Tennis Workout Plan (.pdf) 2022


Tennis is a sport that requires a high level of endurance, speed, power and core strength.

In this workout, we will look to develop power and strength, so that players can accelerate faster, change direction quicker, serve faster and jump higher.

For informational purposes only. Train with a supervised professional etc.

tennis player on baseline

  • Always warm up to mitigate the risk of injury
  • Cool down to optimise recovery
  • Ideally, have a program for the off-season and a different program for the tennis season
  • This program doesn’t include agility of footwork drills

Day 1

ExerciseRepsSets
Barbell Bench Press*10 2
Plyometric Press Ups63
Medicine Ball Overhead Throws63
Medicine Ball Slams62
Chin Ups10 (or max)2
Multi-directional Lunges12 (total)2
Rotating Plyo Jumps62
Band resisted backwards walks20 seconds3

*If you have any shoulder issues, consider replacing the standard barbell bench press with a floor press either with a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebell.

Day 3

ExerciseRepsSets
Barbell Front Squat84
Depth Jumps62
Barbell Glute Bridges82
One arm Row10 per arm2
Cable wood chops10 per side2
Hanging Leg RaisesMax2
Plank hold1 minute
Tib Raises102
Band Assisted Lunges10 (total)2
Band resisted sideways walks15 seconds each direction3

Day 5

ExerciseRepsSets
Hex Bar Jumps63
Pallof Press63
High Pulls63
Medicine Ball Slams122
Medicine Ball Oblique throws8 a side2
Lateral Bounds102
Cable crunches122
Nordic Hamstring CurlsMax2

Rotator Cuff Exercises

With all the strain on the shoulders, it’s important to mitigate the risk of injury, with appropriate rest, stretching and rotator cuff exercises:

Stretching

If you are training hard and playing tennis several times per week, you should stretch. I like to warm up with some steady state cardio before I stretch, to get a bit of a sweat on. I sometimes do some basic stretches in the bath, but that’s another story!

If you are stuck for time, “The World’s Greatest” stretch is a good all-rounder, as you’d expect considering the name.

Olympic Lifts

Alongside plyometrics, Olympic lifts such as cleans and snatches are excellent for increasing hip extension speed and general power.

In this program I’ve only included high-pulls, as these are relatively simple to learn and carry a relatively low risk of injury compared to, for example, snatches.

Trap bar weighted jumps are also excellent for power generation, although they will place some strain on the discs in your back – so don’t go too heavy or too frequent with these.

Exercises in the Program

Some of the lesser well-known exercises in the program are shown below.

Barbell Glute Bridges

Pallof Press

Medicine Ball Oblique Throws

High Pulls

Download the Weight Training Program pdf here:

Google Sheet Version:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vTRQonRa75zg9dNXSssXFb0rTQjZgNElWmJSWFamEhpstmVKV8DFpZxjN6Xvm8lMkPDtykXyBURqoC6/pub

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Individual Basketball Workouts .pdf [2022]


By Drew Griffiths (BSc, MSc)

Get hench, jump higher, and move quicker on the basketball court, with this weight training program for basketball.

Ideally, you’re strength and conditioning should be periodised, with a different pre-season training program, for example, compared to in-season. The program shown here is a general one and should be modified according to other activity levels and your own strengths and weaknesses.

basketball player jump height

Warm Up

Try and increase your body temperature to avoid injuries. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of steady state, low-impact cardio and then add some dynamic stretches and mobility exercises.

Before each set, perform 2 or 3 warm-up sets with a light weight before working up to your “working sets”.

Plyometrics

Plyometrics are an excellent form of exercise for sports like basketball. They do however carry a relatively high risk of injury. So make sure your body is warm and you are well rested the day before, before attempting this type of explosive exercise.

Olympic Lifts

Along with plyometrics, Olympic lifts such as clean and presses and snatches are excellent for developing power. They are highly technical however and also carry a high risk of injury. Instead, hex bar/trap bar jump and high pulls have been included as they are relatively simple to perform, yet highly effective.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

Rotator cuff exercises can help prevent shoulder injuries by strengthening the muscles that help keep the shoulder joint in place. This is important for injury prevention when playing basketball and when lifting weights.

