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3 tips to improve Explosive Flexibility

3 tips to improve Explosive Flexibility

That’s probably a term you’ve never heard before: Explosive Flexibility! But it’s extremely important nevertheless. So what does that mean exactly? Explosive power is the ability to accelerate and move over a distance in a short amount of time, AKA the body’s ability to mobilize rapidly from a resting position. To do this, you need to be able to cause your muscles to go from a relaxed to a contracted state, and back to relaxed, in a very short period of time. Simply put, it’s a combination of speed and strength.

Flexibility is the body’s ability to move through a wide range of motion. Most people think that this is all about the elasticity, or ability of a muscle to lengthen. To a minor degree, this is true, but there are other factors that are involved, which I’ll get to in just a minute.

So what is explosive flexibility? It’s the ability for you to quickly and rapidly move into a position that requires a wide range of motion. Does that mean jumping to do the splits on a counter top like Van Damme in Time Cop? No, you don’t really need to be that flexible. However, it does mean being able to kick higher and harder, or being able to explode into a submission that requires a high degree of mobility.

Key word: Mobility. Mobility is not just about a wide range of motion, but EASE of motion. Sure, you can kick to the head, but what good does that do if you lose all power at the arc of your kick, or pull your groin at the top? Maybe you can work a submission, but if you struggle to get into a high rubber guard, it’s hard to pull off that omoplata, and even more difficult to do it quickly, and in a way that catches your opponent off guard.

Outside of freakishly high kicks and crazy submissions, being able to move freely helps prevent injuries in daily motions. Injuries often result from imbalances in your body putting an unusual amount of wear and tear on your joints and soft tissues. This leads us to the first tip:

  1. Get balanced. Very often we are horribly imbalanced from spending an abundance of time sitting, our hips are not in their natural straight and extended position (standing). This can lead to a flat ass, sagging abs, and tight hip flexors. This means that you may be a little too tight in the front of the body, and strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, low back).
  2. You’re stretching too much. That’s right. The traditional static stretching is effective, but only to a certain degree. This helps you maintain and hold some nice long stretches, and it can help you swing your leg up higher. However, it doesn’t necessarily help you transition from one position to another. Let’s take your roundhouse kick for example. You need your hips to actually rotate into the kicking position to get the proper angle for power in the kick. Static stretches are great, and are a necessary part of a good mobility program, but it doesn’t address the rotational function of the hip.
    Too much stretching can also lead to too much elasticity in your muscles, which can make it more difficult to contract rapidly. Remember the explosive flexibility we discussed? Well excessive static stretching may make you more flexible, but you won’t be explosive, so you will lose speed and power. This means, you may be able to enter a freakishly flexible position, but you won’t have any speed or KO power.
  3. You aren’t strong enough. Remember, mobility is your ability to transition from one position to another. To do this, you have to have strength in the correct muscle groups to compliment your mobility. Say for example, your adductors (inner thighs) are extremely flexible, and you can do the side splits. However, your abductors (outer thighs) are not so strong. Well these abductors and your outer hip are the muscle groups that actually raise your leg up to the side. If these aren’t strong, it’s going to be extremely difficult to raise your foot up for a nice high head kick. That’s not to mention the other muscle groups involved such as the core, glutes, hip flexors, quads, etc. Many of these muscle groups are not addressed in a way that is conducive to kicking.

Kicks are very complex motions that require a high degree of mobility. If you want deliver high, strong knockout kicks you need to address strength flexibility in a number of areas to balance your hips. My friend, Eric Wong has put together a free report with 3 freaky flexibility techniques to really open up your hip mobility and address some areas that you are most likely neglecting.


Click here to learn about the 9 Flexibility Factors

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Tips for training Kickboxing Solo

Tips for training Kickboxing Solo

Last post I mentioned that it is possible for you to train kickboxing solo. This is great if you can’t afford a gym, can’t find a gym nearby, can’t fit their scheduled classes into your normal schedule, your gym doesn’t teach a particular style, or just can’t get into the gym as often as you’d like. Here’s a basic structure for creating your own kickboxing training workouts.

