Interval Training

Here is a good interval workout for those of you who are searching for workouts....

You are not going to rest between weights, med ball slams and bike or treadmill. You only rest after all 3 are completed.

Notes before we get started:
1RM = your one rep maximum weight
THR = target heart rate work to maintain 85-90% during bike
and treadmill

Warm-up 5 minutes of aerobic activity

Dead Hang power cleans and push press – on last rep perform 4-6 push presses
Set 1 – 70% of 1RM 7 reps
10 Med ball slams
Bike 2 minutes at THR
Rest 90 seconds – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 2 – 80% of 1RM 5 reps
10 Med ball slams
Bike 2 minutes at THR
Rest 90 seconds - do not let HR drop below 110

Set 3 – 90% 1RM 3-5 reps
10 Med ball slams
Bike 2 minutes at thr
Rest 3 minutes

Dead-Hand Power clean with Squat on last rep perform front squat 4-6 reps
Set 1 – 70% of 1RM 7 reps
Bike 1.5 minutes at THR
10 Med ball slams
Rest 90 seconds – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 2 – 80% of 1RM 5 reps
Bike run 1.5 minutes
10 med ball slams
Rest 90 seconds – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 3 – 90% 1RM 3-5 reps
Bike 1.5 minutes
10 med ball slams
Rest 2 minutes – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 1 – 70% of 1RM 10 reps
Bike 1.5 minutes at THR
Rest 2mins – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 2 – 80% of 1RM 5 reps
Bike run 1.5 minutes
Rest 2 mins – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 3 – 90% 1RM 5 reps
Bike 1.5 minutes
Rest 2 minutes – do not let HR drop below 110

Set 4 - 90% 1RM 5 reps
Bike 1.5 minutes
Rest 5 Minutes (hr can drop below 110 here)

High intensity complex
Dumbbell Complex # 1 x 12reps – perform each exercise
Dumbbell Upright Row
Dumbbell High Pull Snatch
Dumbbell Squat Push Press
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Dumbbell High Pull Snatch

Get Ups 20 reps
Treadmill run 2 minutes
Rest 2 minutes
Repeat high intensity complex cycle 3 times

wanted to give you something new to try out the next time you hit the gym.



Looks good Mike.

Why is the first set in each workout the lightest, and the last the heaviest in the first couple workouts? That's the only part i'm curious about.


Good stuff Mike, looks rough.

I see Doug's point, b/c I have seen others who, after a warm up, have their athletes go to the heaviest set, and then use a 10 - 20 % drop off in resistance (on average) to accomodate the fatigue factor.

On the flip side, through my own personal experience, I still prefer the pyramid method on my first movement - I feel stronger as I get in the groove through moderate warm up sets (with low reps, 3 max.)

After that first "main" lift, I am good to go with heaviest set and then use drop off if I feel necessary.

How would you go about modifying this set up Doug?

Looking forward fellas! Enjoy the weekend,


Doug and Z...

Great points you both bring up. Skip for a moment conventional wisdom and look at it from a fighters stand point.

As the fight goes into the later rounds you need to push yourself harder and harder, that is why this program is backwards to that of your conventional pyramid system. Normal programs like Z mentioned start heavy then drop off till the end. This one starts light and works heavy causing you to reach deep each and every set. Just like a fight in which the first round is slow and each fighter is feeling the pace of the fight, then as the fight goes on the speed and power is kicked in.

I am using this with submission fighters and MMA fighters and they love it. 

I guess its like the people who say that complex training (javoreks complexes) are a waste of time. But then after they do them just once they fall in love with them.

Both of you are great coaches and maybe you will give it a try sometime and let me know how you feel afterwards.


Who says complex training is a waste of time?

you would be surprised. I posted a workout on another forum that favors the MMA community and my complex got blasted for being a waste of time. Funny thing was that the people who were blasting had never tried a complex before and didnt know the value of the training.


I actually agree with your approach Mike, and I agree with the other way as well :)

I see the point of using the drop off as the body gets more fatigues allowing one to better exert, but, possibly it's all the years of training (more than possibly, very likely), where my body needs time to warm up or my joints are gonna let me know.

