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The Ultimate

Fight Prep Warmup

By Eric Wong, BSc, CSCS


Your MMA Performance Coach

www.EricWongMMA.com

Copyright © 2009 by Eric Wong Training Systems. All rights reserved.

For more training, nutrition, and performance-enhancing strategies (not drugs) for MMA, make sure
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Having helped prepare and corner both experienced and rookie fighters for competition, it’s
very apparent to me that there’s a general lack of knowledge of how to properly warmup
before a competition.

If you’re having your first fight, the pre-fight warmup will be one of the last things on your
mind, as nerves will definitely occupy most of your brain power and energy.

This is perfectly natural. For your first fight, you’re going to be feeling nerves. It’s not
something to worry about, just expect it and you’ll be fine.

“Training is 90% physical and 10% mental. The


actual fight is 10% physical and 90% mental.”

Rich ‘Ace’ Franklin


Former UFC Middleweight Champ

But even after helping guys out who are experienced, I could still see some holes in their
preparation strategy, if they had one at all!

This became most apparent to me after going to a kickboxing event where 6 fighters from
my gym were competing.

Most of the guys were on their first or second fight and had no idea what to do at all.

But even with the most experienced fighter, I could see that he was missing a proper
warmup and could greatly improve his performance by warming up properly.

I want to help you make the most out of your fights, so that’s why I’ve put this together.

Now obviously this isn’t going to replace proper training and getting your body into peak
physical shape.

There’s nothing you can do to substitute for the confidence you get from feeling like you
could fight forever and match up strength-wise against any opponent. This is what you’ll get
from following my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program.

Now if you already have a warmup strategy, then just take some concepts from this and
apply it to your current routine to make it more effective.

But if you’re unsure of what to do, then work through this entire blueprint and stick to it for
each and every fight after that, making minor tweaks as you see necessary.

Even coaches who have many fights themselves and have prepared and cornered fighters
for hundreds of fights could apply a more scientific game plan to their pre-fight routines.

Having a standard pre-fight routine will help calm your nerves and get you into the best
state of mind for your bout.

For more training, nutrition, and performance-enhancing strategies (not drugs) for MMA, make sure
you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
Here’s an overview of what following my blueprint will do for you:

 Get you comfortable, relaxed, and ready to do your best… this is one fight, not
life and death, and all you can ask of yourself is to do your best. Getting comfortable
and relaxed will allow you to do that, being nervous will get in the way, so relax! You’ve
put the training in there, which is the hardest and most grueling part, now have fun.
There will always be another fight.
 Activate EACH and EVERY MUSCLE in your body… This will speed up the
neuromuscular pathway when you need to use the muscle for a specific skill in the fight.
The first time you need to use a muscle is slower than after you’ve used it a few times,
so you don’t want the first time a muscle is activated to be in the heat of battle.
 Lubricate and maximize the mobility of EVERY JOINT in your body… you need
to do specific exercises to maximize joint mobility so your range of motion isn’t limited.
 Increase your core body temperature to an optimal working temperature for
your muscles and nervous system… you need to break a sweat and get your body
temp up and keep it up by the time you get to the ring or cage, but not waste any
energy in the process.
 Groove the specific skills you want to pull off in the fight… Repetition of your
techniques and combinations will prepare your nervous system and help you pull them
off in the fight.
 Engage all 3 energy systems for a brief period… Priming the aerobic, anaerobic
lactic, and anaerobic alactic energy systems will ensure that when you need to tap into
them into a fight they’re ready to go.
 Prime the nervous system for maximal power output… Performing explosive
movements without draining your body will get you ready to explode quickly when you
want to and make it feel easier. It’s like when you lift something really heavy, then lift
something half it’s weight, even if the second thing you lift is heavy, it’ll feel a lot
lighter.
 Get the heart and lungs working near their maximum… Again, you don’t want
the first time to get your heart and lungs working hard to be in the fight, so you do it
before briefly just to experience it and then bring it down quickly and completely so you
don’t waste any energy.

Now, this is not a one-way street, you’ve got to put a bit of work in here, as I don’t know
what your go-to skills are. But I’ll guide you through the process.

Plus, WHEN to start your warmup only you’ll know based on when you’re fighting on the
card, so all you have to do is work through the questionnaire and you’ll have a completely
individualized warmup routine that is guaranteed to help you fight to your potential when it’s
your time to step in to the cage.

When you put this to work for you, please send me an email at mma@ericwong.ca and let
me know how it helped you out and the outcome of your fight. I love to see fight videos too
so if you have one send it over!

To your success!

