Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

Had a bit of a challenge programming conditioning today for myself. My legs were dead from a thruster conditioning session yesterday and heavy power cleans and front squats the day before. I don’t like upper-body focused conditioning sessions because they are just plain easier than ones which use the lower body, especially when it comes to aerobic demand. Worked out this little number.

7 rounds for time (no breaks) of:
row 500 meters,
6 barbell push press at 135

Once all rounds have been completed, immediately do 30 box jump burpees with no rest.

This conditioning session was a little longer and a little easier than the ones which I ususally do, but it was a good way to give my legs a bit of a break while still getting in a decent workout. For the record, next time I think I might try 165 on the PP. Felt like I could have pushed a bit harder there. Enjoy! #allgo


Today’s Conditioning

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Programming
Tags: , ,

Simple, but effective. I was definitely dry-heaving for the first time in a while after this one.

4 rounds, 45 second breaks between each round

Each round is: 2 minutes hard running, 3 minutes of as many cycles as possible of (8 box jumps, 8 inverted rows, 8 push-ups)

Complete all rounds, rest as needed, and then finish off with 3 sets of 12 face pulls.

This is a good one if you have an MMA fight coming up which is 3×5 min rounds. The extra round and the shorter rest breaks of this workout will really hammer you.

The movements are all body weight, which may sound light. The point of this conditioning workout is to push as hard and fast as you can. Even though you are not displacing a substantial load, if you are pushing the pace, it should be extremely demanding. If you are really set on loading the movements, use a 20 lb weight vest for the workout.


Burpees are one of my favourite conditioning tools. They can challenge anyone, no matter what shape they are in. They are a great bodyweight movement with a relatively low risk of injury even when form breaks down due to fatigue. They can even be loaded using a weight vest, and there are countless variations.

I just want to be clear, when I say burpee, I mean “chest to floor” burpee. No straight arms, no partial push-ups.

This conditioning workout is a great one to challenge your aerobic energy system. Because of the nature of the movements, muscular fatigue should not slow you down.

Row 500 meters, 20 burpees
5 rounds for time

There are no rest breaks in this conditioning session. If you have a fight coming up, consider taking a break after each round to better mimic the time parameters of your competition. This will allow you to go slightly harder each round than completing all rounds with no breaks would.

If you have a 3×5 minute MMA fight coming up, the workout could be amended to look like this.

Row 250 meters, 15 burpees (using 20 lb weight vest), row 250 meters, 15 burpees (using 20 lb weight vest), 45 seconds rest
4 rounds for time

Once the burpee/row circuit is done, rest as needed and then finish off with 3 rounds of a remedial circuit: 15 rear delt flies, 12 band pull-aparts, 12 lying dumbbell external rotations with 40 degrees abduction

Good luck! #allgo

Wrote up a program today which I thought some of you might enjoy. It is a one month program for a beginner-intermediate lifter. The purpose of the program is functional hypertrophy, meaning that provided proper nutrition and a reduction of conditioning work, you will put on some size and strength. The reason I suggest that this is appropriate for a beginner to intermediate lifter is that there are some challenging movements (like front squats and Turkish get-ups), but I have also opted to include clean pulls and snatch-grip deadlifts rather than snatches or cleans (the latter two being more complex).

The rep range is not super low, but low enough that I would not suggest doing this program unless you have done many of the movements before. If you are unfamiliar with these movements and you try to load them, you may injure yourself.

The program is 4 days/week. Ideally I would recommend training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Make sure to minimize other activities so that you have lots of time to recover. As well, eat lots of good food, drink lots of water, and get 8 hours of sleep per night.

During your workouts, your rest breaks between sets should be as long as you feel you need. This is not a fat loss program, so when in doubt, take a longer break. Aim for around 3 mins for the heavy compounds.

The program is designed in the following way. Week 1 is high volume, week 2 medium volume, week 3 very high volume, week 4 active recovery. Do NOT add or take away sets.

In terms of the notation used blow, 4S X 4R means 4 sets of 4 reps. If an exercise is just proceeded by a letter (ie. A), do all sets of that exercise before moving on to the next one. If an exercise is proceeded by a letter and number (ie C1), alternate each set with the corresponding exercise (ie C2).

I have included reference videos at the end for some of the lesser known exercises.

