"Finish Him!!"

Combination sprawl“Fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round - remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped!” – James Corbett

This article is going to give you a taste of a “finisher” to round off your workouts – these may be used at the end of skills sessions or pad work. They can be used to glean an extra little conditioning in after your strength work too. This is something I regularly use at Grapplefit Towers ;-)

The idea behind it is to tax the heart and lungs, but also the local muscular endurance system too – that is why, if performed correctly, finishers are a superb way to gain that extra edge over your opposition without eating into your skills or strength work. Everyone’s a winner then!!!

But… (Yes there is a “but”!) Perhaps the most important aspect of any finisher is the mental toughness aspect.

For fighters, it is vital that you have stared fatigue in the face – I’d even go so far as to say you should be good friends, on first-name terms. This should not be a new phenomenon to you on fight night. No one fighter can say they have never felt fatigue. What they should be able to say is that they have experienced it many times over in the gym AND that they have been able to overcome it an achieve extraordinary levels of conditioning.

The fitness industry is plagued by a fear of overtraining but I firmly believe that most trainees in gyms are under training and under eating!! That’s their main issue. Plus some spend too much time on little things, like sculpting/peaking the biceps!! Or worse still, not sticking with a programme for more than two weeks – another cardinal gym sin!!!

I can’t stress the necessity for the use of finishers enough – they not only help you squeeze in a little extra conditioning, but you can gain a whole lot of mental toughness or what some coaches call – “intestinal fortitude”.

If, as Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” – then you should be able to feel safe in the knowledge that you’ve done all you can in your fight camp for the match – I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, the last place you need to be wondering about your fitness is in the ring, cage or on the mat.

Imagine if you will, the scenario: You’ve made your entrance to the cage or ring, you’re waiting for your opponent, his/her music starts, then you see them.

Wow – they look fit and strong. A thick-looking neck, broad shoulders, a dense, deep chest, biceps like melons and forearms like bowling pins, a six-pack (not essential), visible serratus anterior, heavy, powerful looking quads. And to top it off, a mean, lean hungry look!!!

At this point you may start thinking – “Shit!!! I wish I’d done more deads or squats, or I wish I’d sprinted more hills, thrown some heavy stuff around!!”

But you didn’t – instead, you finished your work before anyone else in the gym, quitting after only 2-3 rounds of sparring or drills. You messed around going for long-slow-distance runs when you should have bought my Ebook – Real Fighters Don’t Run ;-) You trained isolation movements, not hitting squats, deadlifts, cleans, farmers walks, tyre flips etc. You chose concentration curls and pec deck over the real valuable training stuff that builds real fighters and real men!!!

Now the above scenario may seem far-fetched, and it is a little exaggerated but only to make a point. And that point is; that in all combat sports, but particularly MMA, the skills possessed by one fighter are not that vastly removed from the next guy. That is to say that if skill is pretty much equal (and it is, due to the fact that every fighter cross trains nowadays) then conditioning is going to win fights.

It’s that simple folks – the fitter you are, the more chance you have of still standing in the latter rounds. Better yet, not only still standing, but swinging, throwing, and landing big hurting bombs!!! Now I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of that!!!!

Let’s get cracking…

Finisher Workouts

1 – “Lanchie’s Choice”

I had to include this one as my evil assisstant Lanchana Green came up with it while at my place studying for her degree. This was also named – “The Pyramid of Hell” but the fighters seemed to know it by Lanchana’s affectionate name!!!

10 Burpees followed by 2 trips plate pushing

8 burpees – 4 trips plate push

6 burpees – 6 trips plate push

4 burpees – 8 trips plate push

2 burpees – 10 trips plate push

Perform this as fast as possible with NO REST!!


The reps on the burpees are easy to replicate, the trips for the plate push are difficult – as it depends on your facility or surroundings. You could sub in bear crawls for instance and you could also use time or distance to measure that part of the workout.