Individual Basketball Workouts .pdf [2022] (Power, Strength, Speed)

Day 1

ExerciseRepsSets
Dumbbell Floor Press10 (per arm)2
Plyometric Press Ups63
Medicine Ball Overhead Throws63
Medicine Ball Slams62
Chin Ups10 (or max)2
Multi-directional Lunges12 (total)2
Rotating Plyo Jumps62
Band resisted backward walks20 seconds3

Day 3

ExerciseRepsSets
Front Squat84
Depth Jumps62
One arm Row10 per arm2
Cable wood chops10 per side2
Hanging Leg RaisesMax2
Plank hold1 minute
Tib Raises102
Band Assisted Lunges10 (total)2

Day 5

ExerciseRepsSets
Hex Bar Jumps63
High Pulls63
Barbell Glute Bridges62
Lateral Bounds102
Cable crunches122
Nordic Hamstring CurlsMax2

Look to change the volume up during the off-season and reduce it slightly, perhaps training just 2 days a week during the season.

You can easily vary the exercises by using kettlebells for high pulls, adding some resistance band exercises and changing up the reps and weights. I like to keep the first exercise the same for extended periods, to monitor progression and have some kind of progressive resistance.

Stretching

I would also suggest, stretching every day.

If you are stuck for time, “The World’s Greatest” stretch is a good all-rounder

Program Exercises

Some of the exercises in the program, are shown in the videos below:

Dumbell Floor Press

If you prefer barbell and barbell or dumbbell bench press, then feel free to replace the floor press. The only thing I don’t like about full or normal bench press, is the stress is can place on your shoulders, especially if your form is a bit off. I personally like kettlebell floor press, because it’s easier to grap the handle, which is already elevated off the floor slightly – it can be tricky with a dumbbell.

Medicine Ball Slams

Rotational Jumps

Backwards Walks

Nordic Curls

Band Assisted Lunges

This is for improving deceleration – you’re ability to slow down quickly and change direction.
I can’t find a video, but you want to attach a band to a point in front of you so that the band pulls you in the direction of the lunge, and you have to control the descent before pushing back to the starting position.

Tib Raises

Another great exercise for deceleration and change of direction speed.

Vertical Overhead Medicine Ball Throw

If you can do this standing next to a wall, it’s easier to catch it. This is what I do (my weird functional workout on Instagram is shown here)

High Pulls

This exercise wants to be done at speed. Drive with the legs and then drive again with the hips and pull up with the arms/hands.

Basketball Workout Plan PDF

Download Weight Training Program as a pdf:

Google Doc:

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Huberman Lab – Podcast Notes Episode 80: Optimize & Control Your Brain Chemistry To Improve Health & Performance 


Main Points


Optimizing metabolic circuits for health and performance requires getting sufficient amounts of good-quality sleep of sufficient duration, as well as experiencing all phases of sleep, including slow wave and REM.
Study participants who changed their routine from “night owl” to “morning person” experienced significant improvements in mood, stress, and grip strength (among other outcomes) when done properly (i.e., sleeping and waking at roughly the same time, bright light exposure in the morning, dim lights in the evening, etc.).

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The Complete Guide to Omega Fatty Acids [5 minute read]


What are Fats?

Fats are a macronutrient, made up of 3 fatty acids combined with a molectule of glycerol

Fats can be divided into:

  • Saturated Fats – fatty acids with no double bonds – found in oils and meat – they are saturated with carbon atoms – they are straight and normally solid at room temperature
  • Unsaturated Fats – Have at least one double-bond in their chain. They are not as dense as saturated fats and are liquid at room temperature.

Monosaturated Fats – have one double bond. For exampel oleic acid found in olive oil

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA) – have more than one double bound.

What are Omega Fats?

Omega fats are PUFA fats.

Omega Fats can also be classified by where the double bond occurs.

If the double bond occurs at the 3rd carbon atom at the end of the ‘chain’ – it is called an Omega 3 fatty acid

If the double carbon bond is at the 6th carbon atom at the end of the ‘chain’ – it’s an Omega 6 fatty acid.

People can’t make some fatty acids within their body, within consuming them directly. This is why some fats are coined “essential fats”.

Linoleic Acid, and Alpha Linoleic Acid are deemed “essential”.

However ALA needs to be converted to make it more bioavailable.

ALA is converted to a long chain fatty acid known as “Eicosapentaenoic acid” (EPA) and another one called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Mackerel is the best source of omega 3 in terms of the amount per 100g.