  1. Warm-up: This is absolutely necessary, but I’ve seen so many places, gyms, and classes do this wrong. Some of the most common mistakes in warming up include going too light, going too hard, stretching during the warm-up, hitting the heavy bag, etc. So what’s the happy medium? First, you need to understand the point of the warm-up, what it does, what it doesn’t do, and how to do it safely. I wrote about this in an earlier post. Do this right and you set yourself up for a great workout.
  2. Stretch: After you’re warmed up, you want to do about 10 minutes of static and dynamic stretching. This gets you loose and limber to avoid injury, and get your full range of motion. If you have more time, by all means take it. It’s almost impossible to spend too much time stretching.
  3. Technique: This should be the majority of your workout. You should be spending at least 30 minutes on techniques, combos, drills, and strategies. You’re developing muscle memory here. Pick something, and drill it for 3-5 minutes, rest 30-60 seconds, and resume. Rotate drills for the next 30 minutes. If you do 3 minute rounds, pick 10 different drills. If you do 5 minute rounds, pick 6 different drills. If you’re not feeling too creative, repeat a couple drills. If you can’t find 5-6 different combos to do for the day, you’re not trying hard enough.
  4. Conditioning: You should finish up with some base conditioning. This is where you spend everything you have left and go for broke. This is your 3rd round. Aim to hit all the major muscle groups or movement patterns for kickboxing. You should spend at least 10 minutes on this round, unless you do your strength and conditioning sessions separately.

There you have a basic template for a solo kickboxing workout. You can do this with, or without equipment. You would be amazed what you can do with just body weight and shadow boxing. For a program that takes all the thought out of structuring your workouts, I recommend the MMA Quick Start program by UFC fighter Jeff Joslin. It’s definitely worth a look.

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The worst warm-up for a kickboxing workout

The worst warm-up for a kickboxing workout

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see in gyms lately in their kickboxing workouts.

So many kickboxing classes have warm-ups that just set up the remainder of the kickboxing workout for failure. Failure is the key word here, and I’ll mention it a few times in this post. And I’m not talking about an EPIC FAIL, though you might agree it is after reading.

kickboxing workout

One of the biggest mistakes I see in warm-ups in kickboxing workouts (and conditioning workouts) is that trainers and gyms have this concept of going all out and kicking your ass during the warm-up. This is perfect for setting you up for overtraining, injuries, and bad form during kickboxing workouts. When I say that these warm-ups are setting you up for failure, I mean that in a very specific and literal way. I see many martial arts and kickboxing workouts where the warm-ups are so intense that you are pushing to complete a set and struggling to get through the workout. AKA, you are working to failure before you start the real kickboxing workout. You are working until you can’t work anymore. What does this do for your kickboxing workout?

Well this is just stupid and it sucks for your kickboxing workout in a number of ways.

  1. First, you’re essentially skipping the warm-up and going straight into your workout. How much sense does this make? The purpose of the warm-up is just that. You are trying to increase your body temperature, get the blood flowing, and wake up your sleepy muscles. If you start out by doing a max set of push-ups, you’re still getting warmed up. You won’t be able to do your max. You’re wasting energy on a sub-maximal set, and you’re not able to push yourself to your real max for actual gains. You are pushing yourself to muscular failure prematurely before you even start the kickboxing workout. Failure #1
  2. You will be fatigued early, so you can’t do your actual work sets. If you can normally do 50 push-ups after your warm-up, but you push yourself to do your max during warm-up and only hit 30-40, what does that do for you? That uses up energy that you could be allocating toward doing your actual work sets. Now, instead of being able to do your normal 50 push-ups, you wasted energy on the warm-up and can’t actually hit your normal workloads.
  3. You’re increasing your risk for injury during a kickboxing workout. If you are trying to do a hardcore conditioning workout at the start of your warm-up, your muscles are still sleepy, your joints aren’t lubricated, and you’re still stiff. This is setting you up for hurting yourself by wasting your energy by trying to activate muscles and use them at the same time. Lunges on sleepy glutes? Sounds like a pulled muscle to me. Plyo on stiff legs? Sounds like knee problems to me. Push-ups on dry shoulders? Injury waiting to happen in your kickboxing workout.
  4. You are setting yourself up for poor technique and bad habits. If you are fatigued from your warm-up, your muscles have already reached the point of failure. This means that your body will recruit alternate muscle groups to execute your kicks and punches during your kickboxing workout. This means that when you train, you’re not acting efficiently, and your body will develop muscle memory out of the working muscle groups. You will also likely be very sloppy because you’re having trouble lifting your arms or maintaining your stance. If you arms are on fire, how accurate is that jab going to be? This leads to poor technique, sloppy execution, and inefficient strikes. You will also be so tense from your workout, so you can’t be loose and relaxed like you should be when you fire off that knockout kick or punch.

