Our MMA expert Emerson breaks down his second of a three part, 12 week strength & conditioning fight preparation. You can find CYCLE 1 linked below. Note that the training cycle below consists of training each body part one day per week only. Enjoy! 

This is CYCLE 2 of a hypertrophy/strength program. This is where techniques acquired in CYCLE 1 through kettle-bell training will be necessary. If you haven’t really touched an Olympic bar so far in your career, well now’s the time. You will need to be a little more strategic as to how you merge your weight training with your kickboxing/MMA training. For my part, my kickboxing pattern remained the same and simply followed a recipe of 2 days on and 1 day off for my lifting days. Keep in mind, you are a still on a traditional weight lifting program that requires three weeks of progressive overload and a fourth unloaded week.

The following is an exact copy of my own training at the time of preparing for a fight:


  • Deadlift: 4 x 8
  • Squat: 4 x 10
  • Front Squat: 3 x 15

*You are lifting moderate to heavy weights; you need to take about 2-3min rest in between sets in order to recover necessary energy to accomplish following set.

Day 2: CHEST

  • Flat Bench press: 5 x 10 (bar must touch chest)
  • Dips: 4 x 10 (add weight to body if necessary)
  • Incline dumbbell: 3 x 12 (bring elbow below 90 degree angle)

*DAY OFF (might be a strictly MMA day)

Day 3: BACK

  • Row: 5 x 8  (with the olympic bar)
  • Lat pull down ‘‘V’’ grip: 4 x 10
  • Chin up: 4 x Max reps

Day 4: Shoulders/Arms

  • Military Press: 5 x 10
  • Lateral Raise: 4 x 10
  • High pull: 3 x 10 (with the bar to the chin)
  • Skull crushers triceps: 4 x 10
  • Bicep curls barbell: 4 x 8

*NOTE: The selection of these particular exercises is simple; many experts like Terry Hadlow and Charles Poliquin agree to say that significant tests of strength are exercises such as squats/front squats, flat/incline bench press and deadlift.  Based on such acquired knowledge and my own experience, you will definitely see significant increase in strength and muscle mass if you implement a similar program to your combat sport training.