Monthly Archives: January 2017



Dave’s point was this: Strength in the weight room, conditioning on the track and never the twain shall meet. I disagree a bit. And in a bid to keep Dave pissed (since A. he’s a lot more fun, and B. I am now thousands of miles away instead of within throttling distance) I am about to present the fact that we can use the weight room for another purpose besides strength work.

What Dave does not understand is that there are some people out there who have goals outside of squatting 1,000 pounds and bench pressing 700. This is the world he lives in. He does not live in the world we all live in.

Some of us came into strength training for different backgrounds; sports – health – personal training etc. We use the weight room for a myriad of different purposes.

I came from a competitive martial arts background – Taekwondo and kickboxing. In our world we were more interested in how to hit harder, faster and for longer. We used the weight room solely as a means to improve our end goal – never as an end it itself.

Those of you involved in fighting sports or training other athletes know what I mean. It’s not always about improving max strength. It’s about max results. So while Dave lives in his world, we need to live in ours. This program is not about building a 700 pound bench press, far from it. This program is about using the weight room for conditioning.


Before we get into the actual exercise prescription, I should point out that I still believe that maximal strength levels should be achieved prior to endurance or energy system development. My theory is this: when we are talking about endurance – we are talking about power endurance or speed endurance or strength endurance.

If we haven’t built up appreciable levels of power, speed or strength, then what the hell are we trying to endure? A low level of power? A low level of speed?

Conditioning coach Mike Boyle once pointed out that,

Based on the results to the recent EFS survey, you guys want to hear more about Mixed Martial Arts. Fighting sports are pretty unique in that they are the only activity where your sole goal is generally to render your opponent unable to continue.

No matter how far behind a fighter is, there is always the hope that one perfectly delivered strike will knock out an opponent; thereby winning the battle. Sport Combat is perhaps the ONLY activity whereby one of the participants can be hopelessly outclassed and even further behind, and yet at a stroke – Win. Decisively.


In this article I’m going to combine conditioning in the weight room with MMA training. However this advice could easily be utilized in other sports.


Traditionally endurance training for combat sports of mixed martial arts has looked something like this:

  • Run.
  • Repeat.
  • See A.

This is an effective approach if we think of competitive fighting as an aerobic dependent event. But it’s not. We are dealing with repetitive, albeit sub maximal power movements – which running does not replicate too well. Traditionally power athletes have over-trained their aerobic system to prepare for their anaerobic power sport.

So doing long distance work for anaerobic athletes can often make “joggers” out of “jumpers”. Let’s not build endurance at the expense of the power and strength components we have taken so long to build up.

What about sprinting? While again being effective, some conditioning coaches use sprint training as their sole method of energy system development (ESD). This is at best a short-sighted approach. It is not uncommon to see well conditioned fighters who have used sprint based ESD fatigue rapidly in hard matches.

The reason for this is although their cardio system is well conditioned the effect of lactic acid on their localized muscle groups is devastating. If we do not condition the muscle groups themselves to handle high levels of lactate, the cardio system will feel fine, but that area will lock up and shut down.

Kickboxers call this “heavy legs.” Motocross athletes experience the same phenomenon but call it “arm pump” – where despite feeling fine – the forearms become so pumped up and unable to move that the rider is toast anyway! And besides – no one wants to run! Can’t say I blame them.

No one I’ve ever met likes running. Except runners. And no matter what they tell you, they don’t like it either. The commercials that have the hot chick running along the beach with her dog smiling are lies. All the runners I see on my drive to work are miserable old fat bastards who look like they hate life.

The only other runners I see are my running sport athletes who are getting the crap beat out of them doing agility or conditioning with me. And they don’t like it either – trust me.