So what is the best structure for a kickboxing workout warm-up?

First, you want to make sure that you hit all the major muscle groups you will be using during your workout. For kickboxing, you want to include hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors, chest, shoulders, wrists, arms, and cardio. Yes, you want to include cardio as part of your warm-up. You don’t need to do time on a treadmill, or long slow distance cardio. That’s a workout, not a warm-up. However, if you hit all of the above muscle groups in your warm-up and do them in a continuous circuit, you will get some cardio as well. Other tips to consider, try and stick to one set or each exercise, keep each exercise under 30 seconds, keep under 10-15 reps of each exercise, and keep the entire warm-up under 5-10 minutes. This allows you to put time and energy into your techniques, where it really matters.

One warm-up I use regularly is part of Eric Wong’s Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program. Also, his ultimate fight prep warm-up is awesome for getting you loose before your match. Check it out. I strongly recommend it.

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Four Skill sets of Kickboxing Training

Four Skill sets of Kickboxing Training

Necessary Skills for kickboxing training and building KO Power

Kickboxing is an intense physical sport and has high demands on the body. There is no denying that. While other martial arts and combat can be draining, and require endurance, no other art is reliant on explosive knockout power as kickboxing training. Grappling definitely requires strength, but it is quite possible to pull off a submission on skill, knowledge, leverage, and finesse, without brute strength. Kickboxing training has a much higher demand on physical conditioning, because the speed and power of the punch or kick directly determine the effectiveness. Read on to explore the different physical skill sets you NEED to develop your KO power as a kickboxer.

kickboxing training

  • Technique always comes first in kickboxing training.

    You will almost always strike with more power by focusing on a clean crisp execution of a technique with minimal effort, rather than just swinging with reckless abandonment. In fact, each kickboxing technique has a number of key points, and if you aren’t following them, you are leaking power, like a car with a punctured gas tank. It is possible to throw a knockout kick without applying a lot of force. Drill your technique, plug the “power leaks,” learn to strike with control, and the power will develop from there. Don’t force the technique in your kickboxing training. Do it loose, light, and fast. Think of cracking a whip instead of swinging a sledge hammer. When you focus on plugging those leaks in your kickboxing training, you are more efficient, and don’t require nearly as much power to throw that knockout kick or punch.
    Explosive Power – The next thing to develop is your base strength and explosive power. Don’t misinterpret me. I didn’t mean to diminish the importance of strength with my first point. It should be trained separately from your kickboxing training though. I’m talking weights: high weights and low reps. This is going to help you build your maximum strength but will not make you bulky like a body builder or sore and slow. This develops the Anaerobic Alactic energy system which your body uses for those fast bursts of energy in kickboxing training. Here’s a great example of a conditioning program for MMA and kickboxing.
    Muscular Endurance – If you’re at the end of your first round, your arms are feeling like lead weights, and your legs feel like jelly, you aren’t going to be able to throw that knockout punch. You have no energy left, and you won’t be able to generate enough power to throw your techniques correctly, much less effectively or with the explosive power. When your muscles are burning during kickboxing training, it hurts just to keep your hands up to protect yourself, and you can’t think straight through the pain, how do you expect to come out on top? Develop this power endurance in your Kickboxing Training, and you’ll still be hitting like a truck at the end of every round, every match.
    Cardio – When athletes, especially in kickboxing training, talk about endurance, they usually just say Cardio. It is a different kind of endurance, as it uses the aerobic energy system to keep you running. This is the endurance that is the difference between barely breaking a sweat in your kickboxing training versus gasping for air. You can develop this in a number of ways, and the most common is hopping on a treadmill. Nothing wrong that, if you’re doing it the right way. However, way too many people think of just running for 15-20 minutes. That’s a great timeframe, but what do you do during that 15-20 minutes? What is better for cardio? Running at 6 miles per hour, or 9 mph for 20 minutes straight? Hopefully you’ll say 9 miles per hour. What’s better? Running a mile in 10 minutes, or a mile and a half in 10 minutes? You’re doing more work in less time. That’s going to keep you at an elevated heart rate, you’ll expend more energy, your heart will become stronger, and you’ll push harder. This forces your body to become more efficient, and if you can push harder in training, it’ll obviously transfer over to the cage or ring and your kickboxing training. More work in less time, means more punches and kicks within a 5 minute round, or a 15 minute fight.