Eric

For more training, nutrition, and performance-enhancing strategies (not drugs) for MMA, make sure
you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
The Ultimate Fight Prep Warmup Overview

Every fighter feels something different when they fight for the first time regardless of how
well your training camp went, so being familiar with your warmup will help to bring you back
to your comfort zone and get you ready to fight at your potential.

Here’s a general overview of the Ultimate Fight Prep Warmup:

1. Visualization – 5 min
2. General warmup to increase core body temperature and break a sweat – 5 min
3. Mobility exercises to engage all of the muscles in the body and get loose – 5 min
4. Light warming up of various MMA skills and go to moves and combos – 5 min
5. Explosive exercises to prepare the central nervous system – 5 min
6. Specific MMA skills performed at full speed for short bursts with full recovery – 5 min
7. Light shadowboxing and movement to keep loose before entering the cage – 5 min

That’s a total of 30 minutes of actual warming up (visualization doesn’t count). Don’t worry –
you’re not going to be wasting energy by following this warmup as most of it is at a very low
intensity, with short bursts of high output with full recovery between bursts.

Now here’s where I need you to do some work. You’ve got to determine your fight strategy
and/or go-to skills.

You’ll definitely want to know about your opponent before you go in there, so if you can find
info on the internet or videos on YouTube, use everything you can to get a game plan going.

Of course, anything can happen in a fight, but if a BJJ black belt with no striking experience
is fighting against a world champion Muay Thai fighter, you can take a pretty good guess at
what their game plans will be.

On the next page, you’ll find the Ultimate Fight Prep Warmup Worksheet – Part 1.

The strategy section is open for you to list up to 5 specific techniques, combos, and/or
strategies that you think might help you win your upcoming fight, or they could be skills you
just want to work on pulling off.

The more advanced and experienced you are, the more advanced techniques or combos
you’ll want to list here.

If you’re a novice, stick to the basics, things like a 1, 2, roll combo, or a sprawl.

As a novice, the basics will win you the fight. Getting too complex will only confuse you and
you’ll end up just wailing at your opponent.

Once you’ve done this, practice the entire warmup routine. Follow it exactly before hard
sparring sessions to get an idea of how it’ll feel. As always, I’ve done my best to make it
easy for you to learn this routine and I’ve included videos to watch and learn from and
download to an iPod to take with you in case you forget anything.

 CLICK HERE FOR VIDEOS OF THE ULTIMATE FIGHT PREP WARMUP 

For more training, nutrition, and performance-enhancing strategies (not drugs) for MMA, make sure
you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
The Ultimate Fight Prep Warmup Worksheet Part 1
Phase 1 – Visualization (5 min)

Phase 2 – General Warmup (4 min + 1 min rest)

For Phase 2, I recommend you skip for 4 minutes and start at an easy pace at, then get
faster (and do double’s if you can) to break a sweat and get you breathing a bit heavy.
Rest 1 minute then move on to Phase 3.

Phase 3 – Mobility Exercises (4 min + 1 min rest)

Upper Body Mobility Exercises Lower Body Mobility Exercises


1. Arm circles x 20 in each direction 1. 1-leg hip extensions x 10 per leg
2. Wall slides x 10 2. Front to back leg swings x 10 per leg
3. McKenzies x 5 3. Side-to-side leg swings x 10 per leg
4. Upper body twist x 5 per 4. Reverse lunge + reach x 10 per leg
5. Full range pushups x 10 5. Squat-to-stand x 5

Phase 4 – Light Warmup of Specific MMA Techniques (4 min + 1 min rest)

Write down up to 5 specific MMA techniques you want to use during the fight and work
them for 4 minutes very lightly, trying to stay as loose as possible.

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Phase 5 – Power Exercises as Explosive and Fast as Possible (4 intervals)

1. Tuck jumps x 8 – rest 1 min


2. Shuffle splits x 30 – rest 1 min
3. Clap pushups x 6 – rest 1 min
4. Lunge jumps x 8 total – rest 1 min

Phase 6 – Specific MMA Techniques Performed at Full Power (Up to 5 intervals)

Perform each technique you listed in Phase 4 for 4-5 sets of 10 sec at full speed or use
basic striking combos on the pads, sprawls, and takedowns. Rest 1 min after each interval.

Phase 7 – Stay Loose and Warm with Light Shadowboxing Until the Fight

Ideally, this won’t be more than 5 minutes if you timed everything right.

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Visualization for the Ultimate Mindset

I am by no means a master at visualization, although I do practice it.

The goal of visualization is to prime your brain for what you want to achieve and get you
into a relaxed state of mind.

With this goal in mind, I’ve created this little routine for you.

You can use it as is or modify it to suit your needs.

With any visualization, the key is to make it as vivid and real as possible, engaging all of
your senses – what you see, what you hear, the smells, what your body feels like.

