I recently bought a magazine as part of a supplement to Blitz, the popular Australian Martial Arts magazine. This supplement had articles from all the top trainers predominately in the US and there were some interesting findings. First and foremost many of the strength and conditioning techniques utilised by the MMA guys have been around in the powerlifting and strength training circut for some time. The utilization of resistance bands, Kettlebells, large compound movements like squat, deadlift and clean and press are all well known to those who have been in the strength seeking business. In fact even techniques like the battling ropes popularised by John Brookfield well known in MILO circles is been used by fighters. Therefore from a straight strength building element I'm not sure that there is a lot the MMA guys can show the strength seeking trainees. When it comes to conditioning however these guys are without peer. You don't need to look any further then Randy Couture who at 47 would put most 27 year olds to shame. The type of conditoing that these gusy carry is frankly obscene it is that damn good.
Therefore what are they doing that we can learn from. From what I can tell the technique used by most is complexes. Again this is not new to most who have been studying and training to achieve top strength and conditioning. The thing is the MMA guys take this to knew heihghts. Some of the KB and Barbell complex routines used by the MMA guys are not only physically demanding but mentally also just looking at them. Just consider for one moment performing the following complex with 2 x 20kg KB's and competing 5 sets of 10 reps and tell me whether you will be taxed at the end of it. Holding a 20kg KB in each hand you immediately go into a push up, followed by a renegade row with each hand, you then stand up and rack the KB's and complete a Lunge with both legs and then perform a strict press with each hand and then finish with a deep squat and this is one rep. It is these types of comlexes that when you think about it simulate what it must be like to be fighting constantly with an opponent. Performing under this type of extreme pressure and requiring both aerobic and anaerobic stamina is the reason these complexes make such sense.
The ultimate take home from looking at what the MMA guys do in relation to your own strength and conditioning is twofold. One is take the time to study and learn what other sports or disciplines do in the way of seeking strength and conditioning. You just may pick up a few new pearls you had not heard of. The second thing is something I have spoken of consistently. It doesn't matter what method you adopt in relation to your training. The only way you will improve is to constantly push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Attack whtever raining is in front of you at that time with absolute intensity and commitment and your body will have no choice but to become stronger and more conditioned.