Before you can choose a program that will best suit you for an upcoming fight you’ll need to first assess where you’re at currently.

And that assessment will require honesty…something that prideful pugilists always seem to take issue with.

Let’s assume you’re going to be honest with yourself. The next step is to evaluate your fitness level.

I guess the easiest way to judge where you’re at is to think about how you feel during training. Do you feel strong in relation to your opponent? How quickly do you gas out? How long before your speed and power dissipates?

Things like that. From there it’s best to seek the help of a professional. Below is my conversation with Matt Wiggins, a well known S&C Coach in the MMA community.

Perhaps he’ll be able to help us both out.

What workout should we use

Hey Matt,

Just curious dude…which 8 week wkout or which two 8 week wkouts would be best 16 weeks out from a fight?

I’m asking because I hooked up with a pro trainer out of Charlotte
who’s going to get me my first pro boxing match around Sept or so, and I’d like to be prepared physically.

The skills training motivates me, but the resistance training is
starting to bore me. I’m on the tail end of a 12 week program that was more bodybuilding than anything else really. Essentially I was just trying to look better for summer, which I achieved, but now I need something else…something much more practical for fighting.

I’m down to around 188 from 195 and probably 10 or 11% bodyfat. I’ll be boxing at 175 and be fighting 170 for MMA (when I get to it).

So knowing that I’ll need to keep my weight down, which program or programs might you recommend?

I’m chronicling my journey on my blog by filming and writing lots of things. Maybe you’d have an interest in being my kinda online S and C Coach?

Just an idea. Let me know what you think I should do. Thanks bro.

Yo Jonathan!

Hell yeah, I’d be interested!

Lemme ask you this – what are your biggest needs right now physically?

How is your maximal strength? Or power? (i.e. – are you strong, but
don’t move fast?)

Many times you can be strong, but still very slow. That’s why power
training is more needed for athletes. However, MMA by nature is very explosive, so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a fighter to focus S&C on getting stronger, and then that strength is converted to power not in the S&C training, but in the skills work.

Then what about your conditioning? What is that like? How is your cardio? Muscular endurance? Strength/power-endurance?

Or how about work capacity (just how much work in general you can do)?

Unless you’re just in need of maximal strength (which we could address), then I’d honestly suggest starting off for the 1st couple months w/my cardio workout.

I call it a cardio workout, but it’s really a work capacity program based around complexes, circuits, and such using just DBs, a med ball, and bodyweight exercises. It uses a lot of explosive movements and such.

(Imagine something like P90X…only w/some serious balls. LOL.)

If you can do these workouts…and use any kind of real weight when you do…you’ll build work capacity like a friggin’ machine.

For example, let’s take a look at a short complex from my buddy Ross
Enamait called the “Magic 50”. (I don’t use this in the cardio workout, but it’ll be a good example.) It’s Burpees x 10, DB snatch x 5 each side, then DB swing x 5 each side. Rest 60 secs. Repeat 5x.

Now, imagine if you got to the point that you were cranking out the 10 Burpees in 15-20 secs, and using an 80 lbs. DB for the workout. You’d be in some pretty damn good shape.

Well, that’s the kinda thing my entire program is based around.

Take a look at what some results/feedback on the cardio program:

I’ve actually got a few fighters I’m helping now online, and the basis of their training is the cardio program (or at least the same principles).

I think you could start off on the first 8 weeks of this program to build some insane work capacity, and we could monitor/adjust from there.

Lemme know what you think. Great to talk to you again.

Hey Matt,

Well, perhaps I can explain it to you in my own dumbed-down way.

Most guys that I’m sparring right now that are my weight or lower I’m much stronger than. I’m the bully physically.

For the most part—at the lower levels of boxing and MMA I think it’ll be pretty much the same scenerio.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to be stronger. I mean I’m not deadlifting 400 lbs like GSP and Dan Hardy were during their primetime series or anything like that. All I’m sayin is I’d most likely be bigger and stronger than most guys at 175 and 170 now.

Because I’m 6’2”, weighed in at a pretty lean 185 this morning, and I’ve been doing resistance training for the better part of the last decade. I’d say most fighters have focused less on S & C than I have (at the lower levels of course).

I’m strong, but I don’t move as fast as I’d like too. So I’d most definitely like to improve my explosive power.

My muscular endurance, and cardiovascular conditioning has improved over the last 12 weeks, but my legs still fatigue too quickly—I’d say around round 3 of sparring, give or take a round based on how many hard shots I’ve taken and I’m definitely suckin wind by about the same round.

I just started back swimming (I swam competitively when I was younger) and I’m thinking about doing more of that to increase the amount of work I can do with less oxygen. I have a bad habit of holding my breath under pressure causing me to gas even quicker than I should, so perhaps swimming will give me a bit more endurance if I continue to do that.

Overall I’d say my work capacity sucks, but maybe I’m just being too critical.

So your cardio/work capacity program sounds appealing. The example you gave me of Ross’ (I’ve actually spoken to him before, boxing guy, seems like a wkout animal) Magic 50 sounds good to me.

I’d like to maintain my muscularity, increase my work capacity/cardio, improve power to move quicker, and maybe drop down to a more manageable weight of say 182 so I can make 75 and 70 pretty easily. I can lower my body fat % a couple more points before it starts to get unhealthy I think.

Think this is doable?

Hey Jonathan,

After what you’ve said below, my cardio workout is exactly what you’re
looking for.

Even though there’s no ”maximal” strength work, I think you’ll find that the increase in work capacity will actually help you get stronger. I’ve had several guys get stronger on the program, even though that wasn’t the true intention of the workout.

If all else fails, after 4-5 weeks, we can add in some basic maximal work to keep strength up (though I really don’t think that’ll be a problem).

And given the nature of many of the exercises used in the program (DB snatches, woodchoppers, jumps, etc), you’ll get more explosive, as well.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Talk soon, man.