is fine.