I love MMA, because it’s a bit like football / soccer – all body types can find a style that suits.
Tall and skinny is often the way to go for most fighters as you look through the top 5 fighters in each of the divisions from featherweight to light heavyweight. You do get the odd exception however, such as Yoel Romero.
He is very secretive about his training regime. However, looking at his physique and athleticism, it no doubt consists of a number of open-chain functional exercises, some gymnastic movements and explosive exercises such as plyometrics and Olympic Lifts.
Possible Yoel Romero Workout*
Most great athletes adhere to periodised training routines.
That is, they will have a set period to develop strength and then a set period to develop another physical asset such as power.
The programme below would represent a power based phase.
The initial phase would normally be to build strength using compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats and military press.
- Include Functional Exercises Performed Standing Up like Military Press instead of Shoulder Press
- Limit bodybuilding exercises (unless in a ‘hypertrophy phase of training”)
- Plyometrics – For Explosive Power*
- Olympic Lifts – For Explosive hips*
- Gymnastics Movements – For agility & flexibility
A note on power workouts – Always consider the risk to reward ratio
High Pulls for example, great for explosive power, but carry a relatively high risk of injury.
Sample Programme for Explosive Power
Perform at your own risk. Always consult a coach or experienced lifter/athlete for power exercises as the risk of injury is high
Warm up –
15 minutes ‘functional cardio’
Low intensity shadow boxing, building up the pace over 5 minutes
Skipping for the next 5 minutes
Shadow wrestling drills like sprawls and double legs to finish the warm up
Single Leg Step Ups 2 sets of 10 reps on each leg
The single leg step ups are great done on a higher platform to drill and strengthen defence to a single leg attack. They can also be used to replicate the motion of throwing a knee. Great ‘open chain’ functional exercise.
Resisted Sprints – 4 sets of 15 second sprints – for foot-speed and power
Weighted Jumps – 3 sets of 8 reps – for explosive hips and legs
Medicine Ball Slams – 2 sets of 8 reps – For explosive core
Medicine Ball Lateral Throws – 3 sets of 10 reps each side
Power Cleans 5 sets of 5 reps – for explosive hips
Push Press 4 sets of 6 reps
Sumo Deadlift – 3 sets of 10 reps – for flexibility and strength
Cable Punches – (cross) 2 sets of 12 reps on each arm
Cable Punches –Uppercuts 1 set of 12 reps on each arm
Cable punches – Hooks 1 set of 12 reps on each arm
Hindu Press Ups – 3 sets of max reps – for flexibility & strength
Jumping Lunges – 3 sets of 5 reps on each leg
Muscle Ups – 3 sets of 8 reps
Handstand Press Ups – 3 sets of max reps
Plyometric Chin Ups – 3 sets of max reps
Shoulder bridges – 3 sets of 8 reps
Include mobility exercises such as Pass Throughs
and the couch stretch.
Take a look at what GSP does –
*This is my best guess as to his strength & conditioning as he doesn’t expose much about his training. Train at your own risk
Remember that technique is paramount in avoiding injury. It’s definitely worth investing in a coach when attempting Olympic Lifts and gymnastics exercises.
I imagine Yoel works to a periodised programme based on his fights, with strength, power and recovery factored into different phases.
Disclaimer – For informational purposes only. These article and sample programme are to give an idea of functional training only and you should always consult a coach to create a personalised programme and to teach correct technique.