Want fighter-level fit­ness with­out the bruises? Get it here

Want a mixed mar­tial artist’s body with­out the bro­ken bones and bruises? Try the pro­gramme that’s tak­ing the fight world by storm – no spar­ring re­quired

Men's Fitness - - Contents - Words Matt Huckle Photography Joel An­der­son

In mixed mar­tial arts, ‘less’ isn’t a word you hear of­ten. With dozens of skills to mas­ter and a blend of ex­plo­sive­ness, en­durance and strength needed in ev­ery bout, fighters al­most al­ways aim for more: cram­ming in a lift­ing ses­sion af­ter spar­ring, or half a dozen hill sprints on tech­nique day. The work ethic is awe-inspiring, but the dan­gers of over­train­ing and in­jury are ever-present. And, says fight coach Joel Jamieson, it doesn’t have to be that way.

‘Mixed mar­tial arts is all about bal­ance,’ says Jamieson, who has been train­ing fighters for over a decade. ‘Con­di­tion­ing – which means im­prov­ing your work ca­pac­ity – is about more than just build­ing men­tal tough­ness with a “how hard can you go” ap­proach. You do have to train hard, but you can only do so much.’

Since start­ing out in 2003, Jamieson has worked along­side top MMA coach Matt Hume – trainer of cur­rent UFC fly­weight cham­pion Demetri­ous John­son – and has got some of the great­est ever fighters into shape, from fomer mid­dleweight champ Rich Franklin to cur­rent UFC wel­ter­weight champ Rob­bie Lawler. But while his ad­vice is ob­vi­ously in­valu­able, that doesn’t mean you should train ex­actly like one of his fighters.

‘The high­est-level guys are train­ing eight to ten times a week,’ says Jamieson. ‘We can’t ex­pect some­one work­ing a nine-to-five job to put the same time in, so the vol­ume in this plan is toned down a lit­tle. But that means you can up the in­ten­sity.’


This train­ing pro­gramme is de­signed to strike a bal­ance be­tween vol­ume, in­ten­sity and rest. Ac­cord­ing to Jamieson, if the vari­ables are skewed in the wrong di­rec­tion, the re­sult is ei­ther a plateau or over­train­ing, where progress can go back­wards.

‘Although each work­out in­cludes ex­er­cises that will chal­lenge the en­tire body, each has a dif­fer­ent em­pha­sis,’ says Jamieson. ‘Work­out one is fo­cused on lower-body move- ments, work­out two tar­gets the up­per body and work­out three em­pha­sises to­tal-body ex­plo­sive power.’ This means you work your en­tire body ef­fi­ciently across the week with­out ex­pos­ing your­self to overuse in­juries.

‘This bal­ance should ex­tend to your diet,’ says Jamieson. ‘You ob­vi­ously want whole nat­u­ral foods, not junk. I don’t be­lieve ath­letes should be on low-carb or high-fat di­ets. You want about 1g of pro­tein per kilo of body­weight and some­where in the range of 20% of your to­tal calo­ries from fat. The rest of your diet is made up of car­bo­hy­drates, based on the amount of ac­tiv­ity you’re do­ing that day.’

Strength and con­di­tion­ing for MMA is still a fairly new science. ‘If it was easy you wouldn’t see fighters run­ning out of steam half­way through a fight,’ says Jamieson, who is lead­ing the charge with a sci­en­tific ap­proach. So for­get the tough-guy work­outs and train with bal­ance. You don’t even have to worry about black eyes. For more train­ing ex­per­tise from Joel Jamieson, visit 8week­sout.com

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