You can get all the omega 3 / essential fats you need, by consuming 1 to 3g per day of a high quality fish oil supplement.

Make sure that it is in a natural triglyceride form and not the cheaper ethyl-ester form. More info and research here.

The three main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood.

Source

List of omega-3 fatty acids [source]

Common nameLipid nameChemical name
α-Linolenic acid (ALA)18:3 (n−3)octadeca-9,12,15-trienoic acid
Stearidonic acid (SDA)18:4 (n−3)octadeca-6,9,12,15-tetraenoic acid
Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)20:4 (n−3)eicosa-8,11,14,17-tetraenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)20:5 (n−3)eicosa-5,8,11,14,17-pentaenoic acid
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)22:5 (n−3)docosa-7,10,13,16,19-pentaenoic acid
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)22:6 (n−3)docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid

What are the Health Benefits of Omega 3?

Omega 3 reduces inflammation, may help with joint pain, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular health and the reduction of plasma triglyercides.

Fish oil reduces triglycerides by reducing the production of VLDL in the liver.

Fish oil also increases fatty acid uptake and oxidation.

At a cellular level – every cell has a cell membrane. Cell membranes are composed of phospholipids. Omega 3 fats can change the cell membrane function and rigidity in a beneficial manner.

What is the Omega 3/6 Ratio?

Some nutritionists believe that a high level of omega 6 fat intake and a relatively low level of omega 3 can lead to a variety of inflammatory diseases. Ideally the ratio of 6 to 3, should be less than 4 to 1.

The typical western diet has a ratio of 15 to 1, so most people in the western world may wish to consider reducing omega 6 intake, and/or increasing omega 3.

Phospholipid Omega 3

Krill oil and some fish eggs, have a more bioavailable form of omega 3.

There is some evidence, that some people are susceptible to degenerative brain conditions such as dementia, have this predisposition because DHA, found in omega 3, has difficulty passing the blood brain barrier (BBB) into the brain*

Phospholipid Omega 3 may be able to overcome this issue, and has therefore Phospholipid Omega 3 supplementation, has been touted by some as a potential means to offset the development of degenerative brain conditions.

You can read more about this here.

*These individuals tend to have a “polymorphism” known as APOE4.

Vegan Omega 3

Fish and fish oil supplements are usually touted as the best source of omega 3. If you’re a vegan, you can get omega 3, including EPA from algae supplements. You can get DHA from chia seeds, sunflower seeds and flax.

Omega 3 for Dogs

Dogs can have issues with their joints. Omega 3 supplements are popular with dog owners, as it is thought that high EPA omega 3 can help alleviate the pain and stiffness from arthritis.

Vegan Omega 3 for Dogs

You can buy Algae Oil for dogs, if you have a, erm, vegan dog!

Images from UnSplash

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Podcast Notes – Huberman Lab – Dr. Rhonda Patrick: Micronutrients for Health & Longevity


Small amounts of acute, relatively short lasting stress are good for you. Modern life is a bit easy in terms of physical challenges, but you can compensate with exercise and heat/cold exposure.

3 key nutrients for the brain and body are:

  1. Sulfurophane
  2. Vitamin d
  3. Omega 3

Generally speaking, you want to look for omega 3 with a high level of EPA.

70% of the US population is deficient in vitamin D.

Incidentally, many nutritionists say its best to take vitamin d3 with vitamin k2.

Sulfurophane can be obtained from brocolli sprout seeds and moringa powder.

The benefits of sauna use are dose dependent. Using a sauna 4-7 times per week reduces a person’s risk of dementia by around 40%

Using a sauna can improve cardiovascular fitness. People who exercise and use the sauna have better or higher levels of cardiovascular fitness than people who exercise and don’t use the sauna.

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How to Improve Your Memory & Focus | Podcast Notes | The Huberman Lab – Episode 73 Boost Attention & Memory


As a self-confessed space cadet, this is one podcast I was keen to listen to.

Notes I made from the podcast are listed below:

How to Improve Focus & Memory

If you want to improve your focus and ability to learn, then the foundation involves 4 things:

  1. Exercise – aim for 30-45 minutes per day
  2. Good quality sleep – aim for 8 hours each night
  3. Meditation – aim for 12 minutes per day
  4. Cold exposure – have a cold shower after your warm shower

In terms of exercise, just aim to do 30-45 minutes per day of some type of activity that raises your heart rate significantly.

