** All training programs should only be implemented under the close supervision of an experienced performance coach. The intention of the attached training template is only to demonstrate an example workout plan for weeks 1-4 of a training block for a healthy combat athlete who is 16 to 18 weeks out from a 4 to 6 round fight. Each subsequent training block will provide more fight specific activities and less general exercise as the competition nears (You will notice in this plan that the reps, sets and sparring volume fluctuate weekly to allow for recovery). No training program is set in stone due to the constant daily fluctuation of the human organism. Training programs must always be individualized and constant adjustments are necessary to satisfy the specific needs and safety of the participating athlete!
My intention is to share with you some basic information derived from my own personal experiences with this type of training situation hoping that it sparks some creativity for your own “personal” training situation and lifestyle. With the attached plan, I am under the assumption that many of the work activities that you presently perform at your job can be utilized as a quality means for your combat training! That is why aerobic, anaerobic and alactic capacity training is placed with a lesser load emphasis in the attached training example. By nature, the manual labor work you perform daily can easily satisfy much of the same energy system demands required by your sport. Just like running, sprinting and other forms of traditional conditioning that is used in the gym, those work activities like swinging a sledgehammer, carrying block and loading a wheelbarrow can provide a similar affect merely by adjusting the work rate and intensity of the activity and most importantly, allowing ample rest and recovery between those bouts of increased work intensities!
I completely understand that you cannot “slack off” at your job, but you can learn to pace your work rate. Using a watch and/or heart rate monitor can provide awareness of your pace and learning when to step on and off of the gas pedal at your occupation.
*Random Training Adjustments, Accomodations And Suggestions For Manual Labor Work.
*If early morning (pre-work day) sparring is available and conducive, you may want to consider periodically implementing that. I would not recommend performing every sparring session early in the morning, due to the mere fact that fights are typically scheduled later in the evening and at night as to avoid any conflict with your “biological training clock”. If pre-work day (e.g. morning before work) sparring is available, make sure that your nervous system is well “primed” prior to engaging in any training activity.
* Weekend and/or off day workouts are always welcomed, but be careful of over stressing yourself. Remember it is still the quality of work that matters, not the amount. Also remember that the work you do presently has a lasting effect on subsequent workouts!
* Sleep, sleep, sleep- the most effective form of recovery known to man. Get plenty of it.
* Nutrition- hydration, amino acids and electrolytes throughout the entire day, not just during work breaks! Hydration is so much more than water! Complete protein, complex carbohydrates and plenty of good fats with every meal. You are not a bodybuilder…you are an athlete with two jobs who works his ass off! Nutrient dense foods are essential, even when you are trying to maintain or cut weight. Keep your body fueled for both, your workouts and recovery. NEVER skip a feeding!
* Intra-workday workouts- General examples of this were mentioned earlier. Much of the same combat sports conditioning training can be performed during your workday. Allow your manual labor job to condition your body with its already “built in” work activities. Take advantage of this, but be careful of your work intensities!
Training at work can satisfy many conditioning needs if performed wisely. It can replace many of your distance runs and other traditional conditioning exercises. Get away from the “old school” mentality that running 8 kilometers per day is the only means for developing your aerobic capacity, because it’s not!
*Alternating between work duties (shoveling, raking, lifting, pulling, pushing, carrying, etc.), and/or changing arms and leg positions for activities like hammering(sledge, claw, wrench, etc.), or shoveling, raking, carrying and torquing can also assist as a means to avoid overuse injuries and spare his/her body for other boxing specific training. Another positive attribute to this alternating of tasks is the ability to become more ambidextrous, which becomes very beneficial to combat sports athletes.
*Sparring is the activity MOST specific to your sport; therefore it takes priority over other training modalities. It can be used for both situational fight training and for conditioning purposes. It can be used in place of other leg conditioning exercises and it does NOT always have to be trained at FULL speed to reap some benefits!
* Use auto-regulation to determine the intensity of the subsequent workout following a hard day at work. If your body is taxed from that particular day’s manual labor work activities, then adjustments to the evening training session can be made.
Emphasize the larger muscles of your legs and glutes while pounding the sledgehammer and lifting heavy objects. Leg strength is just as valuable as neck strength when absorbing a blow from an opponent. While spreading dirt with a shovel, rotate your hips and torso to simulate throwing punches. These are just a few examples.
* Take advantage of all lunch and rest breaks. Lie down and elevate feet with every opportunity available. Eat a healthy snack during this period.
If you follow some of the above suggestions and use your own imagination under your personal work circumstances, you will increase your overall fighting fitness with lessened opportunity for pre-competition overtraining.
** The attached example is the first 4 weeks training block for a heavyweight fighter who is 18 weeks out from a 4 to 6 round boxing match. As training progresses closer to the actual fight date, more specific boxing training modalities will be integrated as other, more general exercises are removed.
The objective of this strength and conditioning program is to prepare the athlete for his upcoming competition, but it is just as importantly designed to prepare him for the rigors of his work day and the manual labor activities which will inevitably be breaking his/her body down.
Train Smart! Coach Joe D.
Manual Labor Sample Training Plan