Our former world champion follows his introductory interview with a detailed account of his pre-fight preparation. This series comes to you in two parts: part I is an introduction to the principles of training as applied to his programme. Part II is found in our workout section, and details the training week from Monday – Sunday. 

As an experienced fighter in the ring, I am well aware that sometimes fighters do not get the ideal preparation period necessary to reach certain physical goals and perform at their peak. That being said, this article will focus on how to implement a three-month preparatory period with three phases: the ideal timeframe for a fighter, or any athlete that performs in high intensity sports to reach their A-game. Since we are in January 2012, picture yourself competing four months from now, end of April (which may be the case for some of you anyway). This gives you exactly three months to get ready.

You need to be able to adjust time you spend in the Dojo with the time you’ll need to spend at a weightlifting gym! You can do this pretty comfortably by carefully planning your in-ring & in-gym sessions to either run back to back, or on separate days. My own strategy was:

  • Come up with a fitness assessment & set myself a goal (at the time increase in strength and power)
  • Design a programme to reach that goal and implement it
  • Schedule my kickboxing days (4x/week)
  • Schedule my gym/lifting days

Always start your training cycle with the principles of training (assessment, specificity, overload, progression & recovery): a fitness assessment is crucial before every cycle. It provides you an overview of your past, present and future. It covers everything related to your performance, abilities, medical history, lifestyle etc. Some experts like to call it the ‘’three-dimensional representation’’ (Williams & Wilkins, NASM). With all the necessary info, you can set yourself a realistic goal.

My goal was to increase in strength and power, and to this end I performed a lot of Kettle-bell training. Kettle-bell training helped me build not only muscular endurance but more importantly, strength, power and confidence. You’ll find my kettle-bell training on cycle 1 of my 3-month preparatory program here. Time dedicated to my martial art-related training was fairly simple, and if it can be applied to your timeframe or schedule, try it for at least a cycle.