So how do you focus on all of these different aspects of kickboxing training?

It depends on your life. If you’re like most people just getting started, you don’t fight full time, and can’t dedicate 8 hours a day to training. If this is you, then you’ll need to allocate your time appropriately. This means training different aspects on different days. Technique should be trained at least 2-3 days per week, and if you’re doing conditioning training the same day, it should come after. You don’t want to work technique while fatigued. You won’t be able to recruit appropriate muscle groups effectively, and you will develop poor muscle memory and bad habits. My recommendation is to allocate 3-4 days a week to conditioning, with emphasis on days you need to develop most. Alternatively, you can work in phases, or a periodized program like the one I use. Click here to see the top MMA and Kickboxing conditioning program available.

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Kickboxing Training through Muscle Soreness

Kickboxing Training through Muscle Soreness

Kickboxing training is hard, and it takes hard work

But is pain really gain? I get a lot of questions from my students, readers, friends and family, about muscle soreness (especially after the 1000 kick challenge). One of the biggest comments is about how it is a major limiting factor in kickboxing training, and can often set back the consistency that they are striving for.

Kickboxing training is notorious for leaving you unable to walk right for a few days after training

and this will probably persist for your first few weeks of working out. There are a few physiological reasons for this, but the best thing I can tell you before going into a workout is to EXPECT soreness after the workout. You will feel kind of stiff the day after your kickboxing training, but it usually hits hardest 2 days after your workout. You will feel like you got run over by a steamroller.

This can be extremely discouraging, especially when you are just getting started with kickboxing training. What’s important is that you don’t skip training because of the soreness. Do what you can within reason. You will be weaker, the pain will be draining, and it will be very unpleasant. Focus on your kickboxing technique more than anything, keeping that as tight as possible. But pushing through to the best of your ability will force your body to adapt more quickly to the demands you are placing on it. Are you going to operate at 100%? No, probably not. But getting out there and moving will actually get blood moving through those sore muscles, providing the healing they need to get through that soreness.

kickboxing training

If you wait a week for your muscles to fully recover, you’re not pushing for progress in your kickboxing training.

During your recovery time you may lose everything you worked for, and completely waste that workout. You need to establish a consistent routine and follow through with it. Establish regular habits, and it will get easier.

What are some other ways to reduce soreness for your next kickboxing training session? Immediately after working out, stretch, have your post workout shake or meal, ice, take a cool or cold shower (It sucks but it works). Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat regular meals to help fuel the recovery, and stretch the sore muscles throughout the day. It’s going to suck. They will be stiff, and your range of motion will be very short, but this is important for maintaining flexibility, otherwise your muscles will shorten, and you will lose range of motion, significantly limiting your ability during kickboxing training. Stretch often. Even if it’s just 2-3 minutes every hour.

You’re just getting started, and those first few steps are always the hardest. Not everyone is blessed with the superhuman freak genetics to never be sore from a workout, and it’s normal to hurt. That is where you have the choice to give up on your kickboxing training, or push through. You set a goal for yourself now go get it!

Disclaimer: This post is about general delayed onset muscle soreness, and not injuries that may result from kickboxing training or sparring. Soreness is normal. Sharp, shooting, tingling pains are not. Pain in the muscles is common, and expected, but pain in the joints is not. Use your best judgment. If you push through an injury it can, and most likely will, get worse. Take care of your body, talk to your coach, and if pain persists, talk to a doctor. This post is not meant to be a medical diagnosis, and should not be treated as such.

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The 1000 kick challenge

The 1000 kick challenge

The 1000 kick challenge


Your legs will be on fire. You may not walk right for a few days after this workout!


