It’s not uncommon to have periods where you’re fighting very frequently, which can obviously throw your planned strength and conditioning training into a bit of a spin.
Although the very best improvements in athletic performance are built using the periodised strength and conditioning program, there are times when the ideal program this isn’t practical. “Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth” as Mike Tyson famously said!
So how can you adapt your strength and conditioning program if you are fighting every 4-weeks? Frequent fight planning certainly makes it more difficult to structure progressive athletic development, but it can be done. I’ll share with you how I accommodate this in my Pro Membership Muay Thai strength and conditioning program.
The trick is to ‘work through’ as much as possible – looking at the bigger picture rather than each individual fight. The aim is to be way ahead in 3-months rather than going around in circles athletically. Try not to think so much of being perfect for your very next fight, but instead being truly awesome in 3-fights time!
I’ve found 4-week training blocks (or mesocycles) work best for fighters. They’re long enough to build the athletic qualities you’re targeting, yet short enough to get somewhere before your next fight. So 4-week (mesocycle) blocks are what the whole Pro Program is based on.
I’ve also programmed using a 3:1 structure, 3-weeks of loading, and one week of deloading before the start of the next block. This is necessary to allow fatigue accumulated from the previous three weeks to disappear before pushing on into the next block. Without this, you’ll start overtraining, and each successive block is less effective. And ultimately athletic plateau, illness, injury and diminished psychological drive will result.
If you’re not fighting during each training block, don’t modify your plan, just follow it as it is – then you’ll make the best athletic progress. However, if you have a fight along the way, then I adapt the plan structure as follows to maintain the best possible progress overall, while still doing the best you can in the fight too.
Low Week – (following the last fight) do just one of the planned gym sessions toward the end of the week. Of the two possible gym sessions, do whichever one has deadlifts in it.
Med Week – use it as normal
High Week – use it as normal
Deload Week – (week before fight) no heavy lifting, just short, sharp power-endurance work. This is a performance peaking week.
To tune every default programmed block to fight in the final week, adjust the weekly structure as follows:
Your absolute best fight performance will be on week 16, when we’ve had a chance to build all your athletic qualities toward it. So the most important fight (title fight) is best placed there if possible. ;)
I hope that gives you an idea of how to adjust your strength and conditioning program to suit frequent fights without throwing away all your progressive, athletic gains. Remember, think long-term rather than short-term.
Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning
Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), and now a podcast host and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.
Don helps committed Thai boxers organise training for accelerated self development & Muay Thai performance.
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