Reviewing Randy Couture's latest book Xtreme Training: The Fighter's Ultimate Fitness Manual was pretty intimidating for me, the quintessential non-athlete. Unlike the Couture's previous Victory Belt book Wrestling for Fighting, this one is focused strictly on his training regimen with only cursory attention to technique.
But it was obvious to me that no one was more qualified to write an MMA training and conditioning manual than the modern miracle Randy Couture. Anyone who wins the UFC heavyweight title at age 43 and continues fighting and winning up to the age of 47 has something to teach the rest of us about conditioning. He'll be putting his methods to the test, perhaps for the last time, against Lyoto Machida at UFC 129.
The book, co-authored by Lance Freimuth and Erich Krauss does not disappoint. Weighing in at an information-packed 320 pages with hundreds of sharp color photos, it is the usual class A Victory Belt production.
I found the introductory section particularly informative. Although it's probably information familiar to any jock who actually paid attention in class while earning their kinesiology degree, to me it was a very educational read. The section explains the science behind Couture's training philosophy and has the best explanations I've ever read of concepts like aerobic and anaerobic conditioning (including a discussion of lactic acidosis that would be very informative for Shane Carwin).
The training sections are divided up into a lengthy General Physical Preparation section with subsections on Metabolic Conditioning, Posterior Chain, Upper Body Push, Upper Body Pull, and Core excercises. Part two is a section on Sport-Specific Training divided into a Standing section with drills for Solo Power, Partner Takedown, Partner Striking and a Ground section (Solo Power and Partner Grappling). This section is a perfect complement to Andre Galvao's Drill to Win and its collection of jiu jitsu drills.
The excercises themselves require a minimum of fancy equipment. A few moves call for a grappling dummy but for the most part it's barbells, medicine balls and resistance bands (other than the obligatory sledge hammer and tractor tire) -- basic equipment most athletes can put their hands on.
The final section breaks down Couture's pre-fight training schedule with a 10 week calendar. I have to think this is the kind of information that aspiring fighters and MMA trainers should be memorizing. Couture clearly knows how to prepare himself for a cage fight and anyone looking to do the same should help themselves to his hard-earned experience.
All in all, Xtreme Training: The Fighter's Ultimate Fitness Manual is the strength and conditioning bible aspiring MMA fighters -- and anyone who wants to get into that kind of top notch physical shape -- have been waiting for.