In cycle 3 (weeks 9-12), ET outlines his final four weeks of physical preparation in the gym. This cycle is about improving power & maximum strength. But more on that from ET himself. Note that ET’s strength training in the gym is entirely separate from the essentials of sparring, technical and ring-specific motor skills & physical skills. Gym strength training and specific fight training run concurrently in a well designed periodised programme. That programme will be brought to you next time, here at Unchained Fitness. 

 

PS: you will find cycles 1 & 2 linked here

You’ve progressively worked your way to solid weightlifting training. Your core has gotten stronger through extra training e.g. pilates or gymnastics. You are quicker on your feet, you’ve learned how to master weight transfer through all the pad work and sparring…your strikes are stronger and more assertive, and you’ve built muscle mass (see cycles 1 & 2). Your body should now be ready to end a three month-preparatory phase by building obliterating power!  A quote that best describes your goal in this final cycle of training, is from Rocky 6: ‘‘What we will be working on is some good old fashion blunt force trauma, horse power, punches that will have to hurt so much, they will rattle his ancestors’’.

Be strategic on how you combine your sport related training with the lifting training. Organization will be really important since this is the phase that will be the most demanding on your body. To lift heavier, you will need a humongous amount of energy. Therefore, a strict nutrition plan will be necessary. You will also need to reduce your cardiovascular training hours because this will increase your energy expenditure, energy needed to lift those heavy weights and acquire more power.

FAQ: ‘‘Won’t you gain too much weight for the division you fight in?’’ You will put on a couple of pounds, but nothing that you won’t be able to get off prior to weigh in (e.g. shadow boxing with weighted vest)

Before building my program, with the help of a former colleague of mine who has competed in power lifting and worked with athletes of all levels, we tested my 1RM for dead-lift, bench press and squat and set a goal. The numbers you will work with are the percentage of the expected goal. As a realistic objective, you should be able to lift minimum 30 pounds heavier at the end of this cycle (Legeard , 2005). Here’s an example of my program:

Three strict days e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (all depends on your MMA days) WEEK1: Monday      

Bench Press 50% (% of goal) 5 (reps) 1 (sets) 125
  60% 4 2 150
  70% 3 2 175
  75% 3 5 188
Squat 50% 5 1 150
  60% 5 2 180
  70% 5 5 210
Dumbbell fly             – 10 5           –
Bench Press 50% 6 1 125
  60% 6 2 150
  65% 6 4 163

Wednesday

Deadlift 50% 5 1 185
  60% 5 2 220
  70% 4 2 255
  75% 3 4 275
Incline bench press   4 6  
Dip   5 5  
Deadlift from boxes 50% 5 1 185
  60% 5 2 220
  70% 4 2 255
  80% 3 4 290
Lunge with the barbell   5 5  

 

Friday

Bench press 50% 7 1 125
  55% 6 1 140
  60% 5 1 150
  65% 4 1 165
  70% 3 2 175
  75% 2 2 190
  70% 3 2 175
  65% 4 1 165
  60% 6 1 150
  55% 8 1 140
  50% 10 1 125
Dumbbell fly   10 5  
Squat 50% 5 1 150
  60% 4 2 180
  70% 3 2 210
  75% 3 5 225
Good morning (sitting)   5 5  

 

 

FAQ; Why would you do upper body and lower body the same day?

You are not lifting to put on mass anymore but to build strength & power. If you were to work in that fashion everyday doing different body parts, your nervous system would shut down at the end of that week. Therefore you need to mix it up and maximize time and energy so you can recover properly.  Another simple reason is that in a fight, you’ll need both your arms and legs to be powerful, might as well work them altogether 😉