THE EVOLUTION HAS BEGUN
Fight training has come a long way since the iconic Rocky stereotype of pounding down a few raw eggs then hitting the road in a hoodie for a predawn run through town. A tsunami of exercise science research has yielded surprising results that gave rise to a new breed of super-�ighter.
“Ten years ago, there were two channels of thought when it came to training mixed martial artists,” says Ramsdell. “One was that they should train like other athletes via traditional means, including pyramid-based weightlifting sessions, weightlifting circuits and long, slow cardio sessions. The other was that they get all of their training via skilldevelopment practice. This training approach also included long, slow cardio — usually jogging — done for extended periods of time.”
Always one to buck the system, Ramsdell developed his own system called Caveman Training — a fast, furious and diversi�ied protocol with the kind of functional, highintensity work that mimicked the anguish of a championship bout while also improving upon important skills. But his was not intended to be a substitute for good combative work. “This total approach to training has to be done in conjunction with skill development practices and not in place of it,” says Ramsdell. “Both sides of training cannot occur in a vacuum, otherwise the athlete suffers.” intensity interval principles into your existing weight training and cardio. “This is anaerobic threshold training,” Ramsdell explains. “The conditioning sessions need to be speci�ic to the event and systematically introduced over time to allow the body to adapt. Once the training is introduced and phased in correctly, the results are nothing less than impressive.”
Caveman Training conditions your body to perform for an extended period of time in your anaerobic zone, meaning you can crank at higher levels for longer periods. This creates a de facto focus on fast-twitch muscle �ibers, those most responsible for growth — hence the bulbous shoulders and broad backs of top-tier �ighters.
“The body becomes very adept at removing lactic acid from the bloodstream, which allows the athlete to continue to perform at a very high rate,” Ramsdell says. You also end up with an improved ability to recover, prolonged endurance near maximum heart rate and increased blood volume. Result: Your body becomes a hellishly ef�icient machine bent on the destruction of fat, the preservation of muscle and the will to persevere through anything you (or anyone else) can throw at it.
“This type of training is incredibly arduous and very uncomfortable,” Ramsdell warns. “The athlete experiences pain and suffering via the imposed demands of their training. And that teaches them that mentally they can withstand anything their competitor throws at them. I have always said that the training for the competition should be harder than the competition itself and I think my athletes would testify to that.”
So what do you want to be — or even just look — ready for? Sign up for the suffering and begin construction on your own hellish machine.
with a barbell squat and explode upward to catch as much air as possible. Round 3 (5 minutes) Two jabs set up a big straight punch (cross). Again, feel free to switch from orthodox to southpaw from round to round. Push-ups now become harder, since your anterior delts will feel fatigued. Quality, not quantity, becomes key as you march into the later rounds. Round 4 (5 minutes) A hard, straight, right punch is the perfect set-up for a left kick. It is also an exercise in coreshredding torture, and consecutive power strikes mean the intensity remains high. Split squat jumps follow, calling for you to land in a lunge position, explode up and switch feet in the air. Speaking of air, you won’t have much left after the first minute.
Punch as hard and as fast as you can for the full 30 seconds, switching your stance when necessary to maintain your pace. There can be some modest swivel through your hips for power, but the focus should be on speed. Consider this the light at the end of the tunnel, even as you endure the burpees that follow.