So what’s a good way of improving metabolic power, or doing interval training without running? By doing it in the weight room (can you hear Dave getting pissed?) using a method of lifting called complexes. Now I’m not the first person to ever use complexes. But after talking to my colleague Robert Dos Remedios (strength coach at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA) we felt the need to define the term:

Complexes are performing two or more exercises in a sequence with the same load. You complete all your reps with one movement first, then complete all your reps with the next movement.

Good Role Models in MMA and Boxing

On a lesser note – as there really are no instances of poor sportsmanship worse than the one noted above- the UFC’s Tito Ortiz got his rematch with Guy Mezger at UFC 19: Ultimate Young Guns on March 5, 1999 ( after losing to the same fighter back on May 30, 1997 ). He took advantage of this, winning the fight via TKO. Unfortunately for sportsmen everywhere, Tito Ortiz put on a t-shirt that read “Gay Mezger Is My Bitch,” after the fight and promptly flipped off Mezger’s Lion’s Den teammates. This, of course, started his well known rivalry with Ken Shamrock.

You almost hate to use Ortiz as an example since it appears he has done a lot of growing up since that time. In fact, a strong argument can be made that he has become a considerate athlete in recent years, as his stint as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 3 would seem to indicate.

That said, there was a time when he was a pretty terrible sportsman and role model.

Couple these incidents with the constant issues regarding Terrell Owens of the NFL, and the sports landscape begins to seem kind of grim. Sometimes, you have to wonder if there are any good role models left out there.

Gratefully, there are. In fact, many of these can be found in sports where being a role model is harder to pull off. You know: the kind of athletic endeavors that involve punching, kicking, and trying to choke your opponent.

Like boxing and MMA.

Thus, let’s take a look at four guys you wouldn’t necessarily be ashamed to have your son follow in the footsteps of at this time.

Four excellent MMA and boxing ambassadors

Randy Couture

Okay, Randy Couture beat Chuck Liddell for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Title on June 6, 2003. Then he defeated Tito Ortiz to become the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion. After taking on Vitor Belfort in two successive matches ( he won the second after taking a finger in the eye in the first ) Couture found himself on TUF 1 coaching against Chuck Liddell, the man he was about to take on in UFC 52: Couture vs. Liddell 2.

During the show, Couture could’ve been talking junk to “The Iceman” the entire time. Fortunately for us all, he’s not that kind of guy. In fact, neither of them said anything negative about one another during the entire show.

Liddell deserves some props for this as well.

Regardless, after getting knocked out by Liddell in their rematch, Couture once again showed the class we’ve all become accustomed to. In fact, he almost seemed to be happy for Liddell, citing the problems Liddell had in getting a shot at the belt from Tito Ortiz after the fight to Joe Rogan.

On February 4, 2006, Randy Couture once again tasted defeat at the hands of Chuck Liddell. Afterwards, he made no excuses before announcing his retirement from the sport. He is now a UFC Hall of Famer and as respected a person and fighter as there has ever been in MMA.

By the way, he’s also coming out of retirement on March 3rd to fight Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Title.

Randy Couture is a great role model and sportsman because he respects MMA and the people fighting in it. Enough said.

Kassim Ouma

Sometimes being able to simply persevere where others could not have is what makes someone a role model. Such is the case with Kassim Ouma.

Ouma was born in Kampala, Uganda on December 12, 1978 and lived there rather uneventfully until he was seven. It was at that time he was kidnapped and forced to serve in the National Resistance Army for the next ten years of his life.

In fact, it wasn’t until he started boxing that he got a reprieve from being a soldier. Further, during a national team amateur boxing tour in the United States in 1998, Ouma used boxing to his advantage again by defecting to America where he was granted political asylum.

Starting over in a foreign land, Ouma leaned on the thing that had helped him twice before.

Boxing. Soon after, this proved to be a good move.

In May of 2002, Ouma stopped Jason Papillion in eight rounds to win the USBA Light Middleweight Crown, capping off a set of stunning achievements considering his early years.

But just when one might believe that things had finally turned the corner for Ouma, he was shot in the abdomen. Think that stopped him?

