[dropcap]R[/dropcap]emember way back during the heydays of the Pride Fighting Championship, when the organization had the best Middleweight (or the 205 lbs. Light Heavyweight under the current unified MMA Rules) fighters in the world? From 2000 to 2006, Pride FC was at the top of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world, with its classic, exciting fights and spectacular introductions.
Back then, Pride’s middleweight division had the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and many others. Sitting in the corner of the locker room as a dark horse was lanky 6’5 Dutchman Alistair Overeem, who was a talented kickboxer but never got the chance to fight for the title. His run towards the top were halted with knockout losses against Chuck Liddell, Arona, and losing to both Nogueira and Shogun twice.
Nobody doubted Overeem’s talent, but his strength and conditioning inside the Pride ring may have hindered his ability to finish against stronger and more durable opponents, despite being taller than his competition. After his devastating knockout loss to his rematch with Shogun Rua in 2007, Overeem decided to move to Heavyweight.
Bulking up may become a deterrent to your speed and conditioning, as was seen in his loss to Sergei Kharitonov in his first competitive MMA fight back at heavyweight in September of 2007. An epiphany has made Overeem start changing his training methods a month later, and his hard work paid off to win the inaugural Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship against Paul Buentello.
Change is Good
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ince he started his unusual strength and conditioning program for MMA in October of 2007, Overeem has never tasted defeat, and is in contention for the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight belt against current champion Junior Dos Santos. And with his epiphany, he garnered a new nickname: Ubereem.
The artist also known as “The Demolition Man” started out at 220 lbs. when he just started incorporating his unorthodox training in 2007, to 250 lbs. a year later, and now has become a 265-pound human battering ram since his last fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in December of 2011.
His 12-fight unbeaten streak is the result of his perseverance. So how was he able to gain 45 lbs. of muscle, without losing his striking speed and muscular endurance?
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]side from the usual grappling and striking training, Alistair Overeem has added Strongman Training to his MMA strength and conditioning program. You know, the ones you see on TV where huge guys toss beer kegs, flip telephone poles and carry fire trucks for multiple reps. Not the cute barbell lifting you see in the gym. Overeem’s trainers believe that traditional weight training can only make you look more muscular, and not powerful. Plus, gym muscles tend to make you slower and lose your cardiovascular conditioning. Take note, he gained 45 lbs. of muscle, which is quite a feat in today’s athletic world.
Strongman training not only serves as a functional training, but it also emulates grappling movements, with objects heavier than the average heavyweight. If Overeem can handle massive objects almost a ton heavy, how much more for a 260 pound (or less) human being?
To become a strong and powerful fighter like Alistair, we’ll give you a peak at his strength and conditioning program. Since he carries twice or three times his body weight, consult your physician before undertaking on such a rigorous training method. Most of his equipment cannot be found inside your gym, so get ready to ask for things such as tractor tires, anchor ropes and huge concrete slabs.
Here is Alistair Overeem’s Strongman Training:
- Warm-up (500-meter run)
- Tire Flip (300 kg, up to 5 flips)
- Step-up Stair Deadlifts (250 kg, 5 steps)
- Log Overhead Lift (166 kg, up to 5 reps)
- Telephone Pole Push (150 kg, up to 5 flips)
- Keg Toss (100 kg, up to 5 reps)
- Farmer’s Walk (4 x 100 meters, 100 kg each hand)
- Backward Sled Drag (100 meters)
- Atlas Stones (110 kg, up to 5 lifts)
- Cardio Cool-down (2 kilometer run)
If you think this is grueling, remember that this is only a third of Overeem’s training. He still trains hard for Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling, among others. There are no excuses if you want to be as unstoppable as Overeem. You can substitute some of the lifting movements with a regular barbell, the farmer’s walk with dumbbells, and replace the atlas stones with a heavy bag. If that type of training can’t stop you, nothing will.