Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frank Shamrock's MMA Kettlebell Circuits.

So, I was digging around the Dragon Door articles section this morning and found an article detailing Frank Shamrock's strength and conditioning training as he prepared for Strikeforce: Shamrock vs Gracie.

In this bout, Shamrock knocked Gracie out 20 seconds into Round 1 - pretty impressive!

Now, the article (which was written in 2006) doesn't really do a great job explaining how fighters can utilize the training described to maximum effect. So, in this post I want to clarify why and when fighters should use these kettlebell circuits in their own training.

How Frank Trained and How You Should Train - 

As the article explained, Shamrock has broken his back twice and is simply not able to deadlift or squat. So, developing maximal strength with these exercises was out of the question. 

But maximal strength is only marginally useful for a combat athlete. Explosive power and strength-endurance are the top two strength qualities a fighter needs. And the kettlebell circuits Reifkind and Sarti develop those critical qualities quite well. 

Now, these kettlebell circuits fit best in the later stages of a fighter's periodized program approaching a fight. This later stage is when a fighter will be stressing their metabolic capacities in a manner that is more specific to what they will encounter in an actual fight. 

So, that is how you should use them: as you get closer to a fight. 

Shamrock's Training at a glance - 
Frank Shamrock's 2006 Strikeforce Training

Reifkind and Sarti meant for the exercises in these circuits to be performed in a timed manner (unless otherwise specific) to better mimic the the possible stresses Shamrock would encounter in his fight. The exercises were chosen to develop several key qualities like: explosive strength, strength endurance, and anti-rotational core strength. 

The article doesn't really give an indication of how many times Shamrock would cycle through the kettlebell circuits, but if I were a betting man I'd say he'd do 3-5 cycles of whatever circuit he was working that day. I say this because this kettlebell conditioning was done in addition to fight training and other endurance work. So, CNS fatigue would have been a major concern. Keeping the volume of the kettlebell circuits low would have allowed Shamrock to focus on optimal power output without overtaxing his system. 

All in all, I'd say Reifkind and Sarti's circuits were pretty damn good and helped Frank Shamrock get back to the top of his game for his comeback fight.

Try these circuits out in your own training and let me know it's going for you by leaving me a message in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to check this Frank Shamrock highlight reel which shows him utilizing some of the exercises from these circuits:

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