Using Supramaximal Method with UFC Fighter Arnold Allen

I posted about Supramaximal training before and its numerous benefits and how it is the advanced manifestation of the triphasic training method. After posting a few videos on instagram and facebook I have had many questions about what is outwardly a novel looking method. So I thought I would throw together a post briefly going over its application. There also a number of acute physiological changes that supramaximal training forces on the body which is the biggest justification for this method. Physiological and neurological response from supramaximal training is enormous. It kicks tissue remodeling and neural changes into overdrive.

There are a few catches, I had only three weeks with Arnold Allen coming off his UFC London win before travelling back to Canada which explains my main reason for using it, the ‘Compressed Training Effect’. Arnold is immensely strong (checkout his family) and very tolerant of high training stress.  If I could pack what would normally 6-8 weeks training into 3 weeks. and have Arnold walk away stronger as a result it would mean Arnold could focus on power and speed work while at Tristar. The other thing is Arnold’s MMA work taking a bit of a back seat, I would not normally use this method with combat athlete as soft tissue stress is just too high!

The Program

For 1-2 weeks you will perform eccentric squats at 120%-110% of your max on Monday, perform normal 90-97% squats on Wednesday and 110-105% eccentric squats on Friday. Deload for 1 week and perform the same with isometric squats. This is then followed by two concentric weeks at 80/90/72 as per normal triphasic training undulation.

  • Weeks 1-2 Eccentrics @ 110-120%
  • Weeks 3-4 Isometrics @ 110-120%
  • Weeks 5-6 Concentric @ 80%
  • Day 1 2reps with 7 seconds of time under tension.
  • Day 2 Doubles or Triples @ 90%
  • Day 3 1 Rep with 10 second of time under tension.

Arnolds Program – Supra Maximal Hands Assisted Back Squat

  • Week 1-2 Eccentrics @ 110-120%
  • Week 3 Isometrics @ 110-120%
  • Day 1 2 reps with 7 seconds of time under tension. 110-120%
  • Day 2 Work up to 80% measure velocity and use that to determine what weight we do doubles with. The change in velocity (using PUSH band) on this lift being a good way to track improvement over the cycle.
  • Day 3 1 Rep with 10 second of time under tension. 105-115%

Cal Dietz recommends single leg safety bar squats in his program outline. Despite the fact we have done this before. Check out the video below.

Athlete buy in is crucial and Arnold hates doing the split squat variation so we found a compromise that reduced the need for spotters in the hands assisted back squat.

On each rep We assist the lifter out of the hole. After each work set on triphasic days (mon, fri) we followed the squat with french contrast.

Eccentric Supramaximal Squat

Isometrics Supramaximal Squat
Back Squat Doubles

Rest of the Workout
The rest of the training session involved submaximal eccentrics and Isometrics on Day 1 and Day 3. Such as eccentric/isometric Bench, Pull-ups, Rows and Romainian Deadlift all at 65-80% of 1 RM.  Day 2 is an opportunity to go heavy submaximally, so we did heavy rows and board presses for bench, all the while keeping volume low. Because supramaximal training is so punishing the athlete will want to aim for brevity with the rest of the workout.

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