Lower Body (Day 1)

A) Clean Pulls
(Week 1: 4S X 3R, Week 2: 3S X 3R, Week 3: 5S X 2R, Week 4: replace with 4S X 4R broad jump)

B) Front Squats
(Week 1: 4S X 4R, Week 2: 3S X 5R, Week 3: 5S X 3R, Week 4: omit)

C1) Romanian Deadlifts
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 8R, Week 3: 4S X 6R, Week 4: 2S X 10R)

C2) Pistols (single leg squats)
(Week 1: 3S X 10R, Week 2: 3S X 10R, Week 3: 4S X 10R, Week 4: 2S X 10R)

D) Turkish Get-ups
(Week 1: 3S X 4R/side, Week 2: 3S X 4R/side, Week 3: 3S X 4R/side, Week 4: 2S X 4R/side)

Upper Body (Day 2)

A1) Barbell Rack Rows
(Week 1: 4S X 6R, Week 2: 4S X 5R, Week 3: 5S X 4R, Week 4: omit)

A2) Barbell Bench Press
(Week 1: 4S X 6R, Week 2: 4S X 5R, Week 3: 5S X 4R, Week 4: omit)

B1) Fat Grip (or tennis ball) Pull-Ups (or Pull-Downs)
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 6R, Week 3: 4S X 8R, Week 4: 2S X 10R)

B2) Single Arm Dumbbell Push Press
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 6R, Week 3: 4S X 8R, Week 4: replace with 2S X 10R dumbbell overhead press)

C1) TYIs
(Week 1: 3S X 12R, Week 2: 3S X 12R, Week 3: 3S X 12R, Week 4: 2S X 12R)

C2) Standing Cable External Rotation
(Week 1: 3S X 12R, Week 2: 3S X 12R, Week 3: 3S X 12R, Week 4: 2S X 12R)

Lower Body (Day 3)

A) Slightly Elevated Snatch Grip Deadlifts
(Week 1: 4S X 3R, Week 2: 3S X 3R, Week 3: 5S X 2R, Week 4: replace with 4S X 3R box jump starting from seated position)

B) Back Squats
(Week 1: 4S X 4R, Week 2: 3S X 5R, Week 3: 5S X 3R, Week 4: omit)

C1) Front Rack Reverse Lunges From Deficit
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 8R, Week 3: 4S X 8R, Week 4: replace with 2S X 8R walking lunge)

C2) Good Mornings
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 8R, Week 3: 4S X 6R, Week 4: 2S X 10R)

D) Standing Pallof Press
(Week 1: 3S X 8R/side, Week 2: 3S X 8R/side, Week 3: 3S X 8R/side, Week 4: 2S X 8R/side)

Upper Body (Day 4)

A1) Pull-Ups
(Week 1: 4S X 6R, Week 2: 4S X 5R, Week 3: 5S X 4R, Week 4: omit)

A2) Barbell Overhead Press
(Week 1: 4S X 6R, Week 2: 4S X 5R, Week 3: 5S X 4R, Week 4: omit)

B1) Neutral Grip Cable Rows
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 6R, Week 3: 4S X 8R, Week 4: 2S X 10R)

B2) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
(Week 1: 3S X 8R, Week 2: 3S X 6R, Week 3: 4S X 8R, Week 4: 2S X 10R)

C1) Face Pulls
(Week 1: 3S X 12R, Week 2: 3S X 12R, Week 3: 3S X 12R, Week 4: 2S X 12R)

C2) No Moneys
(Week 1: 3S X 12R, Week 2: 3S X 12R, Week 3: 3S X 12R, Week 4: 2S X 12R)

Video References for Lesser Known Exercises

Barbell Rack Rows

Fat Grip or Tennis Ball Pull-Ups

Front Rack Reverse Lunges from Deficit
(This video demonstrates a reverse lunge from deficit. For our lunge, rack the barbell on the front of your body the same way you would for a front squat)

Box Jump Starting from Seated Position

No Moneys

Good luck! More programs to come… #allgo

Today’s conditioning workout has a grappling focus. Starts off with some strength work, and then finishes with aerobic work.

6 rounds of the Klokov complex, rest as needed between sets.

Klokov complex:

1 deadlift
1 squat clean
1 front squat
1 push press
1 split jerk

Beginner modification:

1 deadlift
1 power clean
1 front squat
1 push press
1 power jerk (or a second push press)

After all 6 rounds have been completed, rest for 3 minutes, and then do 50 box jump burpees. Box 24 inches.

Rest as needed, and then finish off with 4 sets of 10 of some kind of light rowing variation.