Aim for 12 minutes per day of mindful meditation.

Cold exposure can also help us become more alert and more focused. For example, take a cold shower. Cold exposure is one way to increase dopamine and adrenaline levels for a sustained period of hours. Dopamine normally peaks and then drops below baseline, which is why any substance that increases dopamine levels is highly addictive – from coke to social media – they’re all addictive and bad for mental health. Studies on cold exposure however, show that dopamine levels are significantly increased for several hours after a cold shower or outdoors swim etc.

How to Remember Specific Things Like People’s Names

To remember a specific thing, you can improve your chances of recalling the thing, like an event or piece of knowledge by:

  • Adding novelty – make things weird
  • Repeating the thing to remember
  • Associate the thing to remember with an event, person or something deep-rooted in your memory*
  • Adding emotion

*For example, I remember people’s names by associating them with someone or something that I already know, or that I’ve already remembered. For example, when I met Kieron whilst working the warehouse for my employer, I remembered this name by thinking “Oh, that’s the name of my therapist” and I remembered Craig by remembering Craig Johnston – Liverpool player who designed Predator football boots.

Novel situations are easier to remember. It can be tricky to add novelty but you can notice something weird or new about the situation. E.g. if you are writing down your times table to remember something, add a weird character to the bottom of the page, or draw the numbers elaborately.

In Derren Brown’s book he talks about making things as specific and as vivid as possible in order to remember them. So with the times table example, make the character as detailed as possible, and have him/her/it holding a number for example, if you want to remember 7 x 7 = 49, then have a gnome, in a skirt, with a grenade in one hand and the numbers 49 in the other hand. You could also put 7 on each of his thigs, and “X” on his skirt. How can you forget that image?!

Adding emotion is a tricky one. If you want your kids to remember something important, you can shout at them! This causes a cortisol release which helps with memory – as it’s often important to remember stressful/dangerous things. You don’t want to do this all the time and cause anxious and traumatised kids/people obviously though!

From personal experience (this wasn’t in the podcast) – The supplements Acetyl-L-Carnitine, citicholine and PQQ vastly improve my focus and alertness.

Use supplements at your own risk however!

There’s also a good Ted Talk about psychic bandwidth – this explains that you should put things to remember like tasks into some type of a system. This then allows you to focus more in the present moment.

A “system” might be a To-Do list next to the calendar at home, that you and your wife use, or a project management tool in work.

I was always shouted at for forgetting things at home, until we started using a To-Do list. It’s hard to filter out the important, actionable information from my wife, from the waffle about work etc!

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Boxing Drills for Beginners .pdf [2022]


Remember to warm up before you start training intensely.

A good warm up might consist of 10 minutes of steady state cardio, shadow boxing for 2 x 3 minute rounds, followed by a number of bodyweight exercises such as squats and press ups.

Boxing Pad Drills

Boxing pads, or mitts, are great for developing hand speed, accuracy and punching mechanics. You can also add in drills to improve footwork, reacts and defence.

To start with, try each drill for 2 x 3 minute rounds.

Slip & Roll Pad Work

  • Jab, Cross *Slip Padman’s jab*, cross, *roll under padman’s hook*, cross, hook

Peak-a-Boo Jabs

Padman and boxer move around at striking/punching distance.

The padman holds up the pad at random intervals.

The boxer must jab the pad as soon as the padman holds it up.

Occasionally, the padman holds up both pads and the boxer immediately throws a jab, cross combination.

Jab Parry & Counter

  • explained from orthodox stance

Padman holds both pads up, as if he is a boxer with a defensive stance

Padman (gently) throws a jab with his left hand

Boxer parries the jab with his right hand & continues the movement of his right hand to throw a right cross to the padman’s right hand/pad.

Repeat 10 times.

Split Jabs

Jab Counter Slip
Slip Your Head to the Outside & Counter with your Own Jab
  • Padman and boxer in orthodox stance
  • Padman throws a jab with left hand
  • Padman places right pad close to his face
  • Boxer parries jab and counters with his or her own jab

Repeat x 10

Bas Rutten Combinations on the Pads

If you are just starting out using boxing pads, it can be easier and more fun, to carry out each combination ten times in a row, and then move onto the next one.

