6 years ago


Learn How To Fine Tune Your Training So You Peak for Competition

The last few weeks of training before the big day…adjust your workouts and speed recovery, so you can perform at your best.


ian and coachDownload This –>> How to Peak for Competition“ 

The weeks leading up to a fight or tournament can be a bit overwhelming.

Practices get more intense, cutting weight, social media hype, selling tickets, sponsor engagements, nervous energy, etc.

Life can get a little crazy to say the least!

It is important that the coaches take the time to see how the athlete reacts to different workouts, how quickly they recover, and what strategies they can you do before to best prepare them for competition.

Common Mistakes

2013-07-27 12.21.46-1The #1 mistake that we see is people doing too much in the last few weeks leading up to an event.  The intensity increases as we get close to a competition.  Coaches want their athletes to be ready, athletes are excited and this combination can quickly lead to exhaustion.

Signs of Overtraining

  • Reduction in Performance and Coordination
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Lethargic or Tired all the time
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Reduced Sexual Desire
  • Exhaustion
  • Chronic Soreness or Pain

Research shows that only 2 weeks in an overtrained state can result in a 5% reduction in strength, 36% reduction in power output and can take 2-8 weeks to recover completely.

Every Sport is Different 

carryAt a conference earlier this year, Dr. Andy Galpin shared some amazing data on various combat sports.

The work to rest ratios can be very different between fighters and grapplers.

Event – Work:Rest ratios from Competition

  • Striking – 1:4
  • Wrestling 2:1
  • MMA – 1:1

*Key point: MMA involves short (2-40sec) bursts of maximum effort followed by 10-30sec of rest.

At this point in your camp or training cycle, you should already strong and in shape.

With a few weeks left before you compete, the focus should continue to shift toward the task ahead.

Training should become more specific and the intensity should be at fight speed.

The majority of your workouts should be designed to keep you healthy and fine tune your body to perform for the specific demands of your upcoming event.

2015-01-12 08.29.45What are the demands of the event?

Time, intensity, your game plan, weight, etc…

Are we training for Five 5 minute MMA Rounds or a 10 minute grappling match?

The demands for a stand up battle are different than 20 minutes of wrestling and grappling.

Might be a good idea to have a quick pow wow with everyone involved.

  • What do we see during practice, sparring, etc?
  • How is the athlete feeling, sleeping, weight, etc?
  • What can we fine tune leading into competition?

After a good discussion with all of the coaches involved, we should have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.

Now we just stick to the plan, monitor the athlete closely during those last few weeks and make sure that we are improving the athlete leading into their event.

Last round of testing…

IMG_1242About 3-4 weeks out from competition, we should perform a few tests to evaluate the athlete.

Broad Jump – Athlete completes one jump for maximum distance. All jumps are 2 foot take off and landing with the measurement going from the start line to the heal on landing.  7-8ft is average for males, 9 ft is good, 10ft+ is elite.

Max Pull Ups – For this challenge, you can use the grip of your choice: overhand, underhand, or a neutral grip with palms facing each other, which some people may find more favorable to their joints. As long as you come to a full extension at the bottom of every rep and make sure your chin goes above the bar without any uncertainty at the top of every rep, you’re good to go.

1 Minute Sprint – Run, Versaclimber, Airdyne or similar…work your butt off for one minute and see how far you can get.  How does this to compare to previous tests 3-6 weeks back?  6 months or more?

1 Minute Recovery – After you perform the 1 Minute sprint, measure your heart rate at the end of the sprint and then again 1 minute later.  This is a great test to use consistently throughout the year.  Excellent way to gauge the fitness level of any athlete and how well they are prepared for competition.

Max Heart rate – One minute rested HR = _____________.

  • <10 = extreme caution
  • 11-20 = Low
  • 21-40 = Good
  • 41-50 = Excellent
  • 50 = Fit Athlete

Sled Shuttle – 10ON, 10OFF, 10 rounds.  Measure output (distance covered) 30 yards, 50% of one rep back squat max. How well can you repeat this explosive effort?


Last 3-4 Weeks of Workouts

IMG_6204The last few weeks leading up to a competition are intense and your workouts should help support the rise in intensity.

Explosive Repeats – Sport specific repeated bursts to expand anaerobic capacity.  Drills should be performed at max effort and speed.

5-15 seconds ON, 5-30 seconds OFF for desired time.  2-5 drills per workout.

Max Effort – Maintain the strength, reduced volume, probably once or twice per week max.  Use exercises that you’ve been performing for awhile and are completely comfortable performing at max effort.  Typically some sort of squat, hinge, push, pull and carry are performed for 3-5 reps per set.

