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The Most Popular MMA Training Workout

By Eric Wong, BSc, CSCS

randy coutureRandy Couture’s barbell complex is probably the most popular MMA workout you can find online. I think it has something like 300,000 views on YouTube or something.

It’s basically a circuit of barbell exercises where you use the same weight for each exercise and keep moving, non-stop. It’s a decent little routine, but not something you can base your MMA strength and conditioning program around.

First of all, the complex will not develop your strength or power at all.

That’s because you’re only using light weights and you’re working in a circuit. While circuits are good, they must be designed with a goal in mind.

What you will develop is some anaerobic endurance and grip strength, that’s about it.

It might be good to do this at the end of a workout or as a warmup, but it shouldn’t be your main method of developing MMA fitness.

Instead, you need a workout routine that has distinct phases that improves your strength, power, endurance, and then peaks you for your fight.

This requires a complete plan designed specifically for MMA fighters by someone who trains fighters.

As a fighter, you’ve got to deal with your boxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, muay thai training, maybe some karate (thanks Lyoto), on top of your general strength and conditioning work.

So if you just follow a general strength and conditioning routine or bodybuilding workout, you’re running the risk of overtraining, developing qualities that will conflict with your needs as a mixed-martial artist, and worst of all – injury.

When I work with a fighter, the first thing I have to do is a physical assessment, which tells me where they’re weak, and where they’re strong.

Then, given the amount of time we have, I can prioritize what to train to maximize physical fitness come fight day.

But I have to balance this with the fighter’s current training schedule, work schedule, and partying!

Luckily, I’ve devised a simple formula for determining what exercises to do,and all the little details in between like # of sets, reps, order of exercises, tempo, and more, so that the strength and conditioning work doesn’t interfere with the skills training.

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