Before you start the workouts I’m going to lay out for you it’s a good idea to have some simple barometers in place so you can track your success. Measurable results are what motivate us, both in fitness levels and appearance.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not much of a numbers guy, I usually go by feel and look and that’s what has worked for me, but since I hired a strength and conditioning coach AND we’re dragging you guys along for the ride, it’s necessary. Plus I always regret not knowing exactly how much I’ve improved at the conclusion of every training camp and end up kicking myself for not taking the time to measure my success somehow…don’t be me.

Here’s three things you should do before you begin this or any other MMA exercise program

Track Your Body Composition

Honestly, my suggestion to you is to just take some pictures. It’s a simple way to track progress. If you use an athletic training style like the one I’m suggesting, your body will change.

You’re going to put on some muscle, but that’s not really the most important part. The more telling stat is body fat lost—which will happen with such a workout. So it’s not so much that you’ll pack on tons of muscle with this workout as it is how much muscle you’ll start to see because there’s less body fat covering it. Make sense?

Speaking of body fat…if you have the means to measure it, please do. Most gyms have someone trained to do the test with calipers (which are just these plastic plier looking things that they use to poke and prod your fat—just kidding, well, sort of).

There are other less viable ways to measure it. Some too expensive such as an MRI and some too inaccurate such as a handheld body fat tester.

Regardless which method you choose make sure to test the results weeks later in the same manner.

Along with a picture, and a body fat measurement, go ahead a weigh yourself. It’s not the end all be all, but if you’re trying to make weight then I suppose it would be!

Weight: 189
Body Fat: 11.85%

One thing we didn’t do that you might want to consider is using a tape measure to record inches lost and gained. Actually I really wish we’d done this, but I think we both were too lazy or didn’t care all that much because we were excited to get to it.

It’d be kind of cool to see how much your chest got bigger in comparison to how much your waist got smaller (if you could stand lose fat in both areas it could mean significant losses in both).

Test Your Functional Movement

The video below was a functional movement test that my trainer put me through to assess my strengths and weaknesses physically. It operates under the statistic that all athletes that scored below average on any movement had an 80% chance of going under the knife within two years. Remember our number one goal is to prevent injury so we CAN train.

I wasn’t below average on any movement, but it gave us a better idea of what we need to work on. For instance I lacked shoulder mobility and hamstring flexibility.

Without a trained professional eye there to watch you perform the movements I don’t know how useful the following test will be…so feel free to omit this part.

Although, I think with the video to help and the assessment explanations below you’ll kind of figure out on your own what needs to be improved upon if you find any movement difficult.

If you listen closely to the video you’ll hear my trainer detail a lot of the what, and why.

Functional Movement Test:

  • Deep Squat—challenges total body mechanics and assess bilateral, symmetrical, and functional mobility of hips, knees, and ankles…add a dowel overhead and you’re looking at the same thing in your shoulders and thoracic spine
  • In Line Lunge—challenges the body’s trunk and extremities to resist rotation and stay in alignment. Used to asses hip and ankle mobility/stability, quad flexibility, and knee stability
  • Shoulder Mobility—test range of motion and requires normal scapular mobility and thoracic spine extension
  • Active Straight Leg Raise—assess active hamstring and gastrocnemius-soleus flexibility while maintaining a stable pelvis and active extension of opposite leg
  • Trunk Stability Pushup—ability to stabilize the spine in one plane while performing an upper body movement and assesses trunk stability in the sagittal plane while a symmetrical upper extremity motion is performed

Test Your Fitness Level

It’ll be essential to design a test that will measure how much your fitness levels have improved. You can use ours if you’d like or create your own. The important part is to record exactly how you did each test, so when you re-test, your results won’t be skewed because you changed something about the movement—then you’ll accurately be able to tell how far you’ve come.

Here’s the video of our test and my results below:

Hamstring Flexibility: 13 inch reach w/a 15 inch base
Balance: R-leg 7 sec, L-leg 7 sec
Upper Body Strength & Endurance: 37 pushups
Core Strength & Endurance: 20 TRX pikes
Leg Strength & Endurance: 22 reps w/270 lbs
Cardio Respiratory Endurance: 11.25 touches (450 yds) 40 yd suicides for 2 min
Footspeed and Agility: 27 touches in 25 sec using 3 planks doing double foot touches

Also an important recommendation I can make is to purchase a heart rate monitor and use it over this entire program. Where as strength gains are easily measured by increased weight and reps, your cardio respiratory improvement isn’t without the use of a HRM.

We did include a test for it that will provide a good representation of your progress, but its nice to have more immediate feedback that the HRM will give you.

Over the course of the program you’ll find that your body will operate more efficiently at higher heart rates, it’ll take a much more difficult workload to reach your max heart rate, and the time it takes for your heart rate to drop back down (i.e. recover) will decrease along with the number of beats it drops…which is a significant indicator of fitness.