UFC Specific Conditioning Master Circuit B
Even the best athlete in the world is subject to the 80/20 law: In any one cycle, you get 80% of your progress through diligent, hard work and intelligent program design. The remaining 20% - which separate the good from the great - are not gained by working harder, but by working more specific. The following Circular Strength Training Master Circuit A demonstrates how I’m taking Alberto’s massive general conditioning gains and like a prism focusing them into the range and motion of his real goal: to have a conditioning platform as masterful as his Jiujitsu technical platform.
Master Circuit A: 666 Protocol - named for the fact that in order to survive, all personal demons will be faced. This is not a “friendly” protocol. As we start heading into mental and emotional, more buttons will be pushed attempting to knock him mentally out of the game.Six 6-minute rounds with 60 seconds rest of the following circuit, 30 seconds per station:
Stetchband Heavybar Shoot Drive
Medball Single-Handed Shoot Drive
Dynamax Medball Knee Drive
Heavybag Eccentric Scissors Catch
Heavybag Horizontal Knee Drive
Stretchband Heavybar Umpa
Tornado Ball Diagonal Slam
AKC Kettlebell Alternating Floor Drive
Medball Single-Handed Kip Drive
AKC Kettlebell Long Cycle Clean and Jerk
As a lifelong fighter and coach, I know the seductive call of wanting to push harder and harder. You feel the gains and you believe that if you just keep going that the gains will keep coming. It’s a certain greed we all experience when we start progressing in our conditioning. I’ve had to steady myself as a coach to look and listen for these signs - as well as follow the data trail recording progress - to know when its time to yoke it back.
If an athlete allows himself to get greedy, he’ll first meet diminishing returns: even though he’s working harder and harder, his numbers are progressing less and less. If he keeps going, he’ll hit the “plateau” or “wall” where progress completely halts despite greater efforts. And then, little cracks will start to appear - first fatigue, aches, tweaks, etc… eventually bursting into a full-blown injury and/or illness.
Most fighters perform under-restored and sub-prime conditioning. I’ve said this before. But what I mean specifically is the above. They push by the initial 80% gains made through general and specific physical conditioning and, craving more of those rapid major gains, do not move into sports-specific performance enhancement (SSP)… where the final 20% to be gained in any one cycle can be found - the final 20% that separate the good from the great. As a result of thinking that the last 20% can be acquired through more of the same lung-searing, gut-wrenching work of the first two phases (GPP and SPP), he first never reaches prime conditioning (100%), and secondly never becomes fully-restored from the conditioning demands upon the body.
Most fighters are walking wounded. We become slaves to the very discipline that we sought to cultivate; our ability to push ourselves beyond our current limitations turns against us. This is why a professional coach must be in place, so that no fighters goes injured and poorly prepared on his watch.
I’ve written before that this is the danger of general conditioning (GPP) programs, even quality designs like Crossfit are not designed for sports-specificity. As stock workouts-of-the-day (WODs), they remain disconnected from the internal event of the external movement. This externalism is the one problem that I’ve had with exercise programs in general from the get-go. Even from a geek standpoint, anything above (maximum heart rate) HRmax is inadaptable, so if there’s no correlation to what’s happening within the individual’s nervous system, the “extremist” fitness perspective is just as useless as couch-surfing.
I’m all for balls-to-the-wall workouts and take a certain pride in creating athletes that give me the honor of pushing them where they cannot go alone. However, if the body cannot adapt to it because it’s purely hormonal (+HRmax’s “fight, flight or freeze syndrome”), then it’s purely sadism with no benefit and only detriment to the athlete.Although the stock WOD Rx is a helpful “benchmark” to people who have never pushed themselves, there is an inherent danger of separating the internal event from the external movements. Even in my public classes, there are four levels of complexity:
Delta for those new to metabolic conditioning
Gamma for those with a few weeks under their belt (there’s a pretty sharp physiological curve)
Beta for the brave folks who have been training for a few months
Alpha is strictly for bragging rights among the pros
Everyone will have the same protocol (timed sets, tabata, volume/time, etc.), but they each have different levels of motor complexity: i.e. delta - knee pushups, gamma - quad presses, beta - quad hops, alpha - clapping quad hops. Yoga has utilized these motor complexity steps for millennia. The Russians who I learned from made it into a science. In USA it’s damned-near mandatory because we’re motor morons from our love for convenience and over-simplification.
Tie these levels of motor complexity with a HR monitor, and then you know precisely when you’ve washed over HRmax and need to dial it back (and if not between 65-85%HRmax, when to turn it up.) It’s not that difficult to craft out and publish a scaled WOD like I do with my public classes in my gyms. But that’s just a professional difference of opinion and a different focus. I make no attempt to market my classes to the general public, and tell non-fighters that they were designed specifically for the energy system of surviving a crisis.
I believe that my main focus is the “scaling” because I’m more concerned with the specificity of where the individual is going: from starting point to peaking point. I also believe that even general fitness is specific: even though there is a general adaptation of “fitness” (energy system), there is also a specific adaptation to each movement which must be specifically compensated for in order to remain “balanced
Distinguished Master of Sport
Ultimate Fighting Championship Coach
Horizontal Knee Drive