If you are a bit more advanced, you can get the padman to call out combinations in a random order. Instead of doing a set number of repetitions, try 3 minute rounds.

Combinations use alternate hands. For example – Left jab, right cross, left jab – if you stand in orthodox stance with left foot forwards.

  • Jab, cross, hook
  • Double jab, cross
  • Cross, hook, cross
  • Right uppercut, left hook, right uppercut
  • Jab, cross, hook, cross
  • Jab, casting punch
  • Jab to the body, overhand right

If you are training on your own, on the bag or shadow boxing, use the Bas Rutten Boxing Workout.
The Bas Rutten workouts can be confusing if you don’t know what the numbers stand for.

“1” – jab
“2” – Jab, Cross Combination
“3” – Jab, Cross, Hook
“4” – Jab, Cross, Hook, Cross

Jab Counters – Side Steps drill


Boxing Sparring Drills

Dust Drills – Take Turns Throwing Combinations

Arguably works a bit better with Thai Boxing, “dust drills” involve 2 fighters/boxers taking turns to throw combinations

Boxer 1 – Throws a 2, 3 or 4 punch combination
Boxer 2 – Stays in range and blocks and parries each punch

Once boxer 1 has thrown his combination, Boxer 2 throws his combination.

Combinations can be pre-determined, to drill a set defensive technique(s) and counters, or can be thrown at random.

Boxers can thrown feints/dummies before executing their combination.

Boxer Vs Stalker

Boxer 1 has to constantly push forwards, looking to land a jab and body shots only.

Boxer 2 must attempt to keep just out of range and throw jab counters by side-stepping etc.

Boxer 1 is ultimately looking to pin boxer 2 in the corner of the ring.

Boxer 2 is aiming to throw counter shots and control the outside of the ring and the range.

Try this for 3 x 3 minute rounds.

Defender vs Attacker Sparring

Boxer 1 is the defender – he or she is only allowed to parry, block and use head and foot movement to avoid punches

Boxer 2 – very lightly throws punches at boxer 1.

Try this for 3 x 2 minute rounds

Jabs Only Sparring

As you’d expect, jabs only sparring involves 2 boxers sparring, but only with jabs.

You can take this up a level, with jabs only to the head plus any body shots

Body Only Sparring

Sparring, but only with body shots.

Keep your hands high to keep the defence and general stance/guard realistic

Boxing Fitness Drills

Using the pads for a set number of rounds is one of the best ways to build specific fitness for boxing.

Tabata Intervals on the bag or pads are also excellent.

Tabata Intervals consist of 4 minute rounds, divided into 8 x 20 second bouts of 100% effort exercise, interspersed with 10 seconds rest.

You can use an app, or just find a Tabata interval timer on YouTube:

If you are in good shape, then you can try and complete 3 or 4 Tabata Intervals.

If you’re new to boxing, start with 1 or 2 intervals. Take a minute’s rest in between each 4 minute bout.

You can use predetermined combinations e.g.

First 20 seconds – Jab, Cross, Hook, Cross (throw as many punches as possible in 20 seconds)
Second 20 Seconds – Hook, Cross, Hook
Third 20 Seconds – Left hook, right hook, left hook
Fourth 20 Seconds – Jab, Casting Punch

For the final 4 intervals, do the same combination but in the opposite stance.

You can also freestyle the combinations, and throw combinations at random if you prefer.

Solo Boxing Drills

Bob & Weave Drills

Bobbing & Weaving takes some getting used to, but it basically involves walking fowards and squatting down with your hands up.

A great way to practice bobbing & weaving is by using a washing-line.

Walk down the length of the washing line, ducking side to side.

To bob:
– Adopt a boxing stance
– Keep your guard/hands high
– Bend your knees (NOT at the waist)
– Shuffle forwards

There are lots of technical drills you can do on your own as well, including

  • Fade away hooks
  • Retreating crosses
  • Jabs for speed
  • Parry and jab counter
  • Skip steps*

*Skip steps are a highly effective, yet under-utilised technique for bridging distance. Works well when you keep your head off centreline/to the side, so you don’t walk into a jab

Download a boxing training session plan here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kBH2rC2xLZqKpSKc0onYRMyicGzslcL-U-ws25P9WEw/edit#gid=0

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Is MMA Dangerous? (MMA FAQs Answered)


SEO and MMA blog founder Drew Griffiths

Article by Drew Griffiths (BSc, MSc)

Like all contact sports, MMA comes with a relatively high risk of injury. It’s unlikely that you’ll compete in MMA for a year for example, without sustaining some type of injury in training or a fight.