Then think again.

Ouma rattled off multiple wins after the injury before finally getting the biggest fight of his career. He took advantage, beating Verno Phillips by decision for the IBF Middleweight Championship.

You’d think that the terrible things that have happened to Ouma would have left him bitter. Not the case. In fact, it’s the opposite. He’s really quite thankful for what he has.

And for sure, when Ouma sits down and prays at night he is thankful for the sport of boxing.

Perseverance and strength are what put Ouma on this list. We could all learn something from him. He clearly respects the sport that saved him.

Georges St. Pierre

Okay, St. Pierre had already been submitted by Matt Hughes before they ended up on TUF 4 together as coaches ( in Hughes’ case, a guest coach ). While on the show, Hughes clearly believed that he was in St. Pierre’s head and was trying to stay there; it was obvious that he wanted to remind him at every given juncture that he was the UFC Welterweight Champion.

So after St. Pierre came in and dominated Hughes, taking his UFC Welterweight Championship Belt at UFC: Bad Intentions on November 18, 2006, one might have expected some, ‘I told you so’ kinds of comments from the Canadian. Perhaps just a little something to rub in Hughes’ face. Instead, St. Pierre promised him a rematch and told him that he was the best fighter he’d ever faced.

Huh? Well, that’s kind of rare.

By the way, while Georges St. Pierre was a coach on TUF 4, he was actually helping welterweight fighters that would be slated to face him if he were to beat Matt Hughes ( which again, he did ). He could’ve been like Rich Franklin ( another guest coach ) and played things close to the vest, avoiding coaching like the plague. Instead, he came in with the attitude that he wanted to help each fighter achieve their goals regardless of how this philosophy might impact him later.

In the end, though, St. Pierre is a great role model and ambassador of MMA for one simple reason that pervades everything he does: his humility. Everytime St. Pierre talks, he comes across as someone who is happy to be around you, not someone who thinks that you are privileged to speak to him.

Which is why he deserves placement on this list.

Jermain Taylor

On December 3, 2005, Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor defeated the legendary Bernard Hopkins for the second straight time via decision. This time, however, the decision was unanimous and clear.

Taylor had arrived. All told to date, he has accumulated a 26-0-1 record during a boxing career that boasts wins over Bernard Hopkins ( twice ) and Kassim Ouma.

Let’s face it, the sport of boxing has hit some rough times; its popularity is clearly waning. That said, boxing is still an influential sport, particularly in the inner cities. That’s why it’s so nice to hear Taylor speak up in an HBO piece the way he did.

“I’m hoping that I can be a role model for the kids. Not the earrings, the long hair, the sagging pants, and big clothes. I think kids need a new role model.”

Lucky for everyone out there hoping to teach the kids right from wrong, Taylor seems not only willing to be a role model, he seems able. After all, this is a man whose father walked out on his family when he was only five years old. Unfortunately, this is the kind of selfish act that is becoming less and less rare. What people oftentimes forget is that such a decision leaves a single mother with only one way to support her children.

She needs to work.

And that’s what Taylor’s mother did. While she did this, Taylor took care of his three younger sisters, changing diapers and other things that kids his age never had to do. Still, Taylor’s unfortunate childhood left him with a better perspective on things. You see, the extra responsibility and early poverty that caused his family to miss so much has him knowing what’s important in life- time with the people you love.

“I want my kids to know me – to know what I like, and what I don’t like – to know my facial expressions. And the same way for them. I want to know the way they look when they’re mad, when they’re sleepy. Little things like that are part of being a dad.”

Nothing else needs to be said. Jermain Taylor is a an excellent role model and sportsman because he truly understands what’s important and embraces his role model status.

In sum, the world has changed a lot; thus, so have athletes. Further, bad news sells and the media is certainly buying. Oftentimes, it seems quite difficult to find sportsmen and role models competing in the professional sports world.

