How GSP Works Out
A glimpse of what the welterweight champ does in the gym
Jonathan Chaimberg is St-Pierre's strength and conditioning coach, and the owner of Adrenaline Performance Center in Montreal.
MF: What's a typical workout for GSP?
Chaimberg: Usually, he'll come in, and we'll use the foam roller. Then we do an active and dynamic warmup. Then we'll go into plyos, Olympic lifting, and then our strength work is done as quad sets. A push, a pull, a knee and hip dominant movement, and a rotation.
Let's say he does a set of weighted chins and then goes into a core exercise while he's recovering. Then he'll do a single-leg deadlift. It's four exercises back to back. If he's doing a heavy chinup, he wouldn't be able to do another set of heavy chins right away. So what he would do is work non-competing muscles. He can do a single-leg squat, get a quick drink of water, and then he's ready to pull again.
MF: So does he ever just take a full-on rest period and sit down during a workout?
Chaimberg: [Laughs] When it's over. In between blocks, he rests a little more. When he's done with the four sets and then it's time to do the next routine, he'll rest.
MF: What kind of cardio do you have him do?
Chaimberg: We're all about anaerobics. So we'll do sprinting, uphill runs, sled work. I don't want to give away all my secrets, but we do intervals. We're working on making him more explosive. Since he's training boxing, muay thai, wrestling, and jiu jitsu, he's getting a lot of muscular endurance work. So you don't want to go to the gym and train that property first. You want to focus more on power, speed, and strength. He's getting that sport-specific work in his normal training.
Now closer to fights, I'll build in more sport-specific exercises that are built specifically around his opponent . . . Like if it's a good wrestler, and I know it's going to be a high-intensity pace, I'll create more higher-intensity peaks in his five-minute circuit. Obviously, we give him a one-minute rest to make it as sport-specific as possible. I'll put high-intensity moves like burpees that will be mimicked in the fight in there so that his fatigue rises, and then give him a short recovery and do it again. So there's not a lot of active rest. Whereas if he was fighting someone like a Chuck Liddell, there'd be lateral drills, some shadowboxing, more active rest, and then try to explode. This is the circuit work, not to be confused with the quad sets. It's done either at the end of the workout or on a different day after plyos or Olympic lifts.
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