This is CYCLE 1 of a hypertrophy/strength preparation program, which is the necessary start-point before increasing strength-power. (At a later stage I will debunk on why I would suggest these particular exercises for a fighter who needs to acquire strength and power but who’s not necessarily used to weight lifting). The numbers, reps, sets, weight, are all based on my own workouts, for an athlete of similar size and weight (at the time, 160pounds, 5’10’’).

Cycle 1: integrate the principles of traditional weight lifting through the usage of kettle bells 2 * week (ideally Monday and Thursday) for four weeks. A traditional 3:1 step-loading cycle is implemented where three weeks of progressive overload are balanced with a fourth un-loaded week.


Week 1 Monday & Thursday Kettle-bell Training (75min session)

  • Deadlift: 4×8 (16kg)
  • Squat in a catcher’s grip: 4×10 (16kg)
  • One legged Deadlift: 3×15 (16kg)
  • Swings: in a range of 10 to 15 swingsx3 sets (16kg)
  • Introduction to kettle-bell cleans, jerks and snatches (crucial to master before cycle 2)


Week 2 Monday & Thursday Kettle-bell Training (overload principle applied via increased loads on the KB’s)

  • Deadlift: 4×8 (two kettle-bells of 24kg each)
  • Clean and Squat: 4×10 (two kettle-bells of 24kg)
  • Clean and press: 3×12(master with 1 kettle-bells at a time 24kg)
  • Two hand Swings: 3×12-15 (24kg)
  • One hand swings:3×8-10 (24kg)


Week 3 Monday & Thursday Kettle-bell Training (overload principle applied via introduction of complex lift combinations)

similar training sessions and exercises, but now there’s more emphasis on complex kettle-bell combinations to fully integrate hip-drive and power from the lower body (single and double hand swings & high pull, single and double hand swings and high pull & snatch, cleans and presses with two 24kg kettle-bells)


Week 4 Monday & Thursday (un-loading principle to allow for active recuperation following three weeks successive loading). Two days of 12-16kg technical lifting only

Sports-specific MMA conditioning

Monday 120min

  • Kettle-bell session as above
  • Kickboxing pad work, hand speed combos, quick kicks on paddles

Tuesday 120min

  • Speed, agility, quickness (SAQ) – complex combinations 45min
  • High intensity skipping rope (Tabata style) 2min on, 1min off for 9 rounds, 27 mins work

Wednesday 60min

  • Pad work warm up (3 * 3min rounds)
  • Sparring session (9-12 rounds)
  • Finish with Pad work (3x2min rounds)


  • Kettle-bell session as above
  • Stretching & core related training, and pilates

Friday off

Saturday 70-80min

  • Shadow boxing with weighted hand wraps, just to loosen up, light day, more for the mental (20min)
  • Power pads, single punches, single kicks, emphasis on power! (total 50 min)


NOTES: The number of rounds and time are strategic. It is based on length of actual fight! Amateur boxing: 4 * 2min rounds. Amateur Kickboxing: 3 * 2min rounds. Amateur MMA: 3 * 3min rounds. (in championship bouts rounds usually add up, up to 2 more rounds!) The key is to train 3 to 4 times harder to perform at equivalent level!