The key to mastery of any skill is repetition. Bruce Lee said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

1000 kicks


We’re not going to do 10,000 kicks today, but we are going to set you on that path, and this workout will bring you one step closer to knocking out that goal. Today I present you with the 1000 kick challenge. I’ve posted videos on a number of different kicks, and I have linked to those here:

Your challenge is to complete 10 reps per leg of each the kicks demonstrated in those videos. That will be a total of 100 kicks for each set. That’s 5 kicks x 10 reps x 2 legs for 100 kicks. You then take a short rest, (1-2 minutes max) do some light stretching, and repeat the circuit for 10 sets.

You should be able to knock out each set within 1-3 minutes depending on your conditioning.

Here’s the Key: Focus on your technique above all else! You may notice your strength starts to fade, or you can’t kick quite as high as the legs start to burn. That’s ok. In fact, I recommend you don’t kick hard, or high. Do it slow and controlled, waist high at the maximum. Once you’ve done this a couple times, you can step up the height or power. You may lose a little intensity, but do not lose your form or your focus. Even if you are only kicking at the knees (Leg kicks hurt like hell!) if you focus on form, you will engage all the proper muscle groups, your muscles will still adapt and you will learn the movements.

– Advanced Version –

Here is for the masochists who love to punish themselves: 1 set, 100 reps of the first kick (Front Kick). Then switch legs and repeat with the next kick. Rest a little if you need it, but no more than 1 minute. This is brutal, and I don’t recommend you do this without trying the 10 set version first. However, if you are up for the challenge, and don’t care about the ability to stand up from the toilet without assistance, then have at it. You heard my warning. Now get to work!

P.S. Don’t forget to have a Post-Workout Shake or meal 30-60 minutes after you do this workout. It will help significantly with the recovery time.

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Fast Workout for KO Power

Fast Workout for KO Power

It’s hitting 100 degrees here in the valley, so it’s time to break a sweat. It’s been a hectic week, so it’s been hard for me to get into the gym to do my normal conditioning workout. But I’m not gonna let that stop me from hitting my goals. Recently I picked up a shiny new Perfect Multi-gym, so I’ve been able to get my workout in from home, and I’ve been working on more pull than push to try and balance things out in my build. Pull-ups have always been my weak point. In fact just a few months ago, I could do 1. That’s it. Not a few sets of 1. Just 1. I’ve built up from there, and here’s my workout from last night.

  • 3 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 squat jumps
  • Rest 1 minute and Repeat for 5 sets
  • Drink my post-workout shake
  • (Don’t forget the post workout meal, unless you enjoy wasting your time and stressing your body)

That’s a total of 15 pull-ups, 50 push-ups and 50 squat jumps. I know it’s not the most intense workout in the world, but as a circuit, it got my blood flowing, got me sweating, and got my heart rate up. I probably could have done more, but I did this just before bed and I didn’t want to spike my metabolism and stay up all night.

Also, the low reps are excellent for developing KO power if you do it explosively. When you get into longer workout sets with higher reps, you get into the hypertrophy range, which causes slow, sore muscles. 

Most importantly, it only took me about 6-7 minutes. There is NO EXCUSE that you don’t have time to work out. Each of those circuits took about 30-40 seconds to complete. You can do at least 2 sets of this during a commercial break from your favorite TV show. Who wants to sit through and watch commercials anyway? Keep yourself busy and your show will be back on by the time you’re done. 

Don’t have a pull-up bar? Get one here. It’s only $30, and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made in a long time. Can’t do pull-ups? You can do any variation of assisted pull-ups, negatives, or inverted rows on a sturdy table. The same with push-ups. You can alter them to your ability level by changing angles, dropping to the knees, or doing partial range of motion. Basically, you have no excuse not to work out. It all comes down to how you prioritize your health.

Of course, if you have more time, you can try the Crazy 8′s workout courtesy of my man Eric Wong. Just sign up here to get it delivered to you:

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Top MMA Training Tip #5 – Structured MMA Training Program

Top MMA Training Tip #5 – Structured MMA Training Program

Top tips for MMA Training #5 – Follow a structured, progressive program

Like the first 4 tips, this seems like a no-brainer, but believe it or not, it’s kind of a big deal. Many gyms just throw you in to a class regardless of your experience level and expect you to sink or swim against the guys that have been there for months or even years. Others choose the content for their classes and training sessions about 10 minutes before the start of class. This means that you bounce from technique to technique without really developing on what you did last time. This is a recipe for failure and confusion.

