Every time I ask fighters about the one thing they want to improve, better conditioning is at the top of their list.
“Gassing Out” is a common problem, but you can improve.
We learned this drill from John Brookfield, developer of the Battling Ropes system.
John is an old time strongman, full of great ideas and this exercise has become one of our favorites.
Basically, you grab a big beach towel or moving blanket, shake it as fast as possible, while quickly changing direction with your feet.
Constantly changing directions and shaking the towel as fast as possible.
You can use this drill as part of a circuit or using various interval splits, but the real magic happens when you develop the conditioning to maintain speed for long periods of time. While this drill is difficult initially, you will quickly adapt and be able o sustain an effort for longer periods of time.
This may go against some strength coaches beliefs, but learning to handle pain, stress and being uncomfortable for long bouts of time is essential for any combat athlete. Although, we use and recommend intervals, we believe that ONLY doing interval type circuits can train a fighter to quit before the exercise or drill gets tough.
The key is understanding what to do, when and how much to get the desired benefit.
With MMA fights lasting up to 25 minutes, its important for every fighter to develop the work capacity to endure for longer periods of time.
Although it may look silly, people are shocked by how difficult it is to maintain speed over time.
- Keep the towel moving fast
- Change directions quickly
- Find a rhythm with your breath
- Learn to relax under stress
Common mistakes include tensing up, not breathing, predictable/slow footwork and closing the eyes.
Over time you will adapt, become faster and will be able to maintain speed for longer periods of time. The fast pace and constant change of directions transfers well onto the mat and into the cage. Below you’ll find a video demonstration of the towel taz drill.
Here’s a short clip of the Towel Taz:
4 Sample Interval Splits:
- 10 sec ON, 50 sec OFF x 10 rds
- 30 sec ON , 30 sec OFF x 6 rds
- 1 min ON, 2 min OFF x 3
- 5-10 min continuous effort
Give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Corey Beasley has been coaching for 20 years and has experience with a wide variety people. He is the founder of Fight Camp Conditioning and works with some of the top fighters and grapplers in Southern California.