Amplify everything – make colours as vivid as possible, sounds loud, smells strong, etc, for
the most powerful effect.

Some of these things I’ve learned from Brian Cain, a sports psychologist who has worked
with guys like Georges St-Pierre, Rich Franklin, Keith Jardine, and many more top fighters.

There’s a Deluxe Package of my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program which
includes a 74 minute audio interview I did with Brian where he reveals all of his secrets to
developing a world-class mindset for success.

(For more info and a clip from the interview, visit: Ultimate MMA S&C Deluxe Package)

If you want, you can use this sample visualization routine that I’ve created for you::

1. Lie down on your back and take 10 deep belly breaths at a count of 4 seconds in, 4
seconds out, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
2. Picture yourself going through the entire warmup so your body is optimally prepared
for the fight.
3. See yourself walking to the cage feeling ready and supremely confident.
4. Hear the announcer saying your name and the crowd cheering.
5. See yourself stepping into the cage knowing that you are going to do your best.
6. Hear the bell ring and spend a minute seeing in your mind’s eye how you want the
fight to go.
7. Picture standing in the middle of the cage and hear the announcer announcing your
name as the winner and feel how good it feels to have your arm raised and hear the
crowd cheer.
8. Take 2 deep belly breaths, then open your eyes and get ready to fight to your full
potential. You’re ready.

Spend 30 sec to a minute on each ‘scene’. You’re basically watching a movie of how you
want the fight to go, how you want to feel leading up to, during, and after the fight, and the
outcome.

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you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
When To Start the Warmup

The warmup routine will take about 30 minutes and you don’t want to sit around and cool
off after you’re finished the routine, and you don’t want to have to skip half of the routine
either.

So figuring out exactly when to start your warmup is the first step, and it’s a crucial one.

A BJJ tournament that I entered had 50+ competitors in my division, and I had no idea
when I was to fight.

I’d already been waiting 3+ hours and it was in the middle of a pee break that my name got
called and when I got back from the ‘loo, my friends rushed to me and were like, “Wong,
you’re up!”

Trust me, this is NOT the way you want to step into a fight! Luckily I won… But still…

So anyway, here’s the process you must go through to figure out when to start your
warmup.

Do this the night before your fight, but then adjust it the day of as you see how the fights
before you progress and how long the exit and entrance times take.

STEP 1 – Print the Ultimate Fight Prep Warmup Worksheet – Part 2

Print this worksheet off and take it with you to the fight. It’ll help tell you when to start your
warmup for optimal results.

Let’s assume you’re fighting 5th on the card.

*Write this in on the POSITION spot on the worksheet.

This way, you’ll get an idea of how this whole thing works and you can ask any questions
about it if you’re confused.

STEP 2 – Time How Long Entrances and Exits Take

This is the key to the whole thing. If entrances and exits take a total of 10 minutes versus 20
minutes, this will determine when you’re going to fight.

So just time how long it takes after the first fight ends to when the next fight starts, and
you’ve got a good idea of how long each one will take after that.

For the purposes of this example, let’s assume that entrance/exit times take 10 minutes
total.

*Write this in the ENTRANCE/EXIT spot on the worksheet.

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STEP 3 – Estimate When To Start Your Warmup

Remember, you need 35 minutes for your full warmup, including visualization.

So let’s assume that all the fights on the card end after the first round. That’s about 5
minutes for the fight, plus 10 minutes for exit/entrance time, giving you 15 minutes per
fight.

So if you’re fighting 5th on the card, you’d want to start your warmup when the 2nd fight
ends.

But if the entrance/exit times are longer, like 20 minutes, that means that each fight lasts 25
minutes.

So you’ll start your warmup when the 3rd fight ends for optimal timing.

Can you see the importance of Step 2 now?

But that’s not all you’ve gotta do…

STEP 4 –Find Out if There are Any Changes to the Schedule

The level of organization of a competition varies, but assume that wherever you’re fighting,
things are going to change the day of.

This is where you’ve simply got to get in touch with the organizer or someone in charge the
day you get there and ask him if there are any schedule changes because of guys dropping
out or any other reason, or if there are any intermissions scheduled during the fights.

Then, you can take into account the changes and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Knowing if there is an intermission is a great help because they are usually a set time, so if
you’re fighting after an intermission, you know exactly how much time you’ll have.

*So just remember to talk to someone in charge the day of the fight, then write down any
relevant info you get from them on your worksheet into the NOTES section.

STEP 5 – Make Sure You Have All Your Gear, Food, Music, etc.

The last step is to make sure you have everything you need to feel comfortable, so you don’t
say to yourself, “Shit, I forgot _____ !”