Just headed out to do this one myself. #allgo


Programmed this conditioning workout yesterday. Got some ideas from a couple of other workouts I found on line and adapted them. I call this one “The Muay Thai Shredder” because, well, I think it’s great conditioning for muay thai. It demands a lot of your legs, core, shoulders, chest, and triceps: all muscles that are important in muay thai or kickboxing. The focus of the workout is two-fold.

The first focus is to train your body to bring your resting heart-rate down quickly. Whenever I do solo boxing or muay thai work, I always set the clock for 45 second breaks rather than 1 minute. Shorter rest breaks mean your body is trained to recover in a time shorter than that which you are actually allotted in a match.

The second focus is to increase the muscular endurance of the muscles I listed earlier which are key in a muay thai or kickboxing match. The better your muscular endurance is in your shoulders, the more snap your punches will have in the last round, and the higher your hands will stay. The better conditioned your legs, the faster your kicks will be deep into the match, and the more active you will be in regards to footwork.

20 front squats with 75# barbell, 10 hand-release push-ups, 30 seconds rest

Complete 10 rounds for time.

A few pointers…

1) Feel free to scale the front squat weight. If you are light and more of an endurance athlete, you might want to use something a little lighter. If you are a heavyweight who has a max front squat of 315#, maybe up it a bit. For reference purposes, I am about 210# with a max front squat of about 250#.

2) Even though the workout is for time, don’t skimp on the rest periods. Take the full 30 seconds. For this workout, it is better to go hard every round and take the rest break than to have no designated rest periods and take smaller, more frequent rests.

3) When you are squatting, your hamstrings need to cover your calves. Ass to grass squat. If you don’t have the mobility to do this, try sliding some 5# plates under your heals for the time being. If you still don’t have the mobility, you aren’t ready for this workout.

4) K1 matches are either 3×3 min rounds or 5×3 minute rounds. This conditioning session may last longer than 11 or 19 minutes depending on the kind of shape you’re in. Think of the first 5 rounds as a warm up. Yes, they will be challenging, and no, I’m not telling you to slack during them. What I mean is that part of the point of the first 5 rounds is to fatigue you for the last 5. Vince Lombardi once said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”. You will be tired going into the last 5 rounds. Provided you really work hard, conditioning workouts such as this one will teach you how to push yourself even under extreme fatigue. I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I finished a sparring session as tired as I was at the end of this workout. Enjoy! #allgo

I communicate a couple of times a week with a friend of mine who does CrossFit. She suggested I take a look at the “Fight Gone Bad” WOD. I found this video explaining the routine and the story behind the workout. MMA fans will recognize the fighter for whom the workout was originally designed.

The programming for the original “Fight Gone Bad” WOD is as follows:

3 rounds composed of 5×1 minute activities. 1 minute rest between rounds.

Activity 1: rowing machine (C2 rower)

Activity 2: wallball

Activity 3: sumo deadlift high pulls

Activity 4: push press

Activity 5: box jumps

I thought this looked like a really good workout, but I did have to adapt it a little bit. I didn’t have an area to do wallball, and I just plain don’t like the sumo deadlift high pulls. Both the position of the hands and the position of the feet in that exercise do not have a ton of functional carryover. I kept the same breakdown of 3×5 minute rounds with each round being composed of 5×1 minute activities. My programming was as follows:

Activity 1: thrusters (95#)

Activity 2: deadlift and row combination (Perform 1 standard power deadlift. Once the bar has been put back on the floor after the eccentric portion of the lift, extend the knees while keeping your lumbar extended and perform one bent over row – 95#)

Activity 3: box jumps (24 inch box)

Activity 4: push press (95#)

Activity 5: rowing machine (C2 rower)

All in all it was a pretty brutal conditioning session, which meant it did its job. Next time I perform this, I think I might try to use a lighter barbell. My focus in this conditioning session was supposed to be aerobic conditioning, but the weight was heavy enough that my muscular endurance struggled and therefore I had to stop more than I would have liked given what the goal of the workout was.

Feel free to use the template of 3×5 and 5×1 to design your own MMA conditioning workout. Keep this in mind however… As much as I don’t like Coach Glassman (the creator of CrossFit), he does make a good point about activity order in the video posted above. If you are looking to focus on aerobic conditioning during a workout, be very aware of the order which you program your exercises in. If you do 3 minutes in a row of squatting variations, your legs will likely become the limiting factor before your aerobic conditioning does. As a result, try to use the order of the activities to give certain muscles a break. This is why I programmed the thrusters and the push press so far apart in the round: to give my shoulders and traps a rest. Hope you give either of these workouts a try. And by either of these workouts, I mean mine. Yeah, shameless self promotion – big surprise. #allgo