What’s important, especially for beginners, is to find a program that is specifically designed to take you from where you are and bring you to the next level. That means techniques taught to you in a structured, systematic method that is progressive, and each class builds on the previous one. This means that when you come into class, you reflect on what you did last time, and take it one step further.

For example, if you’re going into a BJJ class, and in the last class, you just learned how to do the armbar from the guard. Today you’re going to review that and now you get to learn how to counter that technique. Then you get to explore different backup techniques for when your opponent counters your armbar.

In my TKD kickboxing classes, we start with the foundation of your stances, and work different punching combinations in there. Then we progress it in your next class to reflect on the techniques that you learned last time and incorporate them into realistic fight combos and self-defense applications. You then go on to learn more advanced and challenging combinations. Eventually you progress to a point where you can just react and act out of muscle memory instead of trying to memorize combinations. For example, white belts in my program should be expected to execute a basic 1-2-3-4 (Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut) combo with no pause, in solid form, and with proper pivot completely out of muscle memory within 2-3 weeks.

Now, unfortunately, I do not have my program online yet, but one great program that develops kickboxing for MMA in a progressive format is Jeff Joslin’s MMA Quickstart. This program covers the first 18 lessons that get you off to a solid start to developing your striking in MMA. I highly recommend this program to you if you are looking to start an MMA program, or if you have already started but feel like you could use some extra training to catch up to some of the more experienced guys at your gym. This program is actually designed by a UFC fighter and coach, so you know it’s coming from a quality source.

Click here to check out the MMA Quick Start

Another great example is in strength and conditioning. The MMA conditioning program that I follow is designed for progressive improvement and developing a wide range of MMA conditioning elements, starting with balance and coordination, then moving into base strength, endurance and finally explosive power. There are guys who just go in to hit the weights, but either hit them too hard and leave no energy left for MMA classes, and then there are guys who don’t follow a structured, progressive program, so they don’t ever make any gains. If you come into the gym, look at the weights, and say “What are we going to work on today?” you’re doing it wrong. Unless you are spending $50-100 an hour on a personal trainer who has it all planned out for you, you should not be asking that question. You need to have a plan going into the gym, knowing “Ok, today I’m working x, y, and z muscle groups, and I’m going 3 sets of 12 reps, etc.” You want to have a plan with progressive gains to build on what you did last time. This is by far the best way to improve your strength and conditioning. This program was designed by Eric Wong, who is also a UFC coach that specializes in getting fighters into peak form.

Click here for a free video from the designer of Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning.

I hope you guys liked my top 5 MMA training tips. I’ll have more tips, tricks, and techniques to come in the following weeks, so stay tuned and be well!

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MMA Training Top Tip #4 – Setting Goals

MMA Training Top Tip #4 – Setting Goals

MMA Training Tip #4 – Why failing to set goals is setting yourself up for failure


So over the past few days, we’ve been talking about technique, self-assessments, and goal setting in MMA. Today we’re going to build on that, bridge the gap, and draw up a more specific map to connect point A (your current state) to point B (your goals). Now this is a concept that I use in a number of different settings and not just in training. Today we’re going to talk about setting deadlines and benchmarks. Again, this seems like a simple concept, but any project manager will tell you that these are vital for any project’s success. You are a project. You have a starting point, a team, a need, and a goal. If your goal is to be ready for a fight in 6 months, you need to make sure you are in prime condition, your technique is crisp, and your strategy is perfect. You have a deadline now. With any deadline, you need a schedule to meet it.

What happens if you miss a deadline in MMA? Bad things. You don’t make weight, don’t get to fight, and embarrass yourself publicly at weigh-in; you need to withdraw from the fight because you’re not ready physically; or even worse, you get knocked the f*** out because your technique isn’t where it should be.

Either way, if you miss your deadline, your team suffers, your coach gets pissed, and your promoter might not take you seriously in the future. In the UFC, if a fighter doesn’t make weight, they’re fired. If a fighter slacks on their conditioning and doesn’t perform well, they’re fired. If you get injured, you’ve just fired yourself… and injuries just hurt like hell.

The bottom line is the best fighters get the best results because they stay on schedule, and go into their fights 100% ready to win. So how do you set a schedule to progress in MMA training? The key is periodized workouts. This means that you set a specific timeframe where you develop a particular skillset. For the MMA Conditioning program I follow, the stages are corrective and stability, base strength, endurance, and explosive power. Each stage builds on the previous one to set you up for success, and get your strength and cardio to a fight-ready state in 16 weeks.

