Get MMA Muscle

Men's Health |

Session 1: Extreme Athleticism
Harness the training wisdom from McLellan and Madge’s coaches to become a fast, hardened, fat-free fighter. Choose 1, and then do the 2 sessions below for a 3 day weekly workout plan (with one day for rest in between sessions).

Here’s a strength and conditioning workout that Richard Quan uses to get McLellan into fighting fitness. “Educated violence means educated training,” explains Quan. “I place huge importance on programming, each fighter gets a customised programme.”

Strength Component:
Deadlift: 10 sets of 2 reps (160kg)
Hang cleans: 5 sets of 3 reps (70kg)
Bar muscle-ups: 5 sets of 5 reps
One arm rows: 5 sets of 5 reps (65kg)

Hill sprints: 10 x 100m
5 rounds: 10 ball slams (20kg), 
20m sled push (100kg)
1min rest


This is one of the conditioning sessions that Madge is put through by his strength and conditioning coach, Charl Malherbe. “My goal is to improve him as an athlete as the rest of his training is sport-specific to improve him as an MMA fighter. I put a big emphasis on energy systems development, which is what will ultimately get him through a fight.”

Speed Endurance Session: Use a field which is at least 100m long.
Run 200m: Finish in under 40sec 
with 20sec recovery, then…
Run 100m: Do it in under 20sec, 
rest for 40sec recovery.
That’s 1 set, do 20 of them.

For the 200m, it includes a turn as 
the field is 100m long. These are starting 
guidelines, as Madge adapts to his training, the times would be made shorter and tougher. “It’s very important to have a 
time limit on all training to challenge 
the athlete,” says Malherbe.

Hypoxic Pool Session: 25m pool
“Hypoxic pool work is a good alternate session to use a form of low-impact training,” says Malherbe. It can also help with recovery.

Step 1: 25m underwater
Step 2: 25m freestyle swim
Step 3: 25m underwater
Step 4: Walk back to the start as recovery
Repeat 20 times.

“If you surface before completing the 
underwater length, take a quick breath 
and continue underwater,” says Malherbe.

Session 2: Crushing Strength
Follow these intense interval sessions designed by MMA coach Andreas Michael 
for a full MMA body-blow. Hit each section 
for 1min, with 20sec rest in between. 
Perform 5 circuits in total.

1 \ Punchbag Slam
Stand over a punchbag with a foot on each side. Scoop it onto one shoulder and swing it down, coming off your feet to land on top. Swap shoulders each rep.

2 \ Chin and Dip
Do 30sec of chin-ups then 30sec of dips to work your arms from all angles. You can wear a weighted vest, but your bodyweight is enough for starters.

3 \ Back Squat
Lifting a man takes iron 
abs and leg strength, so squat for that power. Suck in your belly at the top then push your hips down and back for proper form.

4 \ Med Ball 
Russian Twist
Sit holding a medicine ball, leaning back slightly with knees bent at 90 degrees. Twist to touch the ball down to your left then right.

5 \ Rope Climb
Go vertical for true upper-
body strength. Climb hand over hand, using your feet 
to anchor your progress. 
Go all the way up, then 
control your descent.

6 \ Punchbag Flip
Squat, tucking your 
hands underneath 
the bag, and explode upwards using your legs then your arms to flip 
it up away from you. 
Rest for 60sec then 
restart the circuit.

Session 3: Killer Cardio
After a day’s rest, prepare to blast kilojoules 
and build fight-finishing fitness with a cardio 
blitz that switches between your upper and lower body. Again, it’s 60sec on, 20sec rest 
and 5 circuits total.

1 \ Ground and Pound
Straddle a punchbag with 
a knee either side. Now kill it. Throw punches and elbows at will. Swing both legs over to one side if you want to change things up.

2 \ Treadmill Sprint
Set a treadmill to 15km/h and a 10% incline and stand on the side while it speeds up. Use the hand rails to lower yourself onto the belt and sprint for 60sec. Be careful with getting on and off the treadmill, you don’t want to end up on one of those fail clips on YouTube.

3 \ Chin-up
Do as many reps as you can, but squeeze your shoulder blades together on the way up, rather than yanking with your arms, and lower yourself slowly.

4 \ Ball Slam
Hold a medicine ball in 
both hands. Squat slightly then leap upwards, swinging the ball above your head. Smash the ball straight down in front of you.

5 \ Double Under
Skip for 60sec and if you can, swing the rope twice for every jump. Try to jump as the rope hits the floor 
in front of you, then flick 
it round a second time.

6 \ Rowing Machine
Go all out for 60sec, but don’t just blast away. Lean right forwards to get as much pull as possible, then use your legs to return; pull only at the end of the stroke. Keep as upright as possible.

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