With his insane
stamina and lightning-fast moves, Miguel Angel Torres—the former WEC champ making his UFC debut this weekend at UFC 126—isn’t just one of the best
bantamweight fighters in the world, he’s also one of the most-conditioned athletes in the game.
“I'd seen Miguel go 5, five-minute
rounds without barely opening his mouth, so I was aware of his freakish cardio
capabilities,” says Sharon Wentworth, the self-trained Torres' first-ever conditioning coach. “I realized that if Miguel had a weakness, it was in his strength, not
Here’s just an example of one of Miguel’s many workouts that he puts in
before a fight.
A) WARM-UP (consisting of 8 minutes of jogging, skipping, side shuffling, carioca
and jumping jacks)
B) DYNAMIC WARM-UP (consisting of prisoner squats, forward
lunges, side lunges, back lunges, soldier walks, inch worms and crab walks.)
C) “PREHAB” EXERCISES
- For shoulder retraction and depression:
W’s (2.5 lb plates; 1x12)
- For hip flexibility/strength: walking
lunges with hands behind head (1x6 each side)
- For hip flexibility/strength: slide
- For overall muscle activation: Rings
(partner assisted muscle ups), inverted rows, push-ups, ab rollers, rear
delt flies, biceps curls, dips, skin the cats (1x5 reps of each).
D) STRENGTH TRAINING
“Miguel does each of
these four supersets—doing each pair of exercises back-to-back with no rest in
between,” says Wentworth.
barbell split squats (1
set of 8 reps), immediately followed by box jumps (1 set of 5 reps).
Repeat the drill four times.
- One-arm dumbbell chest press on
stability ball (1 set of 8 reps), immediately followed by plyo push-ups (1
set of 5 reps). Repeat the drill three times.
- Barbell Romanian deadlifts (1 set of 6
reps), immediately followed by lunge jumps (1 set of 4 reps each leg).
Repeat the drill three times.
- Weighted pull-ups (1 set of 6 reps),
immediately followed by rope pulls
standing on a weight (1 set of 15 yards each). Repeat the drill three
- Weight vest planks with crossed
extension (2 sets of 8 reps for each side)
- Low Trunk Rotations with dumbbell
holds (2 sets of 8 reps for each side)
- Rope ball slams: side-side/front-back (2
sets of 8 reps for each extension)
“We usually do a
short cardio workout following his strength training program,” says Wentworth.
One example of a typical high-intensity routine is this spin bike interval:
- Set the resistance on high and pedal as
fast as possible for 15 seconds.
- Take the resistance off and pedal
lightly for 45 seconds.
- Do the cycle 3 times, then rest for two
minutes. Repeat three times.
As hard-core as Miguel's workouts may be, we asked Wentworth
for a routine that anyone could use to improve their strength,
speed and overall reaction time. This workout—a blend of unilateral training (working one limb at a time) and
supersets (two exercises back-to-back with no rest in
between)—will help you develop a better balanced body that’s equally reactive and
resilient under any circumstances.
THE RULES: “Perform this workout 2-3 times a week, increasing the weight of the
1st exercise in each superset as you get stronger,” says Wentworth.
Also, keep the weight or resistance light for the second exercise in each
superset. Once you’ve completed each superset for a total of
three times, rest 30-60 seconds, then move onto the next superset.
A. Unilateral box squats (Pistols) [3 sets of 10 reps]
B. Unilateral box jumps [3 sets of 6 reps]
A. Unilateral dumbbell chest press [3 sets of 10 reps]
B. Unilateral speed punches with tubing [3 sets of 6 reps]
A. Unilateral bridges/hamstring curls on physio ball [3 sets
of 10 reps]
B. Jumping switch lunges [3 sets of 6 reps]
A. Unilateral dumbbell row [3 sets of 10 reps]
B. Standing rope pulls (hand over hand) for speed [3 sets/15
A. Prone abdominal plank [3 sets/1 minute each]
B. Med ball Russian twists [3 sets of 20 reps]
A. Unilateral box squats (Pistols): Stand on one leg with a box or bench directly
behind you. Extend your other leg out in front of your body. To do the move,
lower yourself down as if going to sit on the box, leaning your upper body
slightly forward with your arms extended straight out for balance. Tap your
butt on the bench, then immediately rise back up to the start position.
B. Unilateral box jumps: Stand on one leg facing a 6-8” sturdy
box. Hop up onto the box landing softly
in the middle of the box, then step down. Do all the reps on one leg before
switching to the other leg.
A. Unilateral dumbbell chest press: Lie on a flat bench with both feet flat on
the floor and a dumbbell in one hand extended directly above the shoulder;
opposite hand on the hip. Lower the
dumbbell down to the side of your chest, then press it back up (raising your
entire shoulder blade up off the bench at the top of the move). Do all the reps
with one arm before switching to the opposite arm.
B. Unilateral speed punches with tubing: Attach a double-handed exercise tube behind
you at shoulder height. Position your fists up by the sides of your face, as if
you were boxing. Keeping one fist near your face, quickly punch forward with
the other fist. Perform six punches with one hand as fast as you can, then
repeat with the opposite hand.
A. Unilateral bridges/hamstring curls: Lie on the floor with your left heel on a
medium-sized physio ball and your right leg extended straight up toward the
ceiling. Holding this position, raise your hips up as high as you can, then
curl the ball in toward you using your left foot. Return the ball back to the
start position, then lower yourself back to the floor. ). Do all the reps with
your left foot on the ball, then switch positions and repeat the exercise with
your right foot on the ball, left leg extended to the ceiling.
B. Jumping switch lunges: Stand in a lunge position by stepping
forward with your left foot and leaning forward until your left thigh is almost
parallel to the floor. Your weight
should be distributed equally between your front and back foot. Swing both arms
straight up as you jump up and switch legs in the air, then land in the
opposite lunge position. Alternate back and forth between positions for the
A. Unilateral dumbbell row: Rest your
left knee and left hand on a bench, keeping your right leg straight and
extended slightly behind you. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and let your
arm hang straight down towards the floor. Row the dumbbell straight up along
side of your body to chest level, then lower it back down. Do all the reps with
one arm before switching to the opposite arm.
B. Standing rope pulls: Attach two 45-lb. plates to a sturdy 15-yard
rope. Stand at the end of the rope with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees
slight bent and both hands on the rope, Pull the weights toward you by pulling
it hand-over-hand as fast as you can.
A. Prone abdominal plank: Get into a normal push-up position, then drop
your elbows to the ground so that your hands, forearms, elbows, and toes are
the only things touching the ground. Tuck your pelvis in so that your body is
one straight line from your heels to your head, then hold this position for one
B. Med ball Russian twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and
your feet raised off the ground. Hold a medicine ball with both hands, arms
extended out in front of you and your body at a 45-degree angle off the floor.
Keeping your feet up, rotate from side to side, touching the ball to the floor
alongside of you as fast as you can.