There is some research to suggest that MMA is less dangerous than boxing.

Researchers at the U of A’s Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic reviewed a decade’s worth of data from medical examinations following mixed martial arts and boxing matches and found that MMA fighters face a slightly higher risk of minor injuries. Boxers, however, are more likely to experience serious harm from concussions and other head trauma, loss of consciousness, eye injuries, smashed noses and broken bones.

https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/639963

The best way to reduce the risk of injury, is to find a ‘good’ and ‘sensible’ gym to train at. Gyms that focus on technique, fitness and a good attitude, are much less likely to see injured fighters during training sessions, than gyms which are more ‘gung ho’ with hard sparring, and less strict with fighters general behaviour.

Do you wear wraps under MMA gloves?

When fighting, yes – you should wear hand wraps under MMA gloves. The wrists should also be wrapped. Many fighters damage there hands even when they have a professional wrap their hands, so the damage would likely but much worse if fighters were to wear just gloves, and no wraps.

Does MMA training build muscle?

Whether or not MMA training will build muscle, depends a lot on your baseline or starting level of muscle and how much exercise you are doing. If you are in your 20s and have a completely sedentary job and lifestyle, then doing MMA, particularly grappling, will likely result in your body adapting and building muscle, as well as strength. However, you will begin to level off and plateau relatively quickly in terms of muscle gains if you are not eating adequate calories and protein. If you want to add serious amounts of muscle, you should also look to add some resistance training to your weekly exercise program/programme.

How to become an MMA referee?

There are various ways to become an MMA referee, but a typical route would include:

  • Gaining experience as an MMA fighter
  • Watching MMA on a regular basis
  • Completing an MMA referee course such as Marc Goddard’s
  • Gaining experience as a referee on a voluntary basis at local shows

Are MMA gloves good for punching bags?

MMA gloves, meant for professional fights, are not ideal for hitting a heavy bag as they are only 4oz and don’t provide much protection for the wrist and knuckles – especially without hand wraps. For hitting heavy bags, it’s best to start with gloves that are 12oz and use hand wraps. If you are looking to condition and harden your fists, you may wish to use thinner gloves, but there’s definitely a risk of injury with 4oz MMA gloves.

Can you do MMA with braces?

You can train in MMA with braces, as long as you have a custom fitted mouthguard. You’ll typically also need to speak to your dentist first to make sure that it’s safe.

Do MMA fighters take creatine?

A large percentage of MMA fighters use creatine. Creatine is one of the most effective sports supplements for power and strength, according to research. When fighters are cutting weight however, many stop taking creatine due to the high levels of dehydration. For more information on taking creatine for MMA and BJJ, see our article.

Do MMA fighters train everyday?

Most professional MMA fighters will train 5 or 6 days per week. Some fighters will train twice on some days, with for example wrestling training in the morning and Muay Thai in the evening of the same day. Other days could involve a morning BJJ session and strength & conditioning in the evening or afternoon. There is a very real risk of overtraining and injury when training so frequently. It’s important that pro fighters have coaches and physiologists to monitor levels of blood lactate, inflammation and stress hormones such as cortisol. Resting heart rate and heart rate recovery is also an important metric to monitor to mitigate the risk of overtraining and burnout.

How to become an MMA fighter?

The best way to become an MMA fighter is to build a good base of fitness, power and flexibility. There are many fighters who train for many years, but are limited by poor flexibility and relatively low levels of explosive power and cardiovascular fitness. Find a good local gym, ideally one that acts as a feeder to local and major MMA shows. Train diligently for several years, compete in grappling competitions and then compete in a local MMA event. From there, build up a record and you can enhance your chances of getting on a big show like the UFC. Bear in mind that MMA is poorly paid, unless you’re a top 10 fighter for your weight division in the world.

How do MMA fighters cut weight?

Cutting weight is very dangerous and requires professional supervision. MMA fighters will reduce carbohydrate intake and water-load to make weight.

