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Fighting fitness


Combat athletes need to fight at the lowest weight they possibly can (without making themselves ill). In order to get stronger and keep your weight low you need to work to a rep range of 1-6reps for around 4-5 sets with 4-5mins rest between sets. Any more reps than this and you’ll be going into the hypertrophy (muscular size) or even endurance range.
I would recommend keeping to compound exercises in your strength session ie, Squats, Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Bentover Rows, Benchpress & Pullups. These exercises combined will give you an excellent allround strength level.
I would train 2 strength session a week and lay them out as shown below;
Session 1
Bentover Rows
Incline Bench Press
Session 2
Romanian Deadlifts or Deadlifts
Flat Benchpress
Weighted Pullups

A great way of fully conditioning your body is a barbell complex. This is a number of different exercises performed with a barbell or dumbells in a row without putting the bar down, this will usually last for around 2-3mins with a rest period of 2mins, repeat this 5 times. Below is a sample session, ideally you would use around 40-50k
15 Back Squats
15 Pushpresses
15 Romanian Deadlifts
15 Bentover Rows
15 Pressups on the bar

Speed/Power Endurance
Speed and Power Endurance is important because what use is a fighter that can only hit with any level of speed or power for about the first 2 minutes of the fight? You may be saying to yourself “well, I could knock or tap them out within 2mins so it”ll be fine”…do you really want to take that chance?
For speed and power endurance I would recommend High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) consisting of a good mix or weighted explosive exercises and plyometrics. These exercises should be as full body as possible to make the session as intense as possible! A good idea would be to work to a time frame simular to the intensities of a fight scenario, a timeframe that I have found works really well is 10 2min sets consisting of 75secs of work and 45secs of rest.
Below is a typical session;
10 Box Jumps
5-10 Heavy Kettlebell Swings
10 Plyo Pressups to a box
5-10 Dumbell Burpee Clean & Presses

One common misconception that you see a lot with all level of Martial Artists is that you need to go running for miles everyday to both increase your cardio levels and keep your weight low, this is incorrect.
What real use does going for a 1hr steady run have when you get in the ring….not much is the answer you’re looking for. Working at a constant steady pace for an hour is in no way simular to a fight situation where you have short sharp bursts of high intensity actions. If you are going to run don’t keep the pace steady, try interval or hill sprints, you will benefit a lot more from this. Another advantage of Interval training is that, because you’re putting your body through such high levels of stress you will eventually increase your metabolic rate, this in turn will aid weight lose (ever seen an overweight person with a fast metabolism?).

All of the above is very important in order to make you a complete fighter but it will all be pretty much useless if you have no technical skills, please be aware that all of these factors are purely there to complement your technical work and make you a better fighter. Do not sacrifice potential technical progression for getting an extra 5kgs on your bench, it’s just not worth it!!

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