Short Notice Weight Training Program PART 2

Now for week two of the accelerated 3-week weight training program to peak for a short notice Muay Thai fight. In week 1, we introduced power movements both at the speed end of the scale with plyometric box jumps and lighter medicine ball work, and the heavier, slower end of the force-velocity curve with heavy dumbbell snatches and medicine ball exercises.

We now begin to progress to generally lighter, faster movements, continuing to allow plenty of rest for full CNS recovery. Remember, we are still attempting to increase rate of force development (power) not power endurance. I know you’re itching to blast, but hold on one more week. For now you’ll have to satisfy those urges during your Muay Thai padwork sessions rather than in your weight training.

This week, the load for the dumbbell snatch has been reduced (you should feel like you got two reps left in you) so that you are accelerating faster. Speed of movement is the focus. We’ve also swapped the overhead press for a push press, to further incorporate power. This movement builds force from the floor via the lower body to the upper body explosively – just like Muay Thai striking techniques. We also continue to maintain strength with fundamental weight training lifts.

As with the week 1 routine, your objective is to move against the loads as fast as possible to develop power.

Session 3

Using superset exercise pairs (performed back-to-back with no rest), then resting 1-2mins before repeating the same pair for 3x sets

1a) Box jump x5
1b) 2kg Medicine ball shotput wall throws x 10 per side

2a) Dumbbell snatch x 5 (using an 8-rep max load, -3RM*)
2b) 3-4kg Medicine ball floor slams x 10

3a) Deadlift x5
3b) Chin ups x5


Session 4

Using superset exercise pairs (performed back-to-back with no rest), then resting 1-2mins before repeating the same pair for 3x sets

1a) Box jump x5
1b) 2kg Medicine ball shotput wall throws x 10 per side

2a) Dumbbell snatch x 5 (using 8-rep max load, -3RM*)
2b) 3-4kg Medicine ball floor slams x 10

3a) Push press x 5 (using 8-rep max load, -3RM*)
3b) Chin ups x5

*Some of the exercises above employ 5-reps with an 8-rep max load, or -3RM, i.e. a load that you could do an extra 3-reps with before technical failure.

The next article gives you the final two weight training sessions in preparation for the short notice fight.


  1. […] Short Notice Weight Training Program PART 2 […]

  2. James McKie June 5, 2014 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    Very helpful post. In a power stage now, 6 weeks out from a Thailand camp. Limited technique on the snatch and clean & jerk. Would you suggest plyometric step ups with dumbbells in place of box jumps? plus incorporating split jerks somewhere. Medicine ball shot put and slams are also unavailable to me so I was thinking clap/plyo push-ups with a weight vest (to manipulate loading), any suggestions?

    Many thanks

  3. DonHeatrick June 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Hi James,
    You could substitute the split jerk for a snatch as long as you keep it lighter and fast (objective is speed-strength).

    The box jumps are supposed to be as explosively fast as possible too, bodyweight only is much better for this application.

    The medicine ball shot put throws should also be as fast as possible, so plyo pushups with or without a weighted vest will be too slow for this phase of training. You could try doing bodyweight plyo push ups on your knees to make them faster?

    Hope this helps…

    • James McKie June 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Don,

      would you advocate any core exercises during this time such as landmines (at explosive tempo) and candlesticks? Also on the second phase before power endurance, would there be a benefit by dropping the load on the strength exercises to a 3RM, while completing 5 reps faster for a more power specific outcome?

      • DonHeatrick June 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

        Good questions James. There’s many ways to ‘skin a cat’ as they say – to explain my thought processes…

        I’ve personally not worried about core strength exercises at this stage and focused on core power. That’s why I’ve included med ball throws and smashes.

        Using a -3RM load at 5 reps (3 reps left in you with perfect form) will certainly help build power, although the other exercises (snatches, push presses & box jumps) should handle this. I’ve simply kept foundation deadlifts and chins for strength maintainance purposes (and phsycological confidence).

  4. Alex P January 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    General Question:
    I have a fight (MMA) coming up in 5 weeks. I didn´t do any base/max strength training in the last view weeks and I would like to stop at least 1 – 1.5 weeks out of the fight with any kind of weight/strength Training.
    So although now I didnt do any max and explosive strength prior can I still follow the short-notice-weight-training-program as described here?
    As I have 5 weeks until the fight I am thinking about to extend the training to 4 weeks (add 1 more week of power endurance, so repeat sessions 5&6 for one more week) and then have 1 week rest of weight training before the fight.

    Exercise related questions:
    Instead of Box Jumps which exercise is the best to replace it (air jump squats, tuck jumps, jumping lunges, alternating step-ups)?

    Instead of medball shotput throws is it ok to do band rotational explosive pulls?

    • DonHeatrick January 10, 2015 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Hi Alex, apologies my replies (made from my mobile app) don’t seem to be making it online (I hope this one does!?).

      Yes, the short-notice routine has been designed to improve strength for those that have not been building it previously, and to allow that new strength to carry over into the fight (planned training residuals – continued strength even when training stimulus is removed).

      Extra power endurance will work, just make the kettlebell swings and push press heavier further from the fight and lighter/faster as the fight approaches. You can even use the session5/6 routine in the last week of the fight if you wish as long as you keep it lighter/fast.

      I’d suggest tuck jumps as a substitute for the box jumps. The rotational explosive band pulls may work a similar movement pattern, but will cause you to de-accelerate as the band stretches through the movement. A strike accelerates throughout the movement, and you want to teach your body to be fast – especially this close to the fight.


  5. Dave Yeomans June 23, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Don, been following your site for some time now as I’d initially been looking for a weight training format for Muay Thai/Kickboxing specifically, and your site was has the best advice I’d come across. So thanks first of all!

    Anyway I’ve noticed that you have not programmed the Front Squat in this phase but the (I subbed for regular as I don’t feel good on form) Deadlift still remains – it would also be back-to-back with the last workout.

    What was the rationale for the programming mentioned above, was it to negate DOMS in the legs while still maintaining strength?

    Also should the weight stay constant on the Deadlift from the first session?


    • DonHeatrick June 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Dave,
      Thanks for the great feedback, it’s appreciated.

      Training sessions shouldn’t be carried out on consecutive days – every other day at the earliest. I dropped the front squat out in the second phase as there are still lots of knee dominant (vertical) patterns included with the box jumps, snatches and push presses. The deadlifts remain to preserve/build strength and contribute a hip dominant (horizontal) pattern. The load on the deadlift can increase from the previous week.

      I hope that makes sense?


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