As for circuits, I f**ing love them. I do them a lot, and I like using heavy loads with circuits.

Those who think they are a waste of time very likely received a severe ass whoppin' from them and never went back for more.

In addition, they are time savers for the time crunched athlete, and, they test the mental toughness aspect as well.

There are times for everything, but circuits are critical for fighters.


I didn't make any points, just asked a question ;)

However, since you brought it up, i'm curious about your "harder, later" logic. If what you wrote were true in reference to how your program is designed, then it would be the case that an even better method would be to forgo the 70%, and 80% portions and make them all 90% of 1RM instead (so instead of it being "harder" in the later portions, its always "harder"), but intuitively it isn't necessarily any better at all.

Additionally, i assume by "As the fight goes into the later rounds you need to push yourself harder and harder..." that you don't necessarily mean that your absolute intensity must increase. In fact you may be inclined to say that maintaining a particular pace throughout a fight is a desirable goal, and by "push[ing]...harder" you mean that you must endure keeping a pace in the face of fatigue. In this case, it seems that your point offers little defence for your program design.

Of course you might be including the "sprint at the end of the race" in your concept, but of course would the program accomidate multiple sprints should the first one, two, or more fail? Maybe it does, maybe not.

The point i'm trying to make here, is that when people ask about the methodology behind a program, it is often unwise to try to answer in terms of technical or tactical elements of a sport, since general conditioning is neither, and combat sports are among the most technically diverse of all sports. As you can see, the result turns into a big ol mess.


awesome response, you always clear it up Dougy.

I agree with the fact that combat sports are so unpredictable.

The more I look at it, it seems that our training truly is, in essence, GPP.

Training at 90 % of 1 RM is pretty damn heavy though, but as you said, just an example & possibly no better.

So many methods work for combat, no doubt about it.



Great points you bring up.

Here is a better answer.

The reason that I go backwards with this workout and this workout is the only one i do it with is because it works for me. I enjoy it and so do my athletes. ;)

Short and sweet.

But as always your answers are great...Always feel free to pick apart my programs as getting input from others is how we learn...Right Zach ;)


YES! Great answer. Another good one would be: "Why not?"

"But as always your answers are great"

Thank you good sir. As always your programs are both fun and useful.

"Always feel free to pick apart my programs"

Will do.

Here's a sample of picking apart (or, more appropriately, nit-picking in an annoying way): you and Zach both call the design a "pyramid" but a more suitable term is probably a "ladder" since the wieghts used only change in one direction. :)


but Dougy, a ladder also goes up & down :)


LOL. In excerise science, however, a ladder goes up or down, but not both.



I don't know about you guys, but I'm very skeptical that a person can
doing a true 90% of 1 rep max for 3-5 reps in the 3rd and 4th sets.
Because most of the time, 90% of 1RM will only equal 3-5 reps even
you're fresh. Attempting that weight (if it's truly 90% of 1RM) with a
complex lift like power clean + push press when you're gassed = great
risk of injury IMO.

I understand the reasoning for pushing your endurance, but I think
goals are misleading even in theory, and down right dangerous for
who don't have the sense to stop if they find they can't perform it.

It's the same problem I have with the traditional numbers suggested
for the 20 rep squat program.... 20 reps at what you can do at 10 reps,
add 5-10 pounds next session. If people actually adhered to those
numbers they wouldn't progress beyond 3 sessions. I don't know about
others, but my max 10 rep squat is my max 10 rep squat, not a push it
to 20 rep if you suck it up.

I just find that sort of false numbers as annoying as the macho training
partner who
keeps telling his buddy to push for more only to have the guy injure


you make a great, dead on point. A 90% lift for several sets will be tough to get 3 reps from, I don't see 5 reps coming from a TRUE 90 % lift at all, even on the first set.

And, if someone is doing 3 - 4 sets or more with this type of weight, they are probably experienced in this style of ME training, it's certainly not for the newbee in strength training, or someone not used to heavy strength endurance type training. Doing high sets with heavy percentages will kick someone's ass if they are not ready for it.


I like doing the Javorek complexes if I can't get enough bodies to do a round robin, or if I have some injury of some sort. I like to do heavier loads with more exercises. Seems to get the HR up higher.