by Martin Rooney and Bryan Krahn
Martin Rooney wants to change how you think about mixed martial arts (MMA) training.
Considered to be the pioneer of physical training for MMA, Martin has 13 years’ experience getting fighters ready for action. He’s trained and cornered hundreds of fighters, including several UFC champions.
He’s knowledgeable and opinionated, but he isn’t above admitting when he’s made a mistake. Fact is, Rooney says it’s his mistakes — and learning from them — that’s had the biggest impact on his development as one of the most sought after coaches in the sport.
Rooney’s indoctrination into MMA began in the late 90′s in the decidedly non-Brazilian city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Rooney was a member of the US Bobsled team and his roommate was Olympic silver medalist Todd Hays, who also happened to be a pro fighter.
Hays started teaching Rooney a few things on the side and soon Rooney was hooked. Upon returning to the U.S., he quickly joined a nearby Gracie school. Rooney eventually began training the fighters he rubbed shoulders with and the rest as they say, is history.
But not a long history. Although the various fighting disciplines of MMA have been around for centuries, the actual sport of MMA is just a kid; even worse, it’s a teenager.
“At 16 or 17 years old, MMA and its training is in adolescence,” says Rooney, “and like adolescent teenagers, they think they know everything, they don’t listen, and they make a lot of mistakes.”
Rooney says that one of the biggest mistakes is the “evolution” of MMA training. Trainers and coaches are continually looking for the latest and greatest ways to improve their fighters, but Rooney says it’s bordering on ridiculous.
“I’ve travelled the world, to places where the martial arts began, and none of the trainers are doing any of this nonsense,” says Rooney. “It’s like sushi: You go to Japan and sushi is beautiful simplicity, fish and rice. And it’s incredible.
Head down to the local sushi shop in the US and you can get the Hackensack roll, which has 10 ingredients and 15 sauces. It’s more complicated, but it sure isn’t better.With MMA training, I see the same thing, and the same myths being put out there…”
Myth #1: Training for MMA should be all circuit-style high-volume training.
If you’re going to train to be an MMA fighter, you have to perform a bunch of high volume circuits as they test your will, not to mention leave you crazy sore, right?
Not so, says Rooney.
“I was circuit crazy for years. I’d destroy my athletes with them,” says Rooney. “And guess what? My guys would still get gassed in the ring. Circuit training does not build a better fighter; training like an athlete does.
I get guys telling me all the time that they love circuits cause they get so crazy sore. Great, but what’s the result? You do these circuits enough and you’ll get better at them and won’t be as sore, but you’re still weak.
You’re now a weak fighter who’s good at circuits.”
Rooney says that the circuit craze in MMA is a byproduct of the whole macho tough guy attitude that surrounds MMA training. It may look cool and sell magazines, but it isn’t effective.
“It’s pursuing fatigue and not improvement, all part of the idea that you’re not a man unless you’re getting your ass kicked in the gym as well as in the ring.”
So what’s the right way?
“Squats, deadlifts, bench presses, power cleans; the basics, combined with some sprinting and some stretching. It may not be glamorous, but it makes you stronger and faster.”
For Regular Dudes: If you want to burn fat and improve your conditioning, use circuits sparingly. Think one, maybe two sessions a week, with the remaining time spent on basic heavy lifting.
“You have to think of longevity,” says Rooney. “Performing five days of circuits a week doesn’t make you tough, it just makes you injured. You can lift weights forever, but good luck hitting those circuits in 20 years.”
Myth #2: Fighters need a minimum of 8 weeks to get ready for a fight.
“Nonsense,” says Rooney. “If you’re a fighter, you should be ready to fight all the time. This whole 8-week camp standard just gives guys an excuse to get out of shape.”
Rooney says the “8-weeks out” thing all started with boxing, where old school boxers used to go to training camps 2 or 3 months before a fight to get into shape. But Rooney says MMA is not boxing, and current MMA fighters are fighting all the time, sometimes 7 or 8 times a year. Getting out of shape just isn’t an option.
“If you get out of shape, you have to kill yourself for 8 weeks and will show up wiped out,” says Rooney. “But if you stay in shape year round, you show up fresh.
Frankie Edgar is known for his incredible motor and he stays in shape and trains hard year-round. For him, a fight is just another day at the office.”
For Regular Dudes: Don’t take unnecessary breaks. Do something, anything, to keep you in the game. Sure, life gets busy and priorities sometimes need to change (“I can’t change Junior’s diaper honey, I gotta train legs tonight.”), but you should never have to quit training completely. Have periods where you train less and periods where you train more. But never just do nothing.
Myth #3: If I follow fighter X’s program, I will be fit like him.
Here’s the pitch: Follow Georges St. Pierre’s (circuit based) workout for three months and you’ll be mistaken for GSP at your favorite nightclub.
“It’s like the Schwarzenegger arm routines we all used to follow. Five sets of barbell curls, 4 sets of preacher curls, a couple sets of 21′s. It’s lunacy; why do we expect it to work with fighters?”
It’s a good segue to one of Rooney’s biggest peeves, and biggest sources of amusement.
“I don’t watch the Ultimate Fighter but I always know when it airs — the next day at the gym, there will be guys doing stuff like running backwards on a treadmill with a snorkel on.
The training programs have all been sensationalized to get ratings. I know the top trainers and what they really do, and it’s what you’d expect — basic, smart training. But that doesn’t get ratings.”
Rooney says the goofball training also plays an important psychological role.
“Think about it — if I’m training Jim Miller for a fight in two months, when the cameras arrive do I show how we really train, or do I try to psyche out my opponent’s camp by having Jim swim in shark infested waters while I shoot flaming arrows at him?”
For Regular Dudes: Try new things: basic, intelligent training that’s tailored to your specific needs — not some celebrity’s. That’s the smartest option. “I give seminars all over the world, and I always ask the room who has flexibility issues,” says Rooney. “Virtually everyone will raise their hand. Next, I ask whoever’s working on it (flexibility) to keep your hands up. Maybe one or two are.”
Only you know what you need. Do that, not the latest thing.
Myth #4: MMA is tough, so the click here to read the full article
Article by : by Martin Rooney and Bryan Krahn