Just recently I spoke to Dane Miller of Garage Strength. He is training a group of MMA fighters out of Kutztown Pennsylvania. He said when these guys came in they were performing dumbbell press for sets of 12 reps with 45lbs. I know 8th graders that can do that weight! Dane basically revamped their program for a few weeks allowing more rest time in between sets. The MMA fad of training is to keep moving, super set everything and have the heart elevated the whole workout by doing light weights and body weight movements. “Body weight movements are no good. A grown man will be able to put out 400-500lbs of force, when will body weight workouts combat this” explained Dane Miller. They would do this year round! This would most definitely lead to adrenal fatigue, platues, injury and getting your face smashed in!
Like any other sport, a program must be broken down and organized correctly to obtain a specific goal. Luckily the fighters were able to hold back their pride and change their training routine. This lead to significant strength gains; one being that their 45lb dumbbell flat press for 12 reps turned into 80lb presses for 15 reps! A follow up plan to transition the strength and power into more sport specific intensity is underway. From performing strength movements with 1.5-2 minutes rest between sets to super setting movements that last for 5 minutes to resemble fight times. To end off a session Dane has a few tricks up his sleeve, one being a dead lift at 75-80% of 1Rm, that is all about intensity, for 45 seconds.
Of course there is so many ways to skin a cat and different types of training can be utilized for an athlete to adapt and develop into a performance stud; but we have to get away from the current theory that body weight movements will help you in the ring and absolute strength/power needs to be addressed in program design.