By Myatt Murphy
At 22, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones may be talked about as the Next Big Thing in the UFC, but the phenom’s eye-popping abilities aren’t an accident. The 6-foot-3, light heavyweight phenom and former All-American Greco-Roman wrestler has a training regimen as unorthodox as the kicks and strikes for which he’s known. Each exercise is designed to push his muscles to the limit while training them to respond explosively.
Two months prior to any fight -- such as March 21st's headliner bout against Brandon Vera -- Jonesstarts doing strength training and cardio three days a week. “We went by feel and used a lot of explosive exercises to train his muscle fibers to fire faster,” says Kelly Tekin, Jones’ strength and conditioning coach, “We also relied on a lot of heavy compound exercises to keep muscle on his frame.”
Here’s one example of a typical training day for Jones. To see any of these exercises in action, you can go to www.conditionedbykellytekin.com. For a pared-down version of this workout that you can actually do, click here.
1. Hang Clean (5 sets of 5 reps)
2. Barbell Push Press (8 sets of 5 reps: 30 sec. rest between sets)
3. Lying Leg Curl (6 sets of 6 reps)
4. Depth Dumbbell Snatch (4 sets of 4 reps)
5. Ring Twists (3 sets of 4 reps to each side)
6. Clean from Knees w/Jump (3 sets of 10 reps)
7. Medicine ball superset (run the cycle three times for a total of three supersets)
• Medicine Ball Power Up (5 reps)
• Medicine Ball Sprawl and Jump (8 reps)
• Medicine Ball Plyo Push Up (8 reps)
8. One-Leg Straight Leg Walking Dumbbell Deadlifts (3 sets for 25 yards each)
Jones’ stamina is pushed with high-tech training equipment that challenges his muscles in ways usually reserved for fights. For example, Tekin would place a tackling dummy on top of a non-motorized treadmill (called the Tread Sled), then strap Jones into a vest with resistance cords attached to it. “I would push the dummy as hard as possible, as if I was doing a takedown, for 5-10 seconds,” says Jones. “Because I was being pulled backward by the cords, it’s a strenuous exercise that really builds up your explosive strength.”
Another unique tool Tekin used was the VertiMax—a platform with bungee cords attached to it that strap onto Jones’ hands, waist, knees and ankles. Tekin has him strap in, then do knee strikes, kicks and punches for 30-60 seconds at a time, switching stances (from traditional to southpaw) in between rounds. “The extra resistance made it difficult just to keep my hands up, let alone throw a punch,” says Jones, “After being tied into that thing, once I went to knee a guy without being strapped into the machine, it made my strikes that much more powerful in the Octagon.”
Fitness expert Myatt Murphy is the author of the best-selling books, The Body You Want in the Time You Have, Ultimate Dumbbell Guide and co-author of The Men's Health Gym Bible.