Energy System Development
It is an inarguable truth that ATP serves as critical currency for all aspects of human movement. Without an efficient system wide contribution from each of our energy pathways, our ability to generate ATP is drastically affected as is our ability to concomitantly express force at an optimized level. The inherent complexity of MMA as a sport, and the unpredictable nature of the bout require a fighter to be ready for nearly any circumstance and it is the role of the strength and conditioning coach to not only design a program that assists in bolstering the relative contribution of each, but also to ensure that they foster an environment where they are managed appropriately based upon the multiple training sessions that take part throughout the day, week and particular training phase in general.
Many articles, and books have been written, often describing elaborate plans and/or schemes that are aimed at optimizing both the fighter’s physical work capacity and overall level of fatigue resistance. These manuscripts are often both well-researched and well-intentioned but rarely emphasize the simplified approach that is truly necessary when addressing not only the inherent complexities of the sport itself but also the complex domains of a training camp type environment at the elite level.
What many lose sight of is that what fighter’s need most is not more specificity, but more “filling in the gaps” in regards to energy system work that they are not innately exposed to within their technical/tactical sessions, or that are not as much of an inherent part of their predominant fighting style. Thus it is recommended that the strength and conditioning coach not only makes it a priority to observe training sessions that take place outside of the weight-room so that they can more accurately track the degree of which energy systems are getting drawn upon the most, but also that they develop a “training menu” of sorts that allows them to easily adjust any aspect of the program that they already have in place to ensure that they are not adding unnecessary stress to an energy system that is already well taxed. Categorizing said menu options as they pertain to not only the various energy systems targeted (a product of both task duration and intensity), but also their unique characteristics (multi-planar, low/high impact, scalability and yes, even a level of athlete engagement or FUN), as shown in the attached figure, also allows you as a coach to be more clear in both your distinction to the fighter as well as the rest of the fight team as to what training goal you are specifically working towards and more importantly, how it fits within the overall team.
Details surrounding both the progression and the basis of this energy system development strategy used within this particular program can be seen by viewing the Phase Breakdown, and individual Strength Template figures attached. It is important to note the inclusion of the three different options (read, intensities) in the templates of the later phases as these provide an immediate backup plan should timeframes change or if the fighter is not recovering/progressing appropriately. Once again, flexibility is key when managing the multitude of variables outside of our control within the MMA environment. Lastly, if your setting and budget allows, more advanced methods of testing, training and monitoring can be used to objectively analyze and collect data or progress. However, experienced coaches within the space would caution you to be judicious and minimalistic in your approach at first as to not arouse too much concern or anxiety within the fighter themselves and a culture that is still very new to these methods and practices.
Lastly it is important to note that the options included within these particular examples are aimed at guiding and empowering the vast majority of coaches and fighters who do not have access to world-class training centers or resources. This is pertinent to mention as often times, amidst much of our own internal debate and discussion within the field as to what training and testing methods are considered current “best in class”, the reality is that we must also be conscious of the cultural limitations that exist within a given sport.
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Fighting is tough…no way around it.
Multiple different skill sets, practicing, sparring, cardio, strength, making weight and more! Its no wonder so many athletes and coaches are constantly trying to figure out how to make things work. Juggling all of these aspects can be overwhelming.
Do too much and ya get run down.
Not enough and you won’t be prepared.
Knowing what to do, when and how much is one of the missing links for many fighters.
Common Training Mistakes for MMA include:
- Fighters training in multiple gyms, with little to no communication between coaches
- Unorganized training schedule
- No testing or monitoring progress throughout the training camp
- Too much high intensity training
- Using conditioning to build ‘mental toughness’
- Taking advice from the wrong people
Just like any sport, assessing the situation, creating a plan, executing and adjusting along the way creates long term success. Without a plan, we are simply reacting to each day, working hard, but often moving in the wrong direction.
The MMA community needs more resources that are practical and adaptable.
- Module #1 – Creating “Buy In” w/ Your Athletes
- Module #2 – Long Term Performance Plan
- Module #3 – Training Phase Breakdown
- Module #4 – Weekly Breakdown
- Module #5 – Program Flexibility
- Module #6 – Phase 1 Workouts
- Module #7 – Phase 2 Workouts
- Module #8 – Phase 3 Workouts
- Module #9 – Taper Workouts
- Module #10 – Energy System Development
What are Top Fighters Saying About Brett?
“I’ve never been big into lifting weights for fight preparation, but this was different. Brett balanced strength work and athletic development.”
Former UFC Champion, Luke Rockhold
“I really enjoyed working with Brett. When it comes to MMA, there are many facets to it and getting the proper strength training can be very challenging. Brett was not only able to meet my needs as an athlete but he exceeded them. Every workout was a challenge in a new way and by the end of our time together I feel I actually gained a whole lot. Any coach can get your tired, but it takes the right training to give you gains that last, and Brett was able to do that!”
– Rashad Evans – Former UFC Champion
“Just wanted to give a quick shoutout to my favorite strength and conditioning coach, Brett Bartholomew. He’s got a plethora of knowledge, knows how to prepare the body and is a genius when it comes to fight prep. If anyone is looking for a strength and conditioning coach, I would highly recommend Brett and his program.”
Juliana Pena – UFC Bantamweight Fighter
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Nothing outside of the norm. Which is scary enough isn’t it?
How does rolling the dice or doing the same thing that everyone else is doing typically work out for the world’s best? It doesn’t which is why they don’t adhere to that kind of strategy and you shouldn’t either.
Strength training, like fight training is about consistent adherence to the fundamentals. Mastery comes with time and by following a calculated process and strategy. You don’t go into the fight without a game plan, why would you do the same as it pertains to your training?
Stop spinning your wheels and start making REAL progress!
It’s time for you to follow a winning plan that is proven to develop healthy, strong, powerful MMA fighters.
Savage and Simple is a complete course on MMA strength training, that is full of content and instructions pertaining to the template and it’s contents. Over 100 videos, workouts and professional insight on training the right way.
You’ll also get educational content surrounding the many issues within the MMA community and why “absolutist” based programs often fail.
The important note here is that this is a program to help educate and arm other coaches as well, not just their fighters.
It’s a wake-up call to the reality that fighter’s need to adhere to more focused and foundational strength training methods that focus on proper development as opposed to just beating down their body.
Top MMA Fighters Trust Brett Bartholomew
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