Scoring Martial Arts Workouts for Intensity

By John Hackleman, with Greg Amundson and Shain Howard

In Combatives, MMA

December 03, 2009

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Pitmaster John Hackleman offers ideas on how athletes and trainers can measure the quality and quantity of martial-arts fitness training.

One of the core tenets of CrossFit is intensity as measured by average power. This is a pretty easy concept to evaluate in most of the CrossFit movements. However, in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), coaches face some daunting tasks when it comes to measuring athletes’ workouts.

When I was first introduced to CrossFit at a certification in 2003, I was amazed by the genius of Greg Glassman. He had essentially turned fitness into a sport. By timing how long it took athletes to complete various physical tasks, Coach Glassman was able to quantify and qualify an athlete’s score, which was usually associated with the speed at which the tasks were completed.

My goal after completing the certification was to find a method by which I could measure traditional martial-arts workouts. In this pursuit, Coach Glassman and I collaborated on a program called “CrossPit.” The task at hand was to find a way to qualify and quantify workouts that involved physical modalities such as grappling, free-sparring, kata and heavy-bag work.

While this article was written for martial artists and their training, these approaches give CrossFit trainers and athletes a way to incorporate martial-arts-type workouts into their CrossFit training without abandoning measurable, observable and repeatable results.

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3 Comments on “Scoring Martial Arts Workouts for Intensity”


wrote …

Loved the article and will apply it immediately when I go roll w/the class tonight. John Hackleman and Greg Amundson are legit! Greg, it's been way to long bro!



wrote …

Good article props on Hackleman and the Sin City Crossfit crew!


wrote …

I love the idea of scoring these workouts even if it is somewhat subjective. However, I have a question. John Hackleman gives three different workout types; shadow boxing(kata), heavy bag, and sparring. the heavy bag numbers always seems to be much higher than the other two. Why is this? I believe that sparring is the most demanding and therefore would yield the highest number. Maybe I am reading into it too much and should allow each workout type to stand by itself. Please give me some insight if you have any.

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