Inside a Fighters Workout – How to Train Like a MMA Athlete!

There is a huge buzz here in Baltimore about Shogun Fights.


Shogun Fights represents the first ever Mixed Martial Arts event held in Maryland. The best part about Shogun Fights is that its being held right here in my beloved city of Baltimore!


Shogun Fights would not be possible if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of past Pro MMA fighter, John Rallo. John is a BJJ Black Belt under Renzo Gracie and is one the most legitimate combat coaches here in the Baltimore area. Armed with his passion for the sport, his connections to both local baltimore celebrities and politicians, and the will to invest thousands of dollars of his own money. John, after three years of tireless lobbying, has successfully gotten the sport of MMA legalized in the State of Maryland.


MMA aside, we could all learn from John’s passion, persistence and willingness to do whatever it took to get what he wanted. Just think, if we all put forth half as much effort in our own lives as John did to make Shogun Fights possible, I’d bet we would all be in better place than we are now!


All that said, I’ve had the pleasure of working with John Rallo as his Strength and Conditioning coach since 2001. Since that time, John no longer fights. Now, he focuses on his MMA school, Ground Control, which has developed an amazing stable of fighters and MMA enthusiasts. In addition to running team Ground Control and putting together Shogun Fights, John also find the time to bodyguard for such celebrities as Tommy Lee and Sly Stalone.

You can read more about John Rallo and the roots of team Ground Control in this Baltimore Sun article.


On top of all this, John is a hell of a nice guy who has done allot for me over the years. For that I try to return the favor by getting his fighters into the sickest shape possible.


I can’t guarantee that every fighter who works with me will win. But, I can guarantee that if they loose, it will NOT be due to a lack of conditioning.


In this post, I’m giving you the rare opportunity to see what I’m talking about for yourself.


I’ve included three videos below. Each video represent a round that Pro fighter, Ryan Mackin is using to prepare for his fight at Shogun.


This is a “fight specific” circuit that is designed to get a fighter in the same physical shape needed to compete in the ring/cage, without getting them the bumps and bruises of live sparring. This circuit is NOT designed to improve strength, improve technique, develop power or anything else of the sort.

The circuit has one goal and one goal only – to develop fight specific conditioning and help the fighter get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Okay, thats two goals. 🙂


Ryan performs the same circuit each round. You will watch that his overall movement and technique actually improve from round 1 to round 2. A good fighter who is in good shape will usually “settle in” and move cleaner in the second round as Ryan displays. The third round is a different story.


MMA Fight Specific Circuit – Round 1

MMA Fight Specific Circuit – Round 2

MMA Fight Specific Circuit – Round 3 (Final round)

Now, I will admit that when training my MMA guys, we do a wide variety of things. The above videos are by no means an exhaustive display of how I train my MMA athletes. What you have seen is simply a component to the training.

Additionally, I’m aware that there are many approaches to training combat athletes just as there are many approaches to doing just about anything in life. I’m sure there will be folks who love what they see above and other who disagree completely. That’s okay!

As they say “everyone is an expert!”.

In reality, there are no experts, there are just people who have found what works for them, in their setting, using their methods with their clients and athletes.

I’m by no means here or in any other post trying to tell you how you should  train or saying that my methods are the best. Far from it!

I’m simply showing you how I do things. Whether you like it or not, it works for me! It has for sometime now. So, I’m unlikely to change it.

However, I’m always up to hear how others do things and get new ideas and training concepts. Please comment below and tell me and the rest of the readers your thoughts on MMA conditioning…

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