One of the coun­try’s premier fight­con­di­tion­ing coaches di­vulges the SE­CRETS TO BUILD­ING AN OC­TAGON-READY PHYSIQUE. Spoiler alert: It’s gonna suck.

Muscle & Performance - - Pro Corner - BY ERIC VE­LAZQUEZ, CSCS • PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY CORY SORENSEN

As fans of goal-driven pe­ri­odiza­tion, it’s hard for us to ad­vo­cate train­ing schemes that prom­ise mul­ti­ple adap­ta­tions at once be­cause, well… sci­ence. Whether it’s the pur­suit of more mus­cle, greater strength or de­creased body fat, the body sim­ply re­sponds best to weeks-long bouts of spe­cial­iza­tion. Right?

Well, the elite in mixed mar­tial arts — par­tic­u­larly those of the past five to 10 years — seem to defy con­ven­tional wis­dom, step­ping out of the gym and onto the mat with exquisitely crafted tor­sos and in­hu­man lev­els of fight-clos­ing en­durance. But these sleek gla­di­a­tors don’t just look good un­der the bright lights; their in­ter­nal ma­chin­ery also has been tweaked, tricked into pro­duc­ing phys­i­cal dom­i­nance on de­mand, like a hacked slot ma­chine that al­ways pays out.

“Mixed mar­tial artists are some of the fittest ath­letes on the planet,” says Scott Rams­dell, Na­tional Academy of Sports Medicine MMA con­di­tion­ing spe­cial­ist and pres­i­dent of Fit­ness So­lu­tions (fit­so­lu­tion­s4u.com). He is also the pres­i­dent of the Ever­last Lab (ev­er­last­lab.com) in Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota, and one of the ar­chi­tects of the re­cent revo­lu­tion in fight train­ing. “Due to the de­mands of their sport and the rig­or­ous struc­ture of their com­pe­ti­tions, they are forced to be good at ev­ery­thing … strik­ing, grap­pling and ji­u­jitsu. They also need to be well-rounded, well-con­di­tioned ath­letes with an in­cred­i­bly large aer­o­bic gas tank and the abil­ity to func­tion for pro­longed pe­ri­ods within their anaer­o­bic up­per limit. They need to pos­sess ex­plo­sive mus­cu­lar power while at the same time, pos­sess­ing ex­tended mus­cu­lar en­durance.”

And, of course, mas­tery of these many do­mains means an­other, su­per­fi­cial ben­e­fit: “The aes­thet­ics of mixed mar­tial artists are long, lean tor­sos with a high per­cent­age of mus­cle and a rel­a­tively low per­cent­age of body fat,” says Rams­dell, who has worked with headliners such as Sean Sherk and Brock Les­nar. “Train­ing like a mixed mar­tial artist not only pro­vides func­tion­al­ity but also the over­all look most peo­ple are striv­ing for.”

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