To end this series of posts, I’ll be creating a simple but effective program for the energy system training component of a UFC fighter. Namely, Clay Guida because he is know for his high levels of conditioning and because even at 5’7′, he’s the biggest bad ass in the UFC.
He is my favorite fighter because he is a true warrior. The dude won’t stop fighting no matter how many times he’s knocked down. I swear, he has to be insane or something. His conditioning is freaking phenomenal too. He spends more energy walking to the octagon, bouncing up and down, and running around before his fight than most people spend in a day.
I get exhausted just from watching him, let alone actually doing what he’s doing! Ha!
For the purposes of this post, I will act as if I’m preparing him for his fight against Diego Sanchez, which although he lost, it was the GREATEST fight I have ever seen. For those that don’t know who he is, watch this and you’ll understand what I mean:
With that said, let’s get down to the good stuff.
My client is Clay Guida, a UFC fighter, and is scheduled to have a fight in 5 months against Diego Sanchez.
Here are Clay’s stats (from UFC.com).
Nickname: The Carpenter
From: Round Lake,Illinois USA
Fights Out Of: Albuquerque, NM USA
Height: 5′ 7″ ( 170 cm )
Weight: 155 lb ( 70 kg )
Total Fights: 17
Summary: Wrestling, solid chin, great flexibility, endurance, quality training partners
His fight history shows that 20% of his fights consist of striking and whooping 80% of his fights consist of ground fighting, specifically 25% from submissions and 55% from takedowns.
So basically, he has great conditioning and loves being on the ground. Improving his conditioning to improve his grappling will be the main emphasis of the program as that is his strength.
Now for his opponent, Diego Sanchez:
Nickname: The Dream
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Fights Out Of: Albuquerque, NM USA
Height: 5′ 10″ ( 177 cm )
Weight: 170 lb ( 77 kg )
Total Fights: 20
Summary: Excellent grappling skills
His fight history shows that 36% of his fights consist of striking and 63% of his fights consist of ground fighting with 34% coming from submissions and 29% coming from takedowns. He is also really adept in his ground game but on paper, Guida has the edge and Sanchez has the edge on striking.
Some more info here: Guida avoids 65% of strikes and 75% of takedowns while Sanchez avoids 59% of strikes and 54% of takedowns.
Guida’s fight history also shows that every one of his fights have either gone the distance or ended by submission. Almost all of Diego’s fights have ended by submission or by unanimous decision. Guida also has a higher percentage of wins by submissions than Diego has.
Although Diego has great conditioning and ground game, it is not on par with Guida’s. He is also taller and heavier than Guida. This means it’s in Guida’s best interest to take this guy to the ground and stay there.
Again, that is even more reason to improve his conditioning specifically for all the wrestling and ju-jitsu that will occur.
The main energy systems we will focus on are aerobic capacity, aerobic power, and anaerobic alactic capacity.
5 Months Out: Aerobic Capacity
- Road Work: 3 X’s A Week (Jogging)
- Little Skill Work
4 Months Out: Aerobic Power
- Tempo Runs: 3 X’s A Week (Jogging, Tumbling, Footwork, Some Skill Work)
- Some Skill Work
3 Months Out: Aerobic Power/Capacity W/ Anaerobic Alactic Capacity
- Hurricane Training: 1 X’s A Week (Category 2-3) (Mostly Sprints, Some Skill Work)
- Tempo Runs: 2 X’s A Week (Prowler/Sleds)
- Road Work: 1 X’s A Week (Jogging)
- More Skill Work
2 Months Out: Anaerobic Alactic Capacity W/ Aerobic Power
- Hurricane Training 2 X’s A Week (Category 3-4) (Sprints, Some Amount Of Skill Work)
- Tempo Runs: 2 X’s A Week (Prowler/Sleds, Skill Work, Jump Rope)
- Even More Skill Work
1 Month Out: Anaerobic Lactic Capacity W/ Aerobic Power
- Hurricane Training 1 X’s A Week (Category 4-5) (Strongman, skill work)
- Aerobic Circuits: 2 X’s A Week (Circuits W/ Skill Work)
- Mostly All Training Is Skill Work
Why I Did What I Did
5 Months Out
Keeping in mind that MMA is sport that relies heavily on the aerobic system, I started out the program by developing the aerobic capacity system.
