In this series we explore 10 essential training questions with world renowned coaches and athletes. Melchor Menor (aka “Coach Mel”) is a former two-time international Muay Thai champion. He has trained WBC Muay Thai Champions, K-1 fighters, Pride champions, Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu champions, and UFC Hall of Famers. Coach Mel is resident master instructor and head trainer at Art of Eight in San Diego.
What is the ideal length of time for a training camp for MMA?
If a fighter has been consistently in shape 6 weeks is good. If they are out of shape 8 - 10 weeks or longer depending on where they are at.
How many days a week should you spar?
Early on in a training camp fighters should spar lighter 3 times a week. In the middle of a camp intensity should increase for those 3 sparring sessions. The final 2.5 weeks spar once hard and twice light focusing on technique. This is all dependent on the fighter being healthy.
What is the ideal number of rounds to spar in a single workout?
Three to 5 rounds is adequate.
Is it important to spar with 100% power?
Yes and no. You have to feel the intensity of hard impact to understand how you'll react in a fight. But you also need to take care of your training partners. It's a fine line - coaches and training partners need to understand each other.
How many days a week should someone hit pads?
4-5 days a week depending on how the training camp is structured and what the objectives are.
How important is heavy bag training?
Its useful if you're not getting proper pad or mitt training sessions in.
What’s the best way to condition your shins?
Bag work and drill sparring with and without shin pads.
How long before a fight do you stop hard sparring?
The final hard sparring session should be two weeks before the fight. Lighter technical sparring for fine tuning is necessary for the week before fight week.
How important is it for a MMA fighter to spar and hit pads with MMA gloves?
Very important in the final few weeks. The distance is different and you need to get used to the smaller glove size.
What is the most overlooked aspect of striking for MMA?
Understanding distance and footwork. These two skills are related and you need to develop a fundamental understanding of your range and movement otherwise you can't execute your techniques.
Follow Mel @melchormenor