MMA is an explosive, intermittent sport, where the majority of fighters supplement their skill-work with a combination of strength and power training, and anaerobic conditioning (intervals/circuit training). To every rule, there is an exception. For MMA conditioning, it’s Nick Diaz.
Nick Diaz has a work-rate like no other. He throws punches in bunches, and is constantly pressing forward. His style of fighting is unique. As is his conditioning regimen. He runs triathlons. Although it seems like the traditional approach of focusing on the aerobic energy system is out-dated, could it be that Nick Diaz is smarter than he looks? Maybe not when it comes to social skills, but for training, quite possibly. Diaz’s style seems to be more about volume than intensity. He has complimented it with a conditioning regimen focused more on the ability to do lots of work, rather than intermittent bouts of explosiveness.
The versatility of MMA means there are so many different fighting styles. With each fighting style, there are dominant fitness parameters. Nick Diaz has recognized that he is a volume-based fighter, and has a conditioning program to match it. Let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. If we used the triathlon approach with Melvin Guillard it would have little success. Guillard throws 1-3 punch combinations explosively, stays on the outside, then throws again (and ends up losing eventually by RNC). He would benefit more from an intensity-based conditioning regimen.
Your conditioning regimen should be a reflection of your sport, your fighting style and your weight class. In our next article we are going to discuss the relevance of weight-class on your strength and conditioning program. Stay tuned…