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Coach’s Choice: Top 6 Exercises for the Pros

One of the perks to being in the fitness industry, and working with great brands like Designer Whey and Sears, is you get to meet some really amazing trainers and athletes.

Every trainer and athlete has their favorite exercises. So, when I met with Mixed Martial Arts trainer, Coach Van Arsdale, to tape his Designer Whey workout, you bet I asked him to share his top exercises and training tips.

I got the inside scoop of his go-to exercises, plus one very surprising tip he had that may shock many fitness enthusiasts and MMA fans. Here’s what I learned!

Coach’s Choice

Coach Van Arsdale shares his top 6 exericses:

#1 Favorite Conditioning Exercises: Sprints on an Incline Treadmill

#2 Favorite Abs Exercise: Sit Ups with a Twist (video demo below with Ryan Jimmo)

#3 Favorite Core Exercise: Barbell Deadlift

#4 Favorite Power Producing Exercise for Quads & Glutes: Single Leg Exercises like Single Leg Squats with Weight Vest, Single Leg Lateral Lunge, Walking Lunges, Hurdle Hop and Hold (over 6-8″ hurdles), 1 Leg Romanian Dead Lift, Single Leg Hip Ups (below).

#5 Favorite Upper Body Strength Exercise: Dips and Slow Tempo Pull Ups (all grips) for  3 seconds up and 5 seconds down, or 8 seconds up and 8 seconds down for more intensity.

#6 Favorite Exercise Overall: Barbell Deadlift

Coach’s Training Schedule

Coach’s athletes train 2 times a day 4 days a week, Monday through Thursday. They train 1 time one day a week on Friday and take the weekends off. Yes, you heard right! Coach strongly discourages his athletes train 6 or 7 days a week. He says the body needs rest and gives his athletes the weekends off to repair and relax.

“I strongly discourage my fighters from training even 6 days a week. Their body needs the weekend to rest.”

Each training session is no more than an hour and fifteen minutes, and includes a variety of MMA drills, conditioning, cross training and strength exercises. Coach said 80% of their training is technical training, which also is a lot of conditioning. He said only 20% of their workouts consists of weights and cross training, but that also depends on how close the fighter is to a fight. The closer a fighter gets to their fight, the less cross training they do and the more technical training they must do to prepare. Of course all training is exhausting and very cardiovascular, as well as works every muscle in their body. MMA training is pretty extreme no matter how you look at it. These are tough guys!

Coach’s Partner Circuit Workout

Here is an example of a 14-exercise circuit workout they do at the end of a workout.

Q&A with Coach

Ted CzechTed Czech ‏@TedCzechfrom Twitter, asks:
“Blackzilians have had some tough breaks in the cage lately — what do they need to do to win?”

Coach Van Arsdale‘s Answer: “Focus is the key to winning at any level. Our coaches, athletes and our entire support staff must contnue to work as a team and we must maitain a positive atmosphere throughout the camp. Winning is associated with success, but to champions, what’s done after a loss can prove more vital to success over time.”

NOTE: There are about 25 members of Team Jaco, home of the Blackzilians. Although they may experience some high-profile losses occasionally, insiders report their team has won approximately 75-80% of all their fights and is going strong.

Bonnie Behind the Scenes: UFC Training

Today’s blog will be short and sweet because I’m about to hit the road and get some killer footage of Head Coach for Team Jaco (Blackzilians, home of Rashad Evans) Coach Van Arsdale train some of his world class athletes.

Anyone who watches UFC, has probably seen coach Van Arsdale in action or on the side lines coaching Rashad Evans. He was on the Ultimate Fighter Season 10 coaching with Team Rashad and has a pretty killer professional record himself as a UFC veteran, Gold Medalist in freestyle wrestling, and inductee in the Iowa’s Hall of Fame of Wrestling.

He’s faced UFC icons like Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz and Wanderlei Silva, just to mention a few. He may look tough, but don’t let that full you – he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve met in the industry and you should see how proud of he is of his family and kids. The guy is just plain good people.

So what am I doing smack in the middle of a bunch of UFC fighters? I’m going to get some inside training tips, as well as shoot a couple of workouts that YOU will be able to tryout yourself! Stay tuned for the exciting details!!

Welp, I better boogie! I’ve gotta get on the road!! I’ll be posting pics on facebook & tweeting for sure! But do me a favor, be sure to like his brand new fan page. The guy has been so busy training world class athletes, he hasn’t had time to get social – but he’s making time now! He’s on twitter , but just joined facebook, so give him some love and Like Coach Van Arsdale’s page for me! Thanks!!!  This is going to be a fun day! 

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Watch Mike in Action, with Rashad Evans, right now on

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