Because of its simplicity and effectiveness, I opted for regular, old school road work. At 3 X’s a week, it is enough volume and frequency to develop the aerobic capacity system maximally.
4 Months Out
With last month being totally about aerobic capacity, this month will totally be about aerobic power. This specific system will be extremely important in Guida’s training program, especially because he’ll be on the ground most of the time.
With these tempo runs at 3 X’s a week, it will also be enough volume and frequency to develop it maximally. Also, now more specific work is included such as tumbling, footwork, and even some skill work.
3 Months Out
Things change a little now that the fight is only 3 months away.
Here I kept aerobic power as the dominant energy system being trained but now I put back in some training for the aerobic capacity system and anaerobic alactic capacity system. I did this because:
A) Aerobic power is the most important system for Guida
B) I wanted to have some aerobic capacity work to keep it in check
C) It’s a good time to add low amounts of anaerobic training
Also, here is where I would start progressing aerobic power work to fit the protocol of the fight, which at the end would be 3 rounds of 5 minutes
2 Months Out
Now the fight is 2 months away and it’s time to ramp things up. Here I went for 2 days of anaerobic alactic capacity work and 2 days of aerobic power work.
Although I would have done it starting month 3, here is where a low-high intensity approach comes in handy. Basically, you split training sessions (including skill training) between high days and low days.
The hurricane training would be placed on 2 high intensity days and the aerobic training would be placed on 2 low days.
I find it important to develop the anaerobic system to high levels again as Guida’s fighting style is usually fast paced. As stated before though, it’s important to develop his aerobic power system just as much but with a large amount of his time doing skill work, he will have a good amount of aerobic training on top of his tempo drills.
With a total of 4 conditioning sessions, there is more than ample amount of time placed for his conditioning work.
1 Month Out
It’s 1 month out from his fight, so I have to be sure he is ready to last all ever single minute of every round.
For his anaerobic training, I kept the frequency down to once a week but upped the intensity and duration to better replicate the fight and action during ground fighting.
For his aerobic training, I kept his aerobic power work to 2 times a week as his skill training volume increases, which also works his aerobic system.
By now, both the anaerobic and aerobic training sessions follow the same work to rest ratio as his fight will be with an emphasis on his ground game. Which means that the duration of every training session has increased to 3 rounds of 5 minutes in total.
What You Could Have Done Differently
There are so many different things anyone could have done. A couple of things from the top of my mind are:
1) Simplify each month to only 1 energy system
2) More roadwork
3) Less Hurricane Training and more aerobic power training
4) Having less variation in training methods such as all aerobic training through tempo runs and all anaerobic training through hurricane training
5) Leave out/include an energy system such as taking out a month of anaerobic alactic capacity training and instead train the aerobic power system only and maximally.
There are a ton of methods to get Guida from point A to B. Whatever and however you do it, just get him there.
It doesn’t matter what you do or how as long as it works but when lost, keep it simple stupid.
I personally like to change up a guys training because it allows for more variation, which includes the pro’s and con’s of every method. My go to methods are tempo runs and hurricane training but obviously I use a lot of other things too to get the job done and that is what matters.
It doesn’t matter how complicated or simple something is, as long as it achieves the desire result, then you’re good. There really is no right or wrong answer to any of this stuff. There are no rules to programming, just get him to win his freaking fight.
I personally think that Guida would have done pretty darn well in a program set up similar to mine haha. What do you think?
If you haven’t seen the rest of the series, check it out now:
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