Mixed Martial Arts

Week 1 - What does it take to train like an MMA fighter?

Jordan Cieciwa
2/11/2014 8:45:24 AM
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My career has seen me do the strength and conditioning for some elite members of Team Quest, Reign MMA, and Black House. It's been a wild ride that has found me on the other end of the microphone and writing. I'm now more of a media based personality that trains specialized clients, rather than a strength coach that does media from time to time.

So when the opportunity came to do another fight camp, I jumped on it.  Well, not exactly a fight camp. I don't intend on sparring. This is me showing fans what goes into the physical prep of a fighter. It's something every fan should experience. Not just MMA fans, but all sports.

I always say you can't boo an athlete until you've trained like one.

Without the sparring and the training injuries, this still isn't the total experience. If you follow along and try adding some of the treadmill sprint work, different lifting techniques and of course, the stretching, you'll soon come to realize that MMA is actually a whole new level of tough.

Never mind the technical aspect, let's get an appreciation for the workouts.

For this blog, I want to give you the full experience. That means, training with a coach.  Can I do it alone? Yes, I've prepared some of the best of the best. I know that to get the best results, you need the best coaches. So I went where a few of my mentors and role models go.

Troy Westwood is one of the fittest guys I know, he's the host of the Morning show on TSN 1290, Doug Brown played CFL and was one of the best of the best, Obby Kahn  makes the best shawarma in Winnipeg, He also happens to have come back from injuries and illness that would have crippled lesser men. They all go see Jeff Fisher at Elite Performance in Winnipeg.  So I knocked on the door.

So far I have been through the testing day and I may be regretting the decision.

Here is where the journey starts.  I had a full medical work up to ensure no mistakes or simple injuries were caused during training. The worst thing that can happen to any athlete is to lose technical and tactical days because a Strength Coach caused an injury in the gym.   A mistake that can be easily avoided with an understanding of the body and making a program designed for the athlete.

I now have this thanks to Fish.

The next step is finding the athletes starting point, and ensuring you never over train or take steps back.  My testing day set out to find my lactic threshold, anaerobic capacity, and over all muscle strength.
I did 17 beautiful chin ups. Not bad considering I'm 6'3 and 228lbs. I was proud.
I'm getting my work done with a professional. If you don't have access to this type of total committed training, try doing this to find your starting point next time you are at the gym. (Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program)

Work with a spotter/counter/timer

Complete as many push-ups as you can without stopping. Rest 3-4 minutes and repeat.

Same thing for Chin Ups.

Plank once until failure.

Run as far as you can in 12 minutes record the distance you go in METERS (not miles or kilometers).

This is called the cooper test.

Plug the numbers into this equation -
Basically I want you to subtract 505 from the meters you run. Then divide it by 45. That's your VO2 max; feel free to compare it with the normal numbers that can be found on the internet. It's fun to know where you stand.

Once you have your numbers, start to make them better. I'll retest at the end of this fight camp, a pro athlete would just get in the cage because the proof is in the punch. For us fans of the sport, we just get to train like a pro, and get better at being healthy.

Join along; this will increase your respect for top pros.  My hope is to go out and visit a few of my friends competing in the World Series of Fighting and get training beside them.

In the meantime, I'm going to be grinding out workouts thanks to Elite Performance. Check it out on twitter #Relentless.

The Gym (Photo: Marty Melville/Getty Images)


(Photo: Marty Melville/Getty Images)
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