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Training Log: Wrestling With Coach Leister

Boulder High Wrestling Room

The Boulder High Wrestling Room

Every Wednesday at 10AM, it’s time for me to get my wrestle on with coaches Leister Bowling and Reid Delman.  We usually meet at Easton BJJ Boulder, but today we switched it up a bit and hit the wrestling room at Boulder High School, which I believe was kept at a nice and cool 1,200 degrees today.

Leister usually gets us going with an easy and laid-back warmup that consists of front handsprings, walking on your hands, and roundoffs, none of which I can do very gracefully.  After warming up, we usually drill technique for about a half hour, then wrestle live for the rest of practice.  If you’ve never met Leister before, he’s about as competitive as they come, and mean as hell.  If you wanted to cast a prototypical hard-ass wrestling coach for a movie role, Leister would be the man for the job.

The live portion at the end of practice is always particularly grueling.  Coach usually either has us wrestle 10x3min rounds live, or, if he’s feeling mean, he has us do a 15 minute “grind match” — 15 minutes straight of wrestling, in which the goal is to make your opponent/partner mentally break/quit.  Fun stuff.

My wrestling coaches

Me with my wrestling coaches, Leister Bowling (left) and Reid Delman (right)

As mean as they are, coaches Leister and Reid have been extraordinarily generous with their knowlege, and my wrestling has come a long way in the past year or so.  What was once the weakest part of my MMA game is becoming a strength now — don’t be surprised to see me double leg some fool through the mat in one of my upcoming fights.

Training Log: Padwork with Lil’ Hulk

The thing about preparing for an MMA fight is — you can’t neglect any facet of the game.  You simply have to roll, wrestle, spar, and hit the pads on top of your cardio work, or you’re not in shape.  That’s just the way it is.  Every part of the game requires a different set of skills, and a different kind of cardio.  I’m lucky in that I have a plethora of awesome training partners and coaches that are willing to hold the pads for me.

Once, or if I’m lucky, twice a week, I get together with my buddy Luke “Lil’ Hulk” Caudillo to get a couple of rounds of padwork.  Luke has his own room at Forza Fitness in downtown Denver, and the dude is a master pad-holder.  He keeps a really high pace, and after a couple of weeks of working mitts with him, my ass is in shape.

Training Log: The Hill

The Bottom of the Hill

View from the bottom of "The Hill".

Saunas and sled hills.  Those are two things that have been absolutely ruined by my fighting career.  What used to fill me with excitement and anticipation, now fills me with dread.

One of my buddies, Chaun Sims, discovered this particular hill four or five years ago.  He thought it would be a good idea to try to run some hill sprints on it.  You know, for fun.  Since then, it has evolved into one of my least favorite cardio sessions for my fights.

“The Hill” is actually a sledding hill, located at Tantra Park in south Boulder, CO.  During the winter, the trees at the bottom are wrapped in foam pads, and you can find dozens of kids gleefully sledding and/or snowboarding down it.  The Hill brings joy to hundreds of kids each year, and misery to a few adults.

The View from the top of The Hill

View from the top of The Hill

The routine is simple enough.  Sprint to the top, and walk down.  10 times.  With a warmup and cool-down, it only takes about a half hour.  The Hill itself is about 60 yards long, with a pretty brutal pitch.  The worst part is, about halfway up, the grade increases about 10%, so you’re putting out the same amount of effort, but you’re not moving nearly as much.  It doesn’t look that bad, but it’s a bitch, and I hate it with every fiber of my being.  I run The Hill once, maybe twice a week.  When I can crank up and down 10 times without feeling like killing myself, I know I’m in pretty good shape.