T Nation

Treadmill Challenge


hi guys..not sure if im in the good section but anyway.
Saw a video today of the first tuf season, the episode with the THREADMILL CHALLENGE an it seems brutale.its goes like

5 minutes at 5 mph
5 minutes at 6 mph
5 minutes at 7 mph
5 minutes at 8 mph
5 minutes at 9 mph
5 minutes at 10 mph

a good 30min workout!!

Just wondering if some people did it before and your comments..thanks


mmm nope..but have you ever done the BRUCE test? the bruce test is BRUTAL!!!!! but not as BRUTAL as ARNOLD dddddyyyyyaaaaaaarrrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Cahm Ohn!! Get Down!!!


sounds far less than dope. what does that even challenge? your ability to rotate your legs on a treadmill?

I think almost anyone who put in regular time on the tread mill would be able to do it in less than 2 weeks. That being said i dont think it would be any indicator of or assistance to stamina or heart in the ring/cage/mat/bed.

You would just be very sweaty and out 30 minutes of time you could have been getting thai pad rounds in or a 30 minute shark tank.



Avo's right. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), in which you walk for a certain time, sprint for a certain time and run/jog for a certain time, and do it a few times, would be better for a fight (I might be wrong tho). With this HIIT training, the intervals should be short, but intense.


While I don't like running on a treadmill instead of a track or a park, I do think aerobic endurance is an underrated tool for combat sports. No matter what new-age sports science may say, the anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness is IMO, strong, and the science disproving it (that I've seen) isn't that strong.

This of course doesn't mean that anaerobic endurance training isn't very important for MMA also, if not more so.


it's not even that the progression is bad or that running hard for a long time is bad or even that running is bad, It's that running at any pace/interval/energy system on a treadmill is not good training for a fight.

Think about it this way; why run when you can fight? MMA is a very technically diverse and broad ranging sport. is one of the skills needed the ability to run? hopefully not.

you want to do some HIIT energy systems? Why run when you can hit thai pads, pummel, or do a takedown/throw circle drill? running is time spent not learning dick all about fighting. Why not double up on training both your energy systems AND your technical movement/ nervous patterning?

Want to train some aerobic endurance systems? Why run when you can do a 30 minute sharktank (ground fighting with fresh opponent each minute. no stops. punish stalling with 2 on 1 for 30s or burpee penalties etc.) or a 30 minute continuous pace round of thaipads, or a 30 minutes of takedown technical repetition?

I guarantee that if you strap on [heh.] your favorite heart rate monitor thingy, or whatever it is that you choose to measure energy system type, you will come up with similar or better heart rate ranges with appropriate sport-specific drills than you will with some totally awesome running on the tread mill. [< This is ONE huge run-on sentence. I use these HUGE sentences to compensate for my infantile PENIS]

So count up YOUR total hours of training available in a week. Looks like a big number for some. think about what you want to or have to do in those hours. Is it perfecting the cross? getting better rotation on the round kick? faster throws? Not sucking like a short-toothed gay man at your BJJ? Strengthening your legs to prevent knee-injury? building the back to make a fast punch? Maybe even rounds of sparring to get a feel for the whole game?

how much time you got for running? even if you do have a minute or two ask yourself if that is really the BEST use of that time.

How many kicks could you put into a bag in that running time? in 30 minutes you could get hundreds of reps. It's those hundreds of reps that make a forgettable kick that you can block with your arm into a kick that will break your arm. When you see experienced guys with surgical precision and power you know they've done that shit all day everyday.

And when you see a strong, fast, conditioned athlete lose a fight it's almost always from lack of technical ability or lack of timing. both technique and timing evolve from specific training. All the gas in the world wont buy you an inch if you got no idea where to use it. Houston Alexander is a good example of that. dudes got 3 balls, could be called a 'tantric boxer' and wrestles like a rape victim.

Running has been a staple of the past for other sports such as boxing, wrestling etc. but you have to critically think if it is the MOST OPTIMAL choice for a technically diverse sport like MMA. Think into the future for yourself as an athlete or athletes you train. What will they benefit more from?

Running never made anyone more technical at fighting. probably didn't make them tough, strong or fast either. probably only made them tired. There's lots of better ways to make someone tired. you could write a overly-long post for example.



Boxers + Road Work are synonymous for a reason.


