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Elicit Strength Gains: A Combat Sports S & C Workout

Tyler Welch
24 January 2010
Elicit Strength Gains: A Combat Sports S & C Workout

Alright, so I know it gets boring to hear me go on and on about esoteric work out stuff. I know I spend more time bitching and moaning, climbing up on my soap box and ranting at you about “the influence of ego on training,” “misplaced priorities” and my general pissy-ness about the fitness industry than giving you want you want.

So I'm going to give you a break this week and give you lazy bastards something you might actually use - a brutal workout. The concept is simple: four exercises, each done for a certain amount of reps and a corresponding volume level to work the body across several training modalities and maximize results. If you’re familiar Crossfit (or similar organization), they’re pretty fond of this style workout.

The idea is that you combine high volume, low repetition work (to elicit strength gains) with medium-to-high repetition work (usually bodyweight movements) to drastically increase intensity, develop work capacity and just generally kick the shit out of you. This structure is not only efficient and more than a little intense, but particularly relevant to combat sports athletes who are, of course, constantly stressing both their aerobic and anaerobic systems.

The workout is as follows:

  • 2 heavy barbell good mornings
  • 6-8 pull-ups
  • 8 foot-up lunges (aka Bulgarian split squats) (reps per leg)
  • 12 push-ups

Form is, of course, most important for all exercises. Use as heavy as weight as possible (or the appropriate progression/regression) for each exercise – again, as difficult as possible without compromising form. Difficulty levels can be adjusted in the midst of the workout, though for most accurate tracking try to stick to the same weight/progression.

I've included photos of the two lesser known/utilized exercises: the good morning and the foot-up lunge, but that doesn't give you a free pass to do crappy push-ups and pull-ups. Get that form right- no matter what progression you choose.

Do each exercise consecutively as fast or as slow as needed, taking as many or as few breaks as possible. If you can breeze through with no problem, make it harder. If it’s easy, you’re not working hard enough. Run through the circuit four times and record your time for each round. Then do it again next week and try to beat your best times and weights. Post 'em here, if you want - I probably won't make fun of you...

Tyler Welch is the Strength & Conditioning Coach at Neutral Ground Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is also the founder of Second Nature Fitness, an active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor, and a whole lot of other stuff that means he paid a bunch of people to teach him things about fitness. Follow him at,, Facebook and

See a list of previous USCS Strength & Conditioning articles here.

Last Modified:
11 November 2010

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