But they are certainly there. Randy Couture, Kassim Ouma, Georges St. Pierre, and Jermain Taylor serve as proof of this. These are special men that many of us can look up to.

The Top Wrestling Styles of MMA Fighters

According to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles there are four types of wrestling internationally, all of which have influenced the sport of mixed martial arts. In addition, there are two lesser known styles of grappling that have found their way into MMA that must be mentioned.

To learn more about these styles of wrestling, read on.

The four varieties of grappling recognized by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles are:

Greco-Roman Wrestling

One of the three styles of amateur wrestling that is still utilized in the Olympic Games. Greco-Roman wrestling is derived from the Ancient Greeks and was practiced by Roman soldiers during ancient times. This style of wrestling sets itself apart from others in that attacks below the waist are forbidden.

Therefore, high throws are witnessed regularly in Greco-Roman competitions.

Two of the most famous MMA practitioners with a Greco-Roman background are UFC Hall of Famers, Randy Couture and Dan Severn.

Further, though he never entered into MMA competition, Russia’s Alexander Karelin should be mentioned simply because he’s the best Greco-Roman heavyweight practitioner in the history of the sport (a three time gold medalist).


Founded by Dr. Jigoro Kano of Japan in 1882. This sport, one which is in part derived and meshed with Japanese Jujutsu, emphasizes free sparring where half the time is spent on the feet practicing throws, called tachi-wasa, while the other half is spent on the ground ( ne-wasa ). Submissions, of course, are used on the ground. Though leglocks, wrist locks, and spinal locks are banned from competition, they are still sometimes taught in practice.

Early on, the Japanese wanted to keep the secrets of their martial arts from the western world ( particularly their jujutsu or jiu-jitsu ). Due to this, the form of Judo the Japanese divulged to the western world, at least initially, was devoid of many of the submissions that jujutsu or jiu-jitsu taught.

Even so, the secrets could not be contained forever. Mitsuyo Maeda brought the pure forms of Judo/ Jujutsu to the western world, via Brazil. In fact, Maeda taught Carlos Gracie initially, which eventually led to the development of Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Judo is still an Olympic sport today. Some popular MMA practitioners influenced by a Judo background are gold medalist, Hidehiko Yoshida, and the UFC’s, Karo Parisyan ( a four time international Judo champion ).

Freestyle Wrestling

Unlike Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling allows attacks to the entire body of the opponent. Takedowns and putting an opponent on their back are ways to score points. In addition, pinning an opponent wins a match.

Freestyle wrestling teaches single leg and double leg takedowns, both of which are highly ingrained in the sport of mixed martial arts.

Freestyle wrestlers have been extremely successful in MMA. Former UFC Champions, Tito Ortiz, Kevin Randleman, and Mark Coleman all have a freestyle background.

Russian Sambo

Sambo originated from the early work of several people including Vasili Oshchepkov, Victor Spiridonov, Anatoly Karlampiev, and I.V. Vasiliev. In short, it evolved as a result of early Russia’s yearning to produce an elite fighting system for military and police personnel.

In trying to do this, the aforementioned pioneers brought together several forms of fighting with influences ranging from the Japanese arts ( Judo and Karate ) to Greco-Roman wrestling. In addition, they drew from the fighting styles of the Tatars, Vikings, Mongols, and native Russians.

Today Sambo is broken into three versions: Self- Defense Sambo ( for use in the street), Combat Sambo ( for the military but now often used in MMA ), and Sport Sambo ( for competitions ).

Sambo is known for it’s outstanding takedowns ( much like Judo ), as well as its leglocks ( they allow leglocks in Sambo competitions unlike the other wrestling styles recognized by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles ).

Practitioners with a background in Sambo ( often termed Sombo by the western world ) have been highly successful in MMA. Fighters such as PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, Fedor Emelianenko, former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Andrei Arlovski, and former Ultimate Fighting Champion, Oleg Taktarov, were born from the art.

