How Much Can Cardio Be Improved?

Discussion in 'Worldwide MMA Discussion' started by MMAProfessional, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. MMAProfessional

    MMAProfessional Golden Belt

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    I know basic science says you can get much better cardio but I can't recall too many if any fighters significantly improving their cardio. Romero is kinda mentioned but he just learned how to reserve his explodes. No one comes to mind when I think of a fighter with a cardio issue who turned around to fix it.
     
  2. 2004 account

    2004 account Longtime fan

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    Many people who haven't ever sparred or fought think that improving your cardio is just about working out more but what they don't know is that it's mental too.


    The other and equally as important aspect to improving cardio is training yourself to mentally remind yourself to breathe properly. Having a correct breathing pattern is so important, as well as making a conscious effort through a stressful fight to maintain that pattern.


    Many only do they gym work and not the mental work.
     
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  3. Hannibal Lector

    Hannibal Lector White Belt

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    Romero is explosive and fast twitch as fuck. Not to mention has a ton of muscle which is the main reason why he has to pace himself. It’s kind of simple the more muscle you have the easier it is to get tired.

    that isn’t to say you can’t have good cardio or even decent cardio though just might not be a volume or cardio guy.

    power punching is more Romero thing. It’s not like he is a Diaz a volume puncher. He picks his shots carefully and makes them count.
     
  4. Guffman

    Guffman Green Belt

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    Cardio is something that absolutely anyone can improve greatly if they put in the work. But it's next to impossible to have large, fast twitch muscles and great cardio. When I see that, I'm thinking EPO. A couple notable examples of that come to mind immediately, but I won't mention them. You probably already know who I'm talking about.
     
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  5. TheFakeMacoy

    TheFakeMacoy Purple Belt

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    A huge amount of "cardio issues" at the highest level are more about people having poor game plans or not pacing themselves. There are examples of fighters coming in out of shape, however.

    I remember BJ Penn significantly improved his energy after training with Marinovitch.
     
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  6. Lmao
     
  7. RODNEY83

    RODNEY83 Purple Belt

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    Bobby Lashley came to mind when I saw the title. He had poor pacing when he quit against Chad Griggs in StrikeForce. But in his very next fight Bobby Lashley went a full 3 Rounds against John Ortiz to win a unanimous decision. Bobby Lashley later went a full 3 Rounds against James Thompson, in a fight that James Thompson repeatedly kneed Bobby Lashley went low blows in every round and twice in round 2 and the referee took no points from James Thompson. Then Bobby Lashley went a full 5 Rounds in a victory over Tony Melton. What changed was Bobby Lashley adjusted his fight pacing, which increased his stamina. As the saying goes, "Fight smarter, not harder". Fight pacing is the key to cardio and/or stamina for MMA fighters.
     
  8. esdoornblad

    esdoornblad How soon is now?

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    It is very difficult to increase your VO2 Max. The common wisdom is that typical increases from serious training are in the 5-15% range. For males already in moderately good condition, increases from 50 to 60 ml/kg/min are possible after 6 months to a year of training. Once you are in good condition (> 60 ml/kg/min range), it is extremely difficult to improve VO2 Max. At this point 5-10% maximal increases over years of training seem to be the limit. Here is another way to say it: if you take a sample of 100 men and train them intensively for, say, 1.5 years, the average VO2 max of the group will stabilize somewhere in the 55-60 range. Very few will ever exceed 75 ml/kg/min no matter how much or how hard they train. This is what is meant by a genetic limit to VO2 Max. Exceeding 75 is a genetic gift.
     
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  9. JohnMandick

    JohnMandick Interim Saku belt

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    Well, the classic example is Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz. Where Frank basically made Tito tap to exhaustion.

    Tito actually put his ego aside and learned the lesson and went on to vastly improve his cardio to the point where it became a weapon.

    Bas Rutten did the same thing. And as you say the mental game was a big part it, which is why Bas has an R on his palm which is dutch for Relax or Breathe or something.

    Lots of examples really.
     
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  10. Guffman

    Guffman Green Belt

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    You're making it sound like a 5-15% VO2 max increase equates to a 5-15% performance increase, but it doesn't work that way. The actual real world performance boost is much higher and involves many other variables. But I would agree that after 1.5 years of intense training, other factors being equal (which they rarely are) a mature athlete will be close to what they are capable of. With MMA athletes, there are so many other demands physically, I would expect that very few are near their true capacity. If cardio is truly their Achilles heal, it can no doubt be improved, but at the cost of strength and other skills. This is where an effective PED regimen can really pay off.
     
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  11. esdoornblad

    esdoornblad How soon is now?