HICT – This is a great concept that we learned from Joel Jamieson.  Dragging Chains, Rope Pulls , resisted Versaclimber, Spin bike or similar.  30-60 minutes of work total.  5-20 minutes per drill. 20-30 reps per minute (under anaerobic threshold), using 2-10 minutes rest between drills. Because the movements you use for HICT are so intense, you’re recruiting fast twitch muscle fibers, but because you are doing repetitions so infrequently, you don’t fatigue.

Restorative – Since most of your workouts are probably a bit more intense, we need to balance that out to stay healthy, recover and feel good.  Mobility work, movement drills, light runs, swimming or other low impact work to get the blood flowing and speed recovery.  Its good to move around, but keep the intensity and volume low.  These types of workouts are great to do after an intense session.

Some Tips leading into competition

rope sidewindersKeep the Intensity under control – maintain strength, increase specific power endurance.

Workouts should…

  1. Keep the athlete healthy – Warm Up with mobility, activation and simple bodyweight drills.
  2. Fire up the nervous system – Small Doses of Agility, Plyometrics or throwing drills.
  3. Maintain Strength – Keep it simple.  Pick stuff up, squat, lunge, push, pull and carry.
  4. Improve Power Endurance – Improve your ability to repeat explosive efforts.
  5. Nothing New – This is not the time to try new things. Fine tune the things you’ve been working on for awhile.

Reduce the Volume – What are the demands of the upcoming event?

If the match is three, 5 minute rounds, then train for three, intense five minute rounds.

Grinding too much at this point can easily lead to overtraining, a poor performance and/or injury.

As we get closer to the fight, the volume (amount of work) should reduce to allow our body to recover.

omegawave_3Monitor Recovery

  • Resting Heart Rate – take a resting heart rate reading every morning, before getting out of bed.
  • 1 minute recovery between rounds – After sparring or rolling live, take your heart rate and then rest for 1 minute and repeat the test.
  • Performance #s – broad jump, vert.  A simple vertical jump test can tell you a lot about an athlete’s recovery.
  • Sleep – How are you sleeping?  Having trouble or getting 7-9 hours of good sleep?
  • Using Tech – heart rate monitors, Omegawave or other tests can help give you some insight on how well the athlete is recovering.

Increase recovery efforts

  • Restorative Movement – Mobility, bodyweight, walk, etc…moving around helps
  • @armosteve at work
    @armosteve at work

    Contrast showers – 3 minutes hot as you can stand followed by 1 minute cold as you can stand repeated 3 times to work best. This is performed once or twice per day.

  • Epsom Salt Bath – You want to dissolve at least 500 grams (equivalent to 2 cups or 500 mL) in a bath of hot (tolerable) water. When magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, and relaxes muscles.  Caution: do not take an Epsom salt bath if you have high blood pressure or a heart or kidney condition.
  • Sauna – Get a little sweat going and then do 3-5 sets of 3-5 minutes in the sauna.  This can be done in combination with short bouts in a cold bath or simply with short breaks between sets.
  • Massage –  Massage is a great way to speed recovery and keep you feeling tip top.  If you can afford it, a weekly massage can keep you moving well and feeling great.
  • Food – Forget the diet fads.  Drink lots of water and eat good, quality vegetables, proteins, fats and carbohydrates 80-90% of the time.
  • Sleep – 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is one of the most basic ways to reset our minds and help our body recover.


Last couple weeks…

2015-01-16 08.11.35-2Cut the Resistance – This depends on the competition and the athlete, but typically, we’ll cut the majority of resistance training 10-14 days out from competition to allow the athlete to recover.  Now, if we are talking about a weekly wrestling tournament, this may not apply, but for a big event, 1-4 times per year, we would recommend adjusting accordingly.

Fight Specific – As we reduce the  resistance work, we’ll change our focus to sport specific drills to fine tune and work on your game plan.  This helps prepare the mind and body for the specific demands of the upcoming event.

Weight Cut – At this point, you should be within striking distance of making weight.  We don’t recommend waiting until the last minute, fasting and dropping all kinds of water weight.  Eat good, quality foods 80-90% of the time and your life will be much easier.

Recover – As the intensity and volume of your sessions goes down, you should use this opportunity to increase the amount of restorative work that you are performing.  This will help your body heal up, give your mind a break and allow you to be as close to 100% as possible on fight day.  Massage, contrast showers, hot baths and other recovery techniques can be added to speed the recovery process.

Eliminate Distractions – Leading up to a big event, you have enough to think about, so do your best to eliminate unnecessary distractions.  No need for extra stress at this point.  Boil it down to the basics and focus on the task at hand.  The majority of your thoughts and actions should be guided toward your goal right now.  Get your mind and body right, so you can perform up to your potential.

We look forward to hearing about your progress!



Here’s a few workout and training ideas to use leading up to a big event:

Check em out here –> Prepare for Battle Workouts