The following two styles of wrestling are not recognized by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles. However, their influence on MMA has been paramount.

Catch Wrestling

Appears to have developed as a result of European styles ( catch-as-can, collar-and-elbow ) blending with jiu-jitsu. Catch wrestling is most widely known as the kind of grappling seen at carnivals across the United States in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

In short, catch wrestling is all about submissions ( often termed ‘hooks’ ) in the sport. Therefore, some of the most popular early catch wrestlers – Frank Gotch, Great Gama, and Ad Santel – were called ‘hookers’.

In fact, Ad Santel was involved in one of the first mixed martial arts style events when he took on Tokugoro Ito, the World Judo Champion, back in 1914. Santel defeated Ito in that first encounter and had further success in such matches later on.

MMA fighters with catch wrestling backgrounds include Kazushi Sakuraba ( The Gracie Killer ) and former UFC Champions, Josh Barnett and Frank Shamrock.

Shoot Wrestling

Shoot wrestling was influenced by a host of martial arts including catch wrestling, freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, Pehlwani, Karate, and Muay Thai. However, it was clearly most influenced by catch wrestling through former American and Japanese wrestling great, Karl Gotch (real name Karl Istaz).

Gotch learned catch wrestling in the famous Snake Pit gym under Billy Riley. He competed and learned all over the world, but once he got to Japan, he achieved stardom. In fact, he taught catch wrestling to several famous Japanese fighters including Antonio Inoki (the man who fought Muhammad Ali in what many consider a staged match), Tatsumi Fujinami, Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Satoru Sayama, Masami Soranaka, and Akira Maeda. All of these students already had a basis in martial arts before learning catch wrestling, which in essence meshed with what Gotch taught them to evolve into something else.

Shoot wrestling.

Later, Inoki went on to pioneer New Japan Pro Wrestling, an organization that promoted these “strong style,” wrestling techniques. Eventually, however, shoot wrestling found its way into Japan’s Universal Wrestling Federation (1984). After the Universal Wrestling Federation broke up, shoot wrestling broke into several disciplines as outline below.

Pancrase – Formed by two of Yoshiaki Fujiwara’s students: Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Fujiwara had a background in Judo and Muay Thai before learning from Gotch, and these influences can be seen in the organization. Ken Shamrock, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” fought many times in Pancrase.

Shootfighting – Bart Vale (another student of Fujiwara) formed this organization.

Shooto – Sayama’s style of shoot wrestling includes Muay Thai style kicks.

RINGS – Akira Maeda’s style of shoot wrestling. It focuses on submissions.

Shoot Boxing – Formed by a kickboxer, it emphasizes stand up fighting, including standing submissions as influenced by catch wrestling.

the Best Supplements for MMA

It’s been said that Kevin Randleman submitted a urine sample that wasn’t his to drug testers, and that Pawel Nastula and Vitor Belfort both failed their respective drug tests.

In this case, that means that Nastula and Belfort were both found to have taken steroids.

Sure, it’s possible that it was done by accident ( as Belfort has been quoted as saying ). Regardless, it doesn’t matter. If you’re found with the stuff in your system, then you broke the rules.

So in a day and age where MMA fighters are constantly trying to improve performance with the use of natural products, what kinds of supplements are they taking? Far too many to count in one article, for sure.

For three of them, though, keep reading.

AST Multi Pro 32X

From early on, we’re all taught the importance of multi-vitamins. After all, the great thing about vitamins is that they give you what most or all of what your body needs without eating the contents of the entire refrigerator.

So if you’re a mixed martial artist with all the advanced things out there to take, wouldn’t it seem ridiculous not to take a multi-vitamin?

Probably; which is why many fighters take multi-vitamins.

There are tons of choices out there, but one that continually gets some buzz is the AST Multi Pro 32X. For true athletes, a high performance kind of vitamin is often needed, one that is taken more than once a day and supplies the necessary nutrients to get through advanced workouts.

