11 Short MMA Conditioning Workouts by Chuck Liddell’s Coach John Hackleman

John Hackleman on MMA workouts

John Hackleman is a friend of Grapplearts and a very successful MMA coach.  He runs The Pit Gym and guided Chuck Liddell to UFC Lightweight Champion status and has coached many other MMA fighters. As an MMA trainer he is keenly aware of the importance of conditioning for fighters, but also for 'regular' people training martial arts for self defense. Hackleman is also a very direct … [Read more...]

10 Tips on Running for BJJ

Stephan Kesting Running

I blame Bruce Lee, for it was he who first brought the fact that martial artists should run to my attention. It was in the eighties and I came across a photo of Bruce Lee running down the road in the book Bruce Lee's Fighting Method Vol 2.  The text talked about how important he thought running was, and mentioned that, "Even when he was sent to India to find suitable locations for filming, he … [Read more...]

Bodybuilding, Jiu-Jitsu, and My Quest to Make 240 lbs with Abs…


In my late twenties I went through a phase that most young men go through - I wanted to get big.  Maybe not as big as Dorian Yates and the other professional bodybuilders active at the time, but certainly bigger than most other men in my peer group.  Yes, I admit that there was a certain element of vanity at work,  but I also told myself that it would be good for my jiu-jitsu. The trouble was … [Read more...]

How Bernardo Faria Won Double Gold at the BJJ Mundials


In this in-depth interview I talk with Bernardo Faria, the 99kg BJJ fighter who recently took gold in not only his own weight class but also in the absolute division of the 2015 BJJ Mundials. Some of the highlights of my talk with Bernardo Faria included... His mindset going into big tournaments How he developed and refined his highly individual BJJ gameplan What he's learned training … [Read more...]

The Three Most Important Pull-Up Variations for BJJ (Plus 16 Additional Variations)


There’s a ton of pulling in BJJ. Regardless of whether you’re finishing an X choke, pulling your arm out of an almost-applied armbar, or breaking someone’s posture from guard, it’s all made a lot easier if you have a decent grip and good pulling power Which makes pull-ups one of the most important exercises you can do for your jiu-jitsu. But there are a lot of variations of the pull-up, … [Read more...]

The Combat Challenge Sprint Workout


Here’s a great workout for you: the Combat Challenge Sprint workout. This is the same sprint training protocol used by many of the best competitors in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, a sport that focuses on a viciously difficult obstacle course in which firefighters push themselves to their limits simulating foreground activities.  This worker was a key component of my friend Jamie McGarva's … [Read more...]

What’s the Best Conditioning for BJJ?


I often get asked about the best kind of conditioning for BJJ and MMA. People want to know what’s better: running vs swimming, circuit training vs powerlifting, crossfit vs bodybuilding, sprints vs extended cardio, kettlebells vs dumbbells, bodyweight exercises vs barbells.. Having done quite a bit of strength and conditioning over the last 20 years I actually do have some definite opinions … [Read more...]

Should I Do Extra Conditioning for BJJ?

Stephan Running

To condition or not to condition, that is the question… Whether ’tis smarter for your body to strain under barbells and long distance runs, or ignore all that stuff and just focus on getting more mat time. This is NOT an article about general fitness, or about achieving a goal in another sport. If you want to run a half-marathon for the challenge, the endorphins, or the sense of achievement … [Read more...]

On Starting a Conditioning Program for BJJ & Submission Grappling

Conditioning for Grappling & BJJ

There are lots of reasons to start doing a conditioning program if you're training in BJJ or submission grappling. The most important (yet often overlooked) benefit is to injury proof your body and allow you to train longer, harder, and more often.  Other benefits can include increased strength, improved muscular endurance, elevated aerobic and anaerobic capacities, and more explosiveness, all of … [Read more...]

Home Drilling for BJJ Skill Development

Stephan Teaching a Group

I often get questions from BJJ and submission grappling practitioners about whether they can benefit from doing additional drills at home.  Often the people asking these questions are either extremely time-constrained and can't make it to the class as often as they would like.  Or they are just very serious students of the art and want to improve as fast as humanly possible. My answer is that … [Read more...]