Avocado, you make a great point, but that's not always practical. Sometimes you don't have the facilities or the training partners to do some of that. In that case I say something is better than nothing, although I wouldn't recommend this particular protocol. Maybe as a benchmark for aerobic and at the length is goes, anaerobic conditioning, but that's about it.

If I had to opportunity to just fight train all day every day I would, but for most of us that's just not an option.


id much prefer to do what i did before my fight, 10 sets of 3 minute knees on the thai pads with 1 minute breaks doin crunches


That running thing has no specificity towards combat whatsoever. It's not even a great gauge of potential athletic ability. They might as well of had a vertical jump test and see how much each guy can overhead jerk.

I do GPP and roadwork stuff well outside of fight prep. Thats when you can dedicate a lot of time trying new shit. Crossfit type WOD's and what not are great GPP to stay in fit shape but when it comes to fight time you need something VERY specific.

some of the stuff I like to do for fight prep:


Visualize my opponent work on strategy. Much more like a moving mediation than it is just a warmup. I work on my form a lot here as well. Usually VERY fast and explosive but sometimes i slow down.

Thaipads with my coach:

very much see and hit, type thing. I know my distance so the pad up a certain way means to use a certain strike. If i cant jab it from there, then i teep it, if i can't throw a hook, i throw an elbow, etc.
He uses the thai pads to hit back so i have to defend. It's like sparring with someone except that i can hit full power on the pads. It's also quite like a protractor because he constantly corrects my form.


5 kicks right side, punches (right cross/left hook, all power) 5 kicks left side. 3 min x 3-5 rounds. My training partner is constantly pushing me. He moves around so i have to chase him, or i have to fight on my heels. Also if we have someone else around we have a clicker so he measures how many 5/10/5's i did the first round and I can't drop below that, but i have to try and beat it. No breaks, no jabbing, just push push push.


5 knees, 3 hooks, 5 knees... same as the above description except this time i want to stay in the distance to knee at all times. so i can throw a knee, clinch throw my other 4, spin my opponent out into my hooks, then re-clinch.

Keeping a fast pace is the biggest part of drills like these...

Honestly only about 20-30% of your time in the gym should be dedicated to lifting or conditioning that isn't specifically fight oriented.


i remember seeing that on TUF....it's actually part of thier circuit as a station. so, all the other stuff they do, THEN that...

only one guy was able to do it.


IIRC it didn't look like that, but I might be wrong. Workouts like that do have a place in combat sports, but only on an irregular basis (yes, irregular basis), and this is why:

They are meant to train for mental toughness. That's it.

As it is, and as mentioned by other posters, such a treadmill progression lacks specificity, and, most important of all, it does not address the #1 physical attribute required in combat sports in general, and MMA/grappling/wrestling in particular: a good "anaerobic" gas thank.

A treadmill can be turned into a good exercise equipment by focusing it for that purpose alone. A good example is in this clip with Judo Olympian and BJJ blackbelt Rhadi Ferguson where he's aiming at training under incomplete recovery:

Another interesting example is this 2-minute workout aiming at reproducing/mimicking the anaerobic demands of a 2-minute long exchange:

The important thing when training for combat sports, or any sports for that matter is not the tools, nor the perceived level of brutality, but the modalities being used.

Training for the Boston Marathon or for Professional Ballet can be brutal, but that won't necessarily translate to combat sports.


Also, take everything that appears in TUF at face value. It's highly edited and we don't really know for sure the context in which that treadmill challenge was used. That episode, and everything in those episodes, get edited to get the Affliction-wearing, Manswers-loving crowds that watch the show go "hardcore dude!".

There is a lot more to training that never gets televised which is a shame if you ask me.


I'm stealing this sometime.



LOL@ wrestles like a rape victim


for sure. you dont always have training partners or an open facility.

but... do you really have to default that bad? the reason running is so popular is because its a default. If people put more thought into it they would come up with all kinds of shit.

If you can run, you can skip. Build foot work/speed as well as a multilevel conditioning system.

Even body weight circuits are better than running.

running stairs is even way way way better than on some treadmill. At least it trains your legs to extend and build speed instead of just press down lightly over and over.

But if you do want to have a run on the treadmill then ask someone to hold your purse so it doesn't bang around on your hip.