Muscle & Performance - - Pro Corner -

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.

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