That’s what AST Multi Pro 32X is all about.

It’s a high potency vitamin available in tablet form ( making it more absorbable than a capsule ). Further, it’s loaded with anti-oxidants.

In short, it’s a good vitamin to take for extreme athletes.

Brain Quicken

Ever hear of Brain Quicken? If not, you’re not alone. In fact, Black Belt Magazine has called this product, “the newest training secret of kickboxing and no holds barred fighting champions.”

So why would an athlete want to take something that has to do with the brain?

Simply because the brain and body go hand in hand; they are aligned, and that means improved brain performance equals improved athleticism. The makers of Brain Quicken claim that taking the product will improve reaction time, endurance, and muscular contraction. Further, it is also supposed to improve short-term memory.

In other words, it’s not just for athletes.

This product is marketed as a neural accelerator. At the Brain Quicken website, they indicate that it is, “the only laboratory-tested cognitive performance product to be tested, validated, and used by top students at every Ivy League institution in the world.”

Not sure what that exactly means.

At that same website they claim that Brain Quicken “is the product of six years of research and testing,” and that it is, “considered by pharmacology and physiology PhD’s to be the strongest and most rapid-acting cognitive performance aid available without prescription.”

To top it off, it is said to work fast. Within 30 minutes, even. Beyond that, BrainQuicken reports that no one who has taken the product has received a single performance enhancing testing infraction as all of the ingredients are safe ( they are listed as such by the Generally Recognized as Safe list the U.S. Government puts out ), and legal.

Sounds darned good, doesn’t it?

Of course, anytime you’re in the market for a product like this, particularly a newer one, it’s still buyer beware. Interestingly, though, the most notable thing about BrainQuicken seems to be the athletes who are quoted as endorsing it at the BrainQuicken website. Take a look ( for full quotes, visit the website ).

“BrainQuicken helps me keep my mind where it needs to be so I can make the most of every workout.” – UFC Lightweight Champion, Sean Sherk.

“This stuff really works. Most products are pure placebo, but BrainQuicken is in a class by itself. I’ve never felt anything like it.” – UFC fighter and jiu-jitsu guru, Dean “the Boogeyman” Lister

Beyond the aforementioned, Elvis Sinosic and Scot Mendelson ( the record holder in the bench press ) also have endorsed the product at the website.

For this reason, Brain Quicken might be something to consider if you’re an extreme athlete in the market for such a supplement. If it works for these guys, it just could work for you.

Xyience NOX CG3

Mixed martial arts fighters have to be in the best of condition. Anyone who has ever been involved in submission grappling or kickboxing knows just how difficult it is to keep one’s pace in either of these sports through one round, let alone several. But when you add both striking and grappling into the mix, only a great training regimen and the right supplements can help you survive.

During hard workouts or actual fights the body begins to breakdown. In order to avoid this, the body tends to need a little something extra.

Hence, where Xyience comes in.

Xyience actually makes a host of products. Whereas it’s likely that you haven’t heard of BrainQuicken, you’d need to be dead or living in a cave not to have heard of Xyience. Fighters like Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Rich “Ace” Franklin have done commercials for the product, and virtually everywhere you look in the UFC, even on The Ultimate Fighter reality television show, the stuff is being endorsed.

In short, it’s the most popular brand of mixed martial arts fighting supplements out there, hands down.

Xyience Nox CG3 is made up of creatines, glutamines, and nitric oxide boosters. In short, it has everything you need in it. In addition, people are also saying that the new blue raspberry flavor tastes great.

It’s hard to argue with the UFC when it comes to a product. After all, they are one of the two most influential MMA organizations on the planet ( even if it is getting annoying seeing Xyience ad after ad everywhere you turn ).

So these are three of the more popular natural performance enhancing supplements being used in MMA. Remember to never take anything ( including the supplements listed in this article ) without consulting a doctor first.