Strength and conditioning coach Christian Vila is working with Oli Thompson (former WSM competitor and Britain's strongest man), who faces ex-pro boxer Mark Potter for the UCMMA heavyweight title this weekend.
He gives us the rundown on how he prepares a physical specimen like Thompson for the cage.
YourMMA.tv You no doubt have a diverse range of clients at Combat Ready Training. How different is it for you when Oli walks through the door as opposed to what you might call a ‘regular client’?
Christian Vila: Something all my clients have in common is that they all compete in combat sports or practice a martial art. The difference in working with Oli is that we have longer to plan and prepare for sessions, and can fully work through a rigid periodised training schedule lasting 8-12 weeks at a time. With average fighters, I’m lucky if I have five weeks with them before their bouts as often they take on competitions at late notice. This allows me to push Oli safely to his limits in each of his attributes, say agility, explosive power or endurance. Average clients won’t get this level of attention on each attribute due to the limited time we have.
Furthermore, when Oli walks through the door I know we’re going to kill it…take it to levels most people would not even dare strive for. Oli has a high pain threshold, physically and mentally. The average person does not, and I think this is what separates a top level fighter from others.
YM: What is your ethos when working with an athlete of his calibre?
CV: To provide a professional and bespoke service to each individual, working them hard, to their maximum ability without causing unnecessary damage or stress to their mind or body.
I’m noticing two trends in MMA strength and conditioning now that it has become a popular training form:
Firstly, coaches are beasting their clients, trying to take them to a point of throwing up or collapse. This only trains failure and will result in over-training. Any coach can do this. It’s not clever and won’t build champions.
Secondly, I’m seeing many coaches giving the same programme to all their clients, without taking in to account their goals, weaknesses and athletic abilities. You know who you are!
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