I’m lucky enough to be able to work with a large group of pro and amateur fighters from Ground Control MMA Baltimore. O lifts help the fighters train to explode into opponents, lift them up, and take them down. Because MMA is a weight-class sport, the weight used during O lifts should be roughly the same as the weight class the fighter competes in. If a fighter can clean 1.5 times his body weight for three reps, that’s great. But it doesn’t help him move his opponent around the ring for the entire fight. For that, he needs to train with loads approximating his body weight at the beginning, middle, and end of a workout. -Nick Tumminello
I can’t help but bring this up as coaches need to understand that to make more ketchup you need more tomatoes (large doses of power) and not more Tomato Juice (little power done repeatedly). With Nick’s dumbbell snatch and bodyweight loads he is now watered down V8. I have seen many athletes follow protocols of high dose olympic lifting of 16+ sets of 1.3-1.5 times bodyweight (cleans) with rest periods of 2 minutes. I have seen this done after a GPP conditioning day of 2 hours of GS work with those same athletes. Frankly, the merging of power and conditioning must be done when needed (right before the fight) and what is enough for training (sparing, skill work,and lifting) and specific conditioning must be done for the fight but not right after the last contest. Fighters fear gassing as running out of steam in the middle of the fight would scare anyone that is involved in the sport. If properly developed an athlete in MMA can increase power and endurance through their career only if they manipulate the program. I don’t have the answer but it will take a lot of guts for a coach in MMA to design a program that minimizes conditioning to what is only enough for that day and nothing more.
The fight has limits and parameters but striking power and take down projection distance is the most acute need because at the highest level that separates the good and great. Conditioning only prevents you from expressing your abilities over time and can only give you an advantage if one lacks preparation. Don’t think about round five until you belong in round one. As Charlie Francis said worry about getting fast then worry about sustaining speed later. With the research done on physiology a fighter can prepare for mixed needs in as little as six weeks. With most pro fighters having 3-4 month periods between contests that represents 50-30 percent of the time that power must be sustained and the rest of the time getting more horsepower. With all the sparing and actual practice mimicking the pace why add more conditioning that is not specific? How little conditioning do we need instead of how much?
None of this is new, in fact it’s all old, it’s just that we have been enamored by the guru’s who are selling fool’s gold based on faulty/deceptive interpretations of scientific literature, inventive exercise routines, and short term adaptations that produce improvements because they have never been used before, but the long term development of the athlete slumps after diminishing returns of the new guru program doesn’t help the athlete attain/maintain event specific proficiency as previous long term adaptations have diminished in favor of the newer short term adaptations. – Daniel Andrews