Fighter Training: Progression Sets

Marvin Hagler

No fighter prepares for a 30 second knockout. Just like no one in their right mind expects success in business within 30 days of starting a company, or to find their dream girl within 30 days of deciding that this is what they now want.

Each of those things do happen. But no one with a true desire to succeed in anything prepares for the best possible outcome. No, we prepare for the long haul. We prepare, work, and struggle to do everything in our power to ensure the best possible outcome, knowing that nothing is handed to us.

And so, we train to get stronger as time goes on. We train our body, mind, and spirit to get stronger when it gets down to crunch time. When nothing seems to be going our way we have put the work in to be prepared for the struggle. We train for the championship rounds. We work harder, perform better, and get stronger as the fight goes on.

Progression Sets

Progression sets are exactly what they sound like, they get harder as the workout progresses. Starting off with a superset of the heavier variety (although that’s not what I did in the video below), moving to a giant set, then a quad set, then finally a burnout set. By the end of the workout, there’s simply nothing left. And if there is, it’s left at the heavy bag.

Here’s an example of what I mean (please do try this workout at home).

The structure of the workout

You guys can use this set-up to create your own programs depending on what kind of split you’re using. These days I’m using an upper/lower split with a dominant pull or push day alternating on the upper body days, and a dominant quad or hips day alternating on the lower body days. Here’s the set-up of this workout:

1. Heavy Superset (A1, A2). Even though we’re lifting heavier with this set to start the workout, keep your rest periods relatively short (60-120 seconds). A couple rep counts you can use: 8,6,6,8 or 8,6,4,6,8.

2. Giant Set (B1, B2, B3). The giant set is more of a hypertrophy set keeping our exercises within the 8-12 rep range. Rep ranges you can use: 3×8, 3×10, 3×12. I like keeping them within the 3×8 range. Keep in mind that we’re always lifting to failure, so if you fail at 6 or 7 it’s all good.

3. Quad Set (C1, C2, C3, C4). The quad set can be a mixture of heavier and lighter rep ranges. Try and fit some bodyweight training into this circuit. I like to use my weighted vest a lot in this set with med-ball push-ups, inverted rows and chin-ups.

4. Burnout Set(s). For this set you can choose one exercises, or add in 4 like I did today because I was exceptionally energetic for some reason. The premise is to ‘burn out’ a smaller muscle group – like our biceps, triceps, and deltoids – that can take more punishment from reps than our bigger muscle groups.

In the video I do barbell punches – 3 sets of 30 reps – but today in the gym, with a similar split, I did 2 sets of the following: barbell punches: 30 reps, barbell curls: 25 reps, band triceps presses: 20 reps, rear deltoid band holds: 20 second holds.

Give the workout I use in the video a shot and let me know how it goes. Also, try adding a burnout set at the end of any workout – especially for weak point training. For example if you want to work on your deltoid development, add a light lateral raise set of of 100 reps at the end of the workout. You’ll fail within those 100 reps, but keep the rest periods very limited to 5-10 seconds max.

The key to this workout:

Fight for every rep. Push yourself within each exercise to perform your best. Don’t worry about gassing before the next set, deal with that obstacle when it comes. Have a Legendary workout.

Check out this video for some more Free Muscle Building Tips:

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