FSB Step 4: Complete Conditioning

The Fight Shape Blueprint

Step 4: Complete Conditioning

Over the past few years, conditioning is the area of fitness where we’ve seen the most hype and exaggeration.

“Get fit in only 4 minutes with this revolutionary workout
machine invented by top Japanese scientists!”


Catchy headline, but misguided and unfortunately, I didn’t make it up.

And it’s not just new gadgets, doo-hickeys and machines that get this marketing-hype treatment, but workouts and “secret” training methods also claim to do MUCH more than is possible.

Intervals and particularly Tabata’s were the best thing since sliced bread when the public first learned about them.

Now, metabolic conditioning (CrossFit, circuit training) is the hot new thing, with the belief that the more intense the workout and the more puke produced, the better.

The thing that ticks me off the most is when workouts are promoted as developing strength, endurance, speed, power and conditioning.

Anytime you see this, don’t walk, RUN.

Because this just shows a severe lack of understanding of how workouts actually affect your body.

While intervals and “metcon” workouts are powerful, the way they’re promoted and the way they’re used must be refined.

We’ll get to this in a sec, but first, an analogy:

It’s like refining your taste for BEER.

No, really, it is.

When I was 16, I had my first 6-pack of Coors Light at a house party…


It was hard to finish them, but I forced myself, but then I felt dizzy and sick…

… and I still had 1 left!

But now, I’ve refined my palate and developed a taste for all sorts of beers, sweet, malty, hoppy, bitter, etc… With my current favourite being strong India Pale Ales from micro breweries.

It’s experience and practice that leads to refinement in anything and that’s what I’ve been able to gain through almost 10 years of training MMA fighters and writing hundreds of programs.

So, like resistance training, the key is to use the right method for your specific goal, since different workouts affect your physiology in a unique way, not just any random interval or “metcon” workout.

Make sense?

OK, then let’s break this down and figure out how to use this knowledge, shall we?

To get in top fight shape, you need both Cyclic
and Acyclic conditioning methods.

The main benefit of CYCLIC conditioning methods occurs on your cardiovascular system: your heart, lungs and blood vessels – the systems that transport blood and oxygen throughout your body.

ACYCLIC conditioning methods are more beneficial for developing your cardiovascular system and sport-specific and functional movement abilities simultaneously: they improve your cardiovascular system, but they’re more reliant on your neuromuscular system than cyclic workouts and are often limited by the muscular system.

Let’s talk Cyclic first…

Cyclic conditioning methods include activities like running, skipping, biking and swimming – any activity that involves repetitive motions.

These can generally be performed in 2 ways:

  1. As a STEADY STATE workout, where you maintain the same pace throughout
  2. As an INTERVAL workout, where you alternate between higher and lower levels of intensity

Both types of cyclic conditioning methods have many subcomponents as well.

Steady state workouts vary based on intensity and duration and how you combine these two variables gives you the physiological adaptation that will occur.

Interval workouts vary based on # of sets, length of work and rest times and intensity of work and rest times and again, how these variables are manipulated determines the result you get.

[Hold tight – I’m going to hook you up with a couple of resources that go into these 2 topics in more depth in a sec]

Now, let’s talk ACYCLIC…

Acyclic conditioning workouts are when you perform a workout like a circuit that involves different movements and exercises strung together that elevate your heart rate.

So, your “metcon” workouts.

Endless combinations can be created that can give you a conditioning effect, but for martial artists, I’ve refined these down based on the energy systems.

CAGE-Cardio-Logo-smallI call it the CAGE Cardio Scientific System of Conditioning and it involves 3 very specific types of circuit workouts to optimally train your body for combat sport:

  1. Aerobic + Lactic
  2. Aerobic + Alactic
  3. NRG System Complexes

Each of these 3 workouts follows a very specific design so as to target particular energy systems and produce a specific effect.

Cycling through these 3 types of workouts provides many benefits including continued progression, reduced risk of overuse injuries and workout efficiency.

These workouts have been tested and proven by UFC fighters to get in peak shape to battle inside the Octagon, as well as busy guys who need short workouts they can do anywhere that keep them fit and lean.

I’ve published many CAGE Cardio workouts on my blog so if you’ve been following me for a while, you probably have a basic understanding of this powerful system.

But I want to go one step further…

I want to make sure you’re able to apply
everything we’ve talked about today
properly, so I’ve got 2 gifts for you…

The 1st gift is the Science of Conditioning for MMA eBook.

This is where you’ll discover 3 of the biggest mistakes martial artists make in their conditioning, the details behind the CAGE Cardio System and get workouts based on each of the 3 different energy system combinations.

The 2nd gift is the Optimal Interval Training Report, which will guide you through 3 specific methods of interval training, showing you exact work:rest ratios and when to use each method.

Grab these two gifts below and take your conditioning to the next level:


<< Go to Step 3

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Complete Conditioning Resources

Free Resources

powerDOJO Members-Only Resources

  • CAGE Cardio LIVE 2 hour workshop (originally delivered to a group of trainers who paid $97 each)
  • New Interval and CAGE Cardio workouts integrated into each Workout of the Month

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5 years ago

CC is wicked! Keep it up!

5 years ago

Great info Eric. When can we sign up?

5 years ago
Reply to  Keith

Coming soon Keith!

5 years ago

When will be able to actually sign up for the power dojo?

5 years ago
Reply to  Jon

Opening it up next week. Keep your eyes on your Inbox as the offer will be a very limited time.

5 years ago

Continued outstanding, methodical, results grounded in the real world.