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    I never mentioned anything about "performance increases" -- only a quantitative measure: VO2 Max. Obviously what sort of performance improvement this corresponds to depends on the sport. In XC skiing, the performance increase is probably much greater than the percentage increase, in the sense that the difference between 70 and 80 ml/kg/min is night and day. I also suspect that UFC-level MMA fighters are near their true capacity (at fixed weight). It's no longer 1984. How to optimize this with PEDs is something I don't have any opinion about though. Do tell ...
     
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  12. aerius

    aerius Red Belt

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    In MMA, I'd argue that lactate threshold & buffering would be more important than VO2 max. MMA fighters aren't putting in extended steady state efforts like in cycling time trials or XC skiing, rather, there's a fair number of hard anaerobic efforts (takedown attempts, clinch work, striking flurries) followed by resets where the fighters take a mini-breather & recover before the next exchanges. Yes the raw aerobic capacity matters, but I think the ability to recover from repeated hard efforts is more important. Think of all the times we see a fighter get into one too many clinch exchanges and get totally gassed out, or go to flurry on a hurt opponent and blow his gas tank.

    I come from the cycling world where we call it "burning matches", which is how many full out efforts we can put in before we can't recover and have to limp it in to the finish line. On a course with a bunch of rolling hills for instance, a cyclist with a lower VO2 max but better lactate threshold & buffering can beat someone with a higher VO2 max since he can recover better in between climbs and put in more hard efforts before going into limp home mode.
     
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  13. esdoornblad

    esdoornblad How soon is now?

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    This is very interesting and it makes intuitive sense to me. So in addition to VO2 Max there is the concept of recovery "potential" or recovery "time". Presumably this is what is trained/improved by Tabatas or HIIT (?) Is there any literature on this?
     
  14. aerius

    aerius Red Belt

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    There's a ton of literature on it but unfortunately most of it is behind various pay walls. Some of the key papers & findings are briefly covered in section 2 of this article.
    http://www.tradewindsports.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Laursen-02-Scien-Basis-for-HIIT-Review.pdf

    If you have access to the various journals & publications through work or your local college or university, you can read through all the papers cited in the link above. It's a hell of a rabbit hole to go down though.
     
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  15. esdoornblad

    esdoornblad How soon is now?

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    Thanks -- that looks like a nice article. In fact over the last 10-15 years I have read a great deal about HIIT and Tabata protocols but typically these are framed in terms of comparisons to LISS using different metrics (weight loss, lean mass, etc). I have never read about recovery as a distinct variable aside from VO2 Max. I'll give it a read.
     
  16. vladimirvlad

    vladimirvlad MMA is my life

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    You can improve it a lot if you train properly, it is not much dependant on your birth and genetic potential, while speed is.
     
  17. manboy<3

    manboy<3 don't card me bro

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    one thing that a lot of people are overlooking is selection - in pro sports the talent pool is huge and athletes are selected from a young age - those that do not have the required level of cardio are quickly cast aside. So you get a small number of athletes selected from a huge pool whose cardio is naturally very good

    In MMA the talent pool is small and being able to take a punch and having the desire to get in the cage is what the selection process is all about..so you get athletes who are selected from a small pool and whose cardio is never really selected for or against..

    another thing is weight cutting...

    another thing is that you cannot train cardio for a fight, you can train cardio for playing soccer by playing soccer, for running by running etc but you cannot try cardio for a fight by taking hits, trying to finish the other guy and grappling for you life everyday in the gym..so how do you know which guy has good cardio and which doesn't until they get into a serious high level fight ?

    Sakuraba is an alcoholic and smoker but went over 60 minutes and then fought Igor on the same night in another fight...just lol at people thinking that cardio in mma is a black and white "not trainning cardio enough" type of thing
     
  18. eddi

    eddi Orange Belt

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    Very genetic, its all about you heart dna, maybe some drug cocktail over the years can permanently improve cardio who knows
     
  19. esdoornblad

    esdoornblad How soon is now?

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    <DontBelieve1>
     
  20. RoJo303

    RoJo303 Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    Its all a trade off: if you increase your muscle mass, your heart will have to work harder to oxygenate the blood. Having less muscle mass, like the Diaz bros, means you can oxygenate better but you will lack power. Finding the balance and what works for your style is the best, There's a reason guys like Lombard, Romero, Rumble, and even Conor, have notorious issues with gas. EPO, paired with proper training, is a way around that but we are also relatively limited by the physical. Like Dagas and wrestling, you find most top marathoners grew up running miles upon miles a day, running like 5 miles to school every day from their huts. Sure, the best have a genetic edge on the tier below, but about anyone could run a darn fast marathon if they grew up doing it with nutrition, training and adapting a proper mindset.
     
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