If you’re going for your black belt in BJJ, as I mentioned in the last post on goal setting, you have bench marks along the way. Each belt is a benchmark. You don’t just GET a black belt. It’s something that you build into. You have steps along the way, and periodic progress checks. You have a specific set of criteria that you need to master before progressing on to the next level. Now let me ask you, who is more likely to succeed between fighter A and figher B?

Fighter A: “I want to get my blue belt in BJJ in the next 6 months.”

Fighter B: “I want to get my blue belt in BJJ someday.”

This is an example of a benchmark. Fighter A is much more likely to achieve his blue belt in less time than fighter B because he set a challenging benchmark, which feeds into his larger goal of attaining his black belt. Those who set deadlines are more likely to achieve their goals. Deadlines keep you focused on your goals. It’s a huge motivating factor that shows that you are making progress on that ultimate goal. Black Belt is daunting and intimidating, but Blue Belt is relatively easy. It gives you something to strive for, while knowing that each step you take forward brings you closer to that objective (Blue Belt), and each objective brings you closer to the end goal (Black Belt).

So in short, take a look at the goal you set yesterday, and try to break it up into smaller, more manageable, measurable goals, and put yourself on a deadline to reach those goals. You’ll be glad you did when you reach the first one. When you have these pieces in place, it’s time to get on a specific periodized program with set criteria to meet those goals.

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Top Tips #3: Setting Challenging, but Realistic Goals

Top Tips #3: Setting Challenging, but Realistic Goals

Hey guys, today we’re continuing our Top 5 tips for beginner MMA training. If you haven’t already, read back on tip 2 with self-assessment in MMA. However, we’re going to keep it simple with tip #3.

MMA Training Tip #3: Setting realistic, but challenging goals

This sounds simple but it is a big one. If you don’t have a goal, then you’re only working at a fraction of your potential. Why is that? Because it’s kind of like just getting in your car and driving. You know you want to drive, but if you don’t have a destination, you’re just burning gas, wasting time, and wasting money. This is kind of like going to the gym. Don’t get me wrong, hitting the gym is great, no matter what your intention. However, if you don’t know exactly what you want to get out of going to the gym, it’s very likely you’re going to get there.

Let’s start with something basic. What are your goals for starting martial arts? You want to get in the cage? Learn to protect yourself? Or maybe just get ripped with MMA training in your exercise routine? When you know what you want to do with mixed martial arts training, then you have an idea of how to start working toward that specific goal. It’s very important to tell your coach, instructor, or trainer where you would like to be so they can get you on a path toward that goal.

There are a couple other parts to the formula, however. The first is making sure the goals are realistic. If you’ve never trained before, and you want to get in the cage in 90 days, that’s probably going to turn out badly. Once you have a goal, you want to get a good grasp of what you need to do to get there. What techniques do you need to learn? How often do you need to train? What does your strength and conditioning level need to be at? Your coach can definitely help you with, but if you are training solo, there are some great resources for MMA technique and conditioning.

The next part of a goal is that it needs to be challenging. You need to push your body to grow, and give yourself a reason to get better. Let’s look back at the self-assessment. Say you tested that you were able to do 50 pushups in a set, but you want to get to 100. That’s going to take a regular schedule of continuous improvement. Now, you can definitely do this. The question is when? Next year? That’s a realistic goal, but does that challenge you? Does it push you to get to the next level? What about in the next 90 days? The next 60?

Let’s take another example. Say you want to get your black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. This is an excellent goal to have, and it takes the average Black Belt 5 years to attain it. Some take up to 10 years. Most people never get their black belt. BJ Penn got his in 3 years. It’s definitely possible. It’s one hell of a challenge, and takes some serious dedication. It’s up to you to decide if this route is right for you, and if you want your black belt in BJJ, then you can talk to your coach about how to get there, and how you can go the extra distance. Do you want to be average, or do you want to go beyond?

The challenge part of the discussion brings me to my next tip that you’ll get tomorrow: Setting deadlines and benchmarks. I touched on it briefly with challenging goals, and meeting them in a timeframe that pushes you. Tomorrow we’ll talk about this in more detail, and how it will help you get where you want to be.

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