MF prepares for an amateur MMA fight, week 3

 Joel Snape, Men's Fitness, amateur MMA fight blog 3
(Image credit: Unknown)

For most of my pre-fight conditioning, I've either been grappling or hitting bags, mitts and people. This is the way fight coaches, such as Ollie Richardson and Jonathan Chaimberg recommend, because fight-fitness is very specific. You could run a marathon or deadlift double your bodyweight, but it's not the same as fighting. Sometimes, though, fight-specific training isn't as hard as I'd like, because not everyone wants to go full-intensity all the time. So when I feel like my cardio's lacking, I do hill sprints.
Virtually every coach loves hill sprinting. Jim Wendler, inventor of the 5/3/1 weight training method, says that it ‘taxes the lungs, legs, and most importantly, your mind’. Underground strength coach Zach Even-Esh says that it's ‘older than dirt but brutally effective for conditioning’. Jerry Rice, widely thought to be the best NFL wide receiver ever, did hill sprints religiously and famed UFC cardio machine Tito Ortiz does them at his training camp in Big Bear.

The best thing about them is that you don't need a clever programme. You simply find a good hill (if you’re in London, Primrose Hill in Regent's Park is fantastic), sprint up it as fast as you can, walk back down, and repeat until you feel sick. After a couple of weeks you can set yourself goals for how many you want to do in a session, and it never gets any easier.

If you don't have a hill you can use a staircase - the one in MF Towers is six floors, which is plenty of stairs - but that isn't as much fun, because you can't lie on the grass with your shirt off at the top, absorbing vital vitamin D from the sunshine. Even if you haven't got a fight coming up, find a hill and sprint up one this summer - your lungs and legs will thank you in the long run.

Eight days to go until Joel's SENI fights. Enter our competition to win VIP tickets to SENI here.

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