[caption id="attachment_3424" align="alignnone" width="300"] The guy in the background knows Bisping will be eating through a straw for next few months.[/caption]
I've been asked numerous times to write a book, article or something on how to use 5/3/1 for MMA fighters. Unless I colloborate with somone, a book is probably not going to happen. I believe that in order for anyone to write intellgently about a subject, you have to have competed at the sport at a high level. I mean, if one's program is that good, that amazing, then why didn't the 'expert' use it himself for success?
So I write this blog post with a huge asterick - I am NOT, nor have been, an MMA fighter. Just so we are clear on that.
As with any sport, MMA requires that you are strong in the low back, legs, arms, chest, shoulders and abs. Like all sports, strength is one of many things that need to be trained. This is unlike the strength sports - thus more abilities must be trained and MORE TIME must be spent on them. So you can't spend all day in the weight room. You have to be efficient in the weight room; you have to choose exercises that mean something and that carry over.
Since there are many abilities that must be trained and much time devoted to practice (and this practice being very difficult), I propose the following.
Train two days/week
Assistance work is kept to 2-3 exercises per day
A third day can be added for additional assistance work (if time and energy allow)
The time spent in the weight room must be devoted to getting stronger, not running around doing circuits. You are in the weight room to get stronger, NOT to mimic another practice. Every time I see someone prescribing conditioning circuits for MMA strength training, I breathe a sigh of relief. As long as this person is deemed an expert, I will always have a job. Feel free to do your battling ropes and burpees AFTER you strength train.
Assistance work should be plenty of lat and upper back work, arm work or anything that you need personally for injury prevention. Like any sport, the role of the weight room is nothing more than GPP - and the time spent in the weight room FOR ANY ATHLETE is terribly easy (despite what people would have you believe). Get progressively stronger on the basic lifts, don't lift yourself out of play or practice (i.e. it shouldn't interfere greatly with practices and definitely not matches). Being sport specific in the weight room is a fucking gimmick. Even the people that stroke that flaccid idea know it. Please don't fall for that ridiculous notion. And you don't need to be strong to be a better athlete, but being stronger than you were is always a good thing. Especially if done progressively, over time and with patience. These are the gains that last and that will hurt your opponent the most.
[caption id="attachment_3423" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dan Henderson doing some free dental work.[/caption]
I cannot stress enough how important it is for a fighter to work with their skill coach/coaches to help them periodize their strength training. This means PLAN. Obviously things change in ALL areas of training depending on how far your competition is. To make it simple, the farther out you are from your fight, the more you can lift (if you need that). The closer you are to the competition, the less you can do. Or to put it even more simple:
Far away from fight: can do more shit that makes you tired/sore and effect your skill training.
Closer to fight: you can do LESS shit (or none at all) that makes you tired/sore and effect your skill training.
This type of sport periodization was made popular by Siff, Zatsiorsky and Verkhshanksy: it's called The Common Sense Principle. If your skill coach can't understand this, I don't know what to tell you. Also, Dan Henderson is the king. By far my favorite fighter ever.
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