Thursday, April 8, 2010

How should an aspiring fighter train?

So you've decided your going to take it to the next level and your going to step into the ring. How should you start to train for it? There is no single and simple answer because, when it comes to determining how your going to train, you need to adjust what's called the acute variables:

Exercise Selection

Changing any variable completely changes the outcome of your training. So how should you arrange your variables to get the most out of training? It's called the S.A.I.D. Principle and it stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. That's trainer talk for saying that you will do in the fight what you did in training. (So if you don't plan on doing a lot of barbell bicep curls in your fight, don't do a lot of them in your training.) The more your training looks like your fight, the more prepared you will be for your fight.

Conversely, if your goal is to learn a new skill and all you are doing is sparring, then you're going to get better at sparring (notice I didn't say fighting), you won't be learning that new skill. To learn a new skill your training should look like skill training and not fight training. If you're trying to lose weight to get into the next weight-class down, then your training should look like weight-loss training, and not fight or skill training.

This brings me to my next point. Obviously you need to keep your weight down, learn new skills, and be conditioned to fight; and the S.A.I.D. Principle says you need to train differently for each of these outcomes by changing the acute variables. Getting pretty complicated, huh? (That's why you hire someone like me.) And the scary part is, there's more. We've only discussed the micro-variables and not the macro-variables. The farther you are from your fight the more you should focus on skill development and weight management, and the closer that fight gets the more you should abandon skill development and weight management, and focus on fight training.

To illustrate the above point, let's say you have a fight on March 1st, and it is currently January 1st. That's three months of quality training that you're going to get--or three months of spinning your wheels if you don't know what you're doing.

Your first month should be nothing but skill development and weight management training. During the second month your training should be mostly skill development and weight management with fight training becoming more and more dominant. In your third month the skill and weight management training should be reducing and the fight training should be taking over until about two weeks before your fight where the only thing your doing is fight training (you should already be down to about 5 pounds over fight weight by now and just need to sweat out water to make weight; this is a healthy way so that you are strong in your fight).

So how do we change the variables according to the S.A.I.D. Principle to do all of this?

That's a 1,200 page instruction manual, and far too complicated to even attempt to teach you here. If you are so inclined to learn it, I suggest taking the N.A.S.M. Certfied Personal Trainer Course, and then taking the N.A.S.M. Performance Enhancement Specialist Course. It will take one to two years. That's how much info you'll need.

Instead, I'm going to try and condense it down to this example, which is only one way (actually it's how I used to do it; and if you don't know me, check out my highlight under the Forum Thread: Made in the TBA-USA--let me just say I was known for my conditioning, and as you'll see I had a very high skill level, and 2% body fat):

You should be training six days a week on a split schedule. Sunday will be your only day of complete rest. Wednesday and Saturday you will only have one workout a day, the rest of the week you'll be training twice a day.

Skill Development in the afternoon, about three hours of training. Low-Intensity Weight Management at night (Some people prefer to do this in the early a.m. with roadwork, although I am opposed to early a.m. training, S.A.I.D. Principle, remember? Have you ever fought at 5:30am?)

Same as Monday except the Weight Management training at night should be High-Intensity

Skill Development Training only

Same as Tuesday

Same as Monday

Weight Management training at night only, should be Very-High Intensity

Complete day of rest

As the training progresses (second month more or less), start switching Monday and Fridays from Skill Development to Fight Traning. As the fight get's closer and closer all Skill Training should become Fight Training. Also, all Weight Management Training should increase in intensity as the fight gets closer and closer so that it becomes Fight Conditioning Training.

And it's just as complicated as that.


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