Principles & factors regarding weight cutting include:

– 1 gram of carbs, stores an additional 3 grams of water, so carbs need to be reduced
– Sodium/salt makes the body retain water (so don’t have any)
– Drinking lots of water, according to Martin Rooney, makes the body trigger hormones, which in turn, cause the body to excrete more water than normal.
So by drinking 2 gallons, and tapering it down to no water at all, the body will lose more water weight.
– Ensure you have a complete rehydration plan for after the weigh-in. This can include cool baths with salts and glycerol.

For more information on weight cutting, please see our full article here.

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What’s the best protein powder for MMA Fighters?


Getting adequate protein is important for recovery, and adaptation to exercise. Adequate protein intake is also important for the general health and function of the body:

Protein powders are not required by everyone, but if you’re an MMA fighter, it’s something to consider using, especially if you are doing lots of resistance training and HIIT.

In theory, a quality protein powder will help you to recover from training sessions – but only if you are deficient in protein to begin with. Some studies also show that consuming protein stops you from craving snacks as much.

The infographic shown below, outlines how much food (in tins of tuna) you’d need to eat, in order to get the optimal amount of protein as an MMA fighter:

Interesting and informative infographic from Kinetica Sports

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein powder is easy to digest and extremely high in protein. It is a by-product of cheese production, so it’s source is basically dairy, similar to casein in that respect.

Whey protein is very high in the BCAA called Leucine which is known to promote protein synthesis – PubMed study here.

A few studies have shown that whey protein, might be more effective at promoting muscle protein synthesis than casein (study here). Disclaimer – I’ve not read the full study; lots of them have blatant conflict of interests and poor designs etc.

There’s also some evidence that whey protein may help reduce inflammation – which is very handy when it comes to MMA recovery.

You can read more about whey protein in my complete guide here.

Whey protein tends to score highest on all the “protein metrics” such as “Biological Value” and “Net Protein Utilization”.

Biological value (BV) is a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the organism’s body. It captures how readily the digested protein can be used in protein synthesis in the cells of the organism”

Quote from Wikipedia

Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein contains all nine essential amino acids.

It’s a great source of protein if you’re on a plant-based diet.

Hemp protein and hemp seeds are basically “nature’s all in one” supplement, with plenty of healthy fats and vitamins and all that jazz.

If you are trying to lose weight for any reason, then hemp protein may not be the best source of protein, as you’ll generally need to consume more to get your optimal amount of protein.

According to some research – lysine is the limiting amino acid in hemp:

“Lysine was the first limiting amino acid in all products”

Quote Source

Amino AcidHemp Protein (%)Whey Protein (%)
Histidine2.71.7
Isoleucine4.56.4
Leucine6.810.6
Lysine3.89.6
Methionine+Cysteine4.64.4
Phenylalanine+Tyrosine85.6
Threonine3.96.7
Valine5.65.9

I can’t find any information on biological value etc of hemp protein powder. Perhaps this reflects the relatively low amount of research surrounding the product compared to whey protein. It could be argued that some whey protein studies however, do pose a “conflict of interest” issue, with some studies funded by dairy consortiums.

One study on rice protein and whey protein – found they had similar results. See the study here. Again, this should be taken with a pinch of salt, “one study means feck all”, as my friend once put it.

Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Scores – PDCAAS
– Casein 1.00
– Egg white 1.00
– Beef 0.92
– Soy protein isolate 1.00
– Chickpeas (canned) 0.71
– Pea flour 0.69
– Kidney beans (canned) 0.68
– Hemp nuts 0.61
– Pinto beans (canned) 0.57
– Rolled oats 0.57
– Lentils (canned) 0.52
– Hemp seed 0.51
– Hemp protein flour 0.48
– Whole wheat 0.40
– Almond 0.23

I was unable to find PDCAAS info about whey protein powder, but looking at hemp nuts and seeds, it should be at least 0.50.

Hemp Protein Vs Whey Protein

The table below looks at some of the pros and cons of hemp and whey protein powders:

CategoryHemp ProteinWhey Protein
TypePlant-BasedAnimal-Based
Made fromHemp PlantComponent of Dairy
Protein %40-50%Conc. – 70%Isolate – 90%+
ColourGreen/BrownCream
Price2lbs hemp protein – £20-£302lbs of whey concentrate £20-£30
Taste“earthy”, nuttyBland if unflavoured
ResearchLess researchLots of research 
OtherContains omega 3 fatsHigh in BCAAs

Keep in mind, that whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate are quite different. Whey isolate is easier to digest and doesn’t give you the horrible “protein farts” that come with concentrate – usually, depends on your lactose tolerance etc.