So work through the checklist on the worksheet and make sure you pack everything that you
need for the fight.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to what to eat the day of the fight.

This differs, depending on the weight cutting strategy you used.

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If you followed my No-Sweat Weight Cutting Guide, you’ll know exactly what to eat/drink the
day of to put all the weight back on before your fight and ensure you have more than
enough energy to get through the battle.

If you didn’t follow my weight cutting guide, then here are some suggestions of foods to
bring:

 Bring lots of water


 Bring food that you know you digest well and enjoy
 Avoid foods that have too much fibre, like celery
 Avoid simple sugars/candy
 Stick to light proteins
 Don’t eat anything too greasy

Some simple things like peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, granola bars with
extra nuts, and apples and nuts are good snacks leading into the fight.

You definitely don’t want to eat anything within 1 hour of fighting, probably closer to 2
hours, as nerves will make food hard to digest and it could just sit in your stomach.

But you don’t want to be hungry, so just eat little bits at a time slowly, so you can squelch
your hunger but not get food sticking around.

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you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
Fight Day Prep Worksheet

Step 1

Date of Fight _______________

Fight Position ______________ = ________ fights before mine

Step 2 – Entrance and Exit Time (E/E)

Right when the 1st fight ends, start your timer.

Stop it when the bell rings to start the 2nd fight. Write it down:

Entrance/Exit Time _____________

Step 3 – Estimate Warmup Start Time

Knowing the Entrance/Exit time, and knowing you need 35 minutes to complete the full
warmup.

Here’s the range of when you could start:

1) Assuming fights end after the 1st round: 5 + ____ = ____


(E/E)

2) Assuming fights go the distance (3 rounds): 15 + ____ = ____


(E/E)

As an example, let’s assume you’re fighting 5th on the card, meaning there are 4 fights
before yours.

If E/E time is 10 minutes, that’s 15 minutes for #1, and 25 minutes for #2.

So you would start your warmup either in the middle of the 2nd fight, or when the 3rd fight
ends.

So the best bet would be to start when the 3rd fight starts to give yourself the best chance of
completing an optimal warmup.

Step 4 – Additional Notes

Find the organizer to see if there are any intermissions, lineup changes, injuries, etc that
could change your position and jot any notes in here.

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you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
Step 5 – Checklist

Complete this checklist the night before to make sure you check that everything is in your
bag or car and you have everything you want to bring.

Suggestions include gloves, cup, mouth guard, shorts, shirt, wraps, ice, tape, creams, water,
MP3 player, warmup clothes, pads, food, and more.

For more training, nutrition, and performance-enhancing strategies (not drugs) for MMA, make sure
you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.
Conclusion

I hope you’ve enjoyed this and it can help you to keep your head on fight day and help you
perform at your best without any stupid things getting in the way. Especially if you’re going
to have your first fight, the warmup will be the last thing on your mind, as will all the things
you’ll need to bring.

Also feel free to email this document to teammates or other fighters you know of that might
benefit from having a solid warmup blueprint to follow.

I love to hear about your experiences, so email me at mma@ericwong.ca if this helped you
and send a video of your fight if you can.

Now I mentioned a couple of things earlier, but I do feel it’s worth mentioning again.

I know that my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program will give you the fitness
you need to feel 100% confident that no matter who you’re fighting or what happens in the
cage, you’ll be able to go the distance and put up a good fight.

The best things I hear come from fighters who have used my ideas or programs to help
them win fights.

Brian Moretz from the Ravage MMA team emailed me this after his 2nd MMA fight:

“I won my fight by decision! If it wasn't for you program, I


would not have had the energy to pour it on in the second and
third rounds to win the fight. The video is too large to send
over email. Sorry. I was suppose to lose this fight. The guy
was a state wrestling champion and competed in amateur boxing,
tough kid. He came in the first round trying to take my head
off and took me down. I worked from the bottom and made him
tire himself out. Thanks to your program, I poured it on in the
second, got on top, and beat him up. The third round I
took him down and beat on him the whole round. Thank you alot,
your program helped me make it through a tough fight and gave
me the endurance to come out on top. THANKS.

Brian Moretz”

Strength and conditioning is another tool, just like boxing or jiu-jitsu, so if you’re up against
a more skilled opponent, if you’re in better shape, you still have a chance to win.

To learn more about the program, visit http://www.UltimateMMAStrength.com.

Until next time, keep training smart,

Eric Wong, BSc, CSCS


Your MMA Performance Coach
For more training, nutrition, and performance-enhancing strategies (not drugs) for MMA, make sure
you signup for my newsletter, which you can do at www.EricWongMMA.com.