Many mixed martial arts experts doubted Forrest Griffin’s chances at UFC 86, but all agreed that he would not be outworked. In a sport filled with gym rats, no one is more enamored with training than the 29-year-old former cop. He usually puts in three workouts per day during the week. Here’s a look at what the new champion does to prepare for a fight:
Morning: 30 minutes of boxing practice against mitts, 90 minutes of light wrestling/jiu-jitsu moves
Afternoon: Wrestling practice
Evening: Strength and conditioning exercises (see the moves here), plus 30-minute run on the treadmill
Tuesday and Thursday
Morning: 60 minutes of light wrestling/jiu-jitsu moves
Afternoon: Simulates UFC fight with hard sparring
Evening: 60 minutes of plyometric exercises
Morning: 60 minutes of boxing practice
Afternoon: Practices wrestling and jiu-jitsu moves
Evening: Repeat Monday evening’s workout
Morning: Same as Monday morning
Afternoon: “Shark tank” wrestling practice, an hour-long drill in which he’ll wrestle one guy for a minute and see a new guy continually jump in
Evening: Does five “five-minute rounds” on a treadmill at 10 mph with a minute’s rest in between
Morning: Gantlet workout, which includes weighted running drills on steps and dragging a sled
Evening: Simulates UFC fight with hard sparring
Griffin hugs a heavy medicine ball to his chest and performs vertical jumps with it. The move builds tremendous leg power, which the champ needs to score takedowns and throw powerful strikes.
Griffin improves his ground-and-pound strength by mimicking the action with dumbbells. He walks across the gym raising up each dumbbell as if he’s chambering to throw a punch.
Balancing with his legs on a Swiss ball, Griffi n works his core hard. From this position he can do jackknifes, in which he’ll crunch his knees up to his chest, or pushups, making it a full-body exercise.
The Ultimate Fighter builds ultimate core strength with moves like this: crunching with a medicine ball and then throwing the ball to a partner.
In another pushup variation, Griffin performs the move with one hand on a medicine ball to increase shoulder stability—crucial for injury prevention.