Casein Protein Powder

standard casein protein is “micellar” – which basically means it forms a clump. This makes it slow to digest when compared to whey. This is why lots of bodybuilders will choose to taken casein before bedtime, to get a slow release of protein over 8 hours whilst they are asleep.

One study compared whey protein and casein protein – the whey protein caused a spike in blood amino acid content, whereas casein resulted in a small initial spike, then are more sustained blood amino acid content – study here.

Casein Hydrolysate is not micellar, or particularly slow to digest, as it is pre-digested and therefore more quickly digested and assimilated.

Casein has all essential amino acids and has other “bioactive compounds” which are beneficial to health (study here).

As casein has a high leucine content – it’s indigestion results in an increase in protein synthesis, which in turn is important for muscle growth and recovery.

In one study casein hydrolysate was more effective at increasing some measures of strength compared to whey protein, and much more effective than a placebo. Study here

“Mean increase in strength for chest, shoulder and legs was 59 +/- 9% for casein and 29 +/- 9% for whey, a significant group difference. This significant difference in body composition and strength is likely due to improved nitrogen retention and overall anticatabolic effects caused by the peptide components of the casein hydrolysate.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10838463/

However, most studies do suggest that whey protein is better for building muscle than casein.

This is thought to be because whey protein contains more branch chain amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine. Studies on whey protein vs casein here, here and here.

“We conclude that ingestion of isolated whey protein supports greater rates of MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) than micellar casein both at rest and after resistance exercise in healthy elderly men. This result is probably related to a greater hyperaminoacidaemia or leucinaemia with whey ingestion.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22289570/

Protein TypeProtein Efficiency RatioBiological ValueNet Protein UtilizationProtein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score
Beef2.980730.92
Black Beans000.75
Casein2.577761.00
Egg3.9100941.00
Milk2.591821.00
Peanuts1.80.52
Soy protein2.274611.00
Wheat gluten0.864670.25
Whey protein3.2104921.00

Conclusion

Your best bet, is to opt for whey protein as an MMA fighter. Whey protein has the most research behind it. Although some argue a lot of the research is funded by dairy consortiums. Even so, there is such a vast amount of research it does seem highly likely that whey protein is a very effective and safe form of protein for MMA fighters looking to recover and adapt to training sessions.

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Yoga Philosophy – Dharnaa, Dhayana and Samadhi


All three words or phrases described here, are taken from/recorded within The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Dharnaa

Dharnaa, is a sankskript word meaning “focus” or “concentration”. It has different translations and different yogis tend to teach the concept slightly differently.

Some say it relates to the focus on what you want to attain, and what you want to be. Dharnaa practice, involves concentrating on the specific subject or matter you want to focus on and become. For example, a guru might give a student a specific mantra to use, that has a specific meaning.

You can also practice Dharnaa by focusing on a single object, like a candle’s flame. You can also focus on the breath, or eyebrow centre.

Dharnaa; the ability to focus, is thought to be a fundamental skill, so you can go on to attain higher levels of focus and personal development along the yogic path (well, most paths). It’s hard to meditate for example, if you are unable to focus. Dharnaa should be the first goal, or practice before any other form of meditation.

Dhyāna 

Dhyāna means contemplation, or sometimes it is used to describe the practice of meditation. It is regarded as an important element of the “self-knowledge process”.

Vivekananda explains Dhyana in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras:

“When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called Dhyana”

Dhyana is also said to be the seventh limb of Astanga Yoga. It is a continuation, or next level up from Dharnaa.

Samadhi

Samadhi, is ultimately the goal of meditation and yoga. Although, “desire is a trap”, so you can’t really yearn or aim for this goal as it will paradoxically impede your development.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes “samprajñata samadhi” / Samadhi with higher knowledge and “asamprajñata samadhi” / “beyond higher knowledge”. There’s a great article on YogaInternational.com here.

Jnaneshvara Bharati describes asamprajñata samadhi below:

“The other kind of samadhi is asamprajñata samadhi, and has no object in which attention is absorbed, where only latent impressions [samskaras] remain; attainment of this state is preceded by the constant practice of allowing all of the gross and subtle fluctuations of mind [vrittis] to recede back back into the field from which they arose.”

Quote taken from ocoy.org

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