For readers who aren’t familiar with you, talk about your career path, and how you ended up where you are today.

My career as a strength and conditioning coach essentially began at the University of Washington when I interned under a great coach named Bill Gillespie back in the late 1990s. Bill was the head strength coach there at the time and although I had been studying lifting and training for many years, Bill gave me an opportunity to get the experience of training high level athletes and build a solid foundation in understanding how to build max strength. As a multiple time world record holder in powerlifting, with a 700+ pound drug-free bench press, it’s safe to say Bill knows as well as anyone how to get an athlete strong and explosive.

During those early days, I also spent a great deal of time traveling and trying to learn from as many different people as I could. I spent a week or two at the late Dr. Mel Siff’s house learning directly from him, traveled to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado to learn the Olympic lifts and attended various conferences all over the world. This background exposed me to a wide variety of methodologies and training philosophies, and I think it really helped shape my current views on the training process as a whole.

I also spent some time with the Seattle Seahawks, working under strength coach Kent Johnston, before I opened my own gym about six years ago. Since then, I’ve trained a wide variety of athletes of all levels from many different sports, but in the last few years I’ve really focused my training around MMA and energy system development in particular.

You’re now regarded as one of the premier physical preparation coaches in the nation for mixed martial arts athletes. How did you get involved with MMA? Who are the fighters on your MMA resume?

I got involved with MMA through my relationship with AMC Pankration and their head coach Matt “The Wizard” Hume. Soon after I opened my gym, I began working with one of their fighters, Ivan Salaverry, for a fight in the UFC.

To be honest, in the beginning I knew very little about the sport and probably didn’t even know what an armbar was. When I first began working with Ivan, my inclination was to just make him stronger because to me he didn’t seem very strong or powerful.

Fortunately, I started doing a little MMA training myself and quickly learned what the sport is really all about and the importance of conditioning. Anyone who has ever trained in MMA comes to learn the difference between strength in the weight room, and the ability to maintain your strength over the course of fight.

I think without actually learning the basics of MMA, it’s a difficult sport to program correctly for. I’d advise anyone training fighters to actually spend some time learning the sport, even if it’s just the basics.

As far as fighters I’ve worked with, most readers will probably be familiar with guys I’ve trained and worked with such as Rich Franklin, Hayato Sakurai, Spencer Fisher, Chris Leben, Jens Pulver, Matt Brown, KJ Noons, Akira Shoji, Maurice Smith, Josh Barnett and Yoon Dong Sik.

When Pride was still around, I served as their strength and conditioning coach, so they’d frequently send guys for Matt to work with and he’d do all their skill work and I’d do all their strength and conditioning. It was unfortunate that Pride wasn’t able to keep things going. I loved their product and went to Japan several times for fights.

Could you expand on your training philosophy?  Also, with that, you and I both have been heavily influenced by Val Nasedkin from Omegawave. Could you expand on your relationship with Val and explain how he has helped to shape your training philosophy as well?

In a nutshell, my training philosophy revolves around increasing the specific energy production potential an athlete is capable of, and then transferring that energy into the skills of an athlete’s particular sport. Along those lines, I evaluate the different energy systems of an athlete to find out where their strengths and weaknesses are, and then I design training programs to eliminate weaknesses and maximize strengths.

Sports performance really comes down to two broad components: technical skill and speed of movement. All things being equal, the difference between a low level amateur and a top pro in any sport is simply the level of technical proficiency of the pro and the speed at which they are able to do things compared to the amateur. When college players are rookies in the NFL, the thing you always hear them commenting on is how much faster the game moves.

In order for an athlete to be able to execute their technical skills faster and with greater power, they have to be able to generate more energy. This is where I believe strength and conditioning should come in, to increase how much energy the athlete is capable of generating and to make sure it can be used correctly in the athlete’s sport.

I think far too many coaches in the field today spend too much time working on little details of training and movement without fundamentally addressing the need to increase energy production. To me, this is like putting the cart before the horse and this strategy fails to recognize what performance is really all about.

As you said, this training philosophy has been heavily influenced by Val from Omegawave and other European coaches and scientists. I first met Val about 8 years ago and he was able to fill in a lot of the gaps I had in my knowledge when it comes to athletic performance, but probably most importantly, his methodology influenced me to study the European approach to training in much greater detail and learn how to apply it with my athletes.

It’s been invaluable over the years to have someone with his knowledge and experience to bounce ideas off of and even though his answers usually end up leaving me with even more questions, it’s been a great learning experience and I think it has given me a very unique insight into the processes of adaptation that most coaches simply don’t have. Over the years, he’s probably had more influence on my training philosophy and system than any other single person.

You own an Omegawave system. Can you explain how you utilize it within your system?

As you know, the Omegawave is a tremendously powerful tool for purposes of assessment and management of an athlete’s training program. Not only does it give me very specific insight into where an athlete’s training needs to be focused, it allows me to objectively gauge adaptation and determine if an athlete is responding well to their training program or not.

What this really does is eliminates a lot of the guesswork that most coaches are forced to deal with in their programming. The Omegawave gives me as a coach the ability to make changes to an athlete’s program, on a daily basis if necessary, to fine tune their adaptive responses and thus ensure their program is individualized and optimized to their specific needs and goals.

It’s hard for me to imagine training athletes, or anyone for that matter, without having the Omegawave to use.

On your website (, you’ve announced you are coming out with a new book. Discuss why you decided to write this book, why the book is different, and when it’s coming out.

I decided to write the book mainly because I think there is so much misinformation out there when it comes to training for MMA. As the sport has grown over the last few years, I think a lot of “fitness experts” and coaches have jumped on the MMA bandwagon and started writing articles and books despite the fact that they’ve never really trained any fighters or done any training whatsoever themselves in the sport.

I think this has led to a lot of fighters training incorrectly for the sport and I wrote the book to help set the record straight. I think what really makes it different is that it’s not just a collection of exercises put together like a lot of books out there, but rather it provides a comprehensive view of training and performance as a whole and the science behind energy system development.

I’ve tried to answer the question of not just which exercises to do for MMA, but rather which methods to use, why you should them, and how they should all be put together in a specific training program. After people read this book I believe they will know more about energy system development than most strength and conditioning coaches out there.

The other unique thing about the book is that I’ve detailed a lot of specific training methods that you just don’t see written in English or used in training in the US. A lot of these methods I’ve learned over the years from Val and other Europeans and they are incredibly effective and my book will be the first, I believe, to outline how they work and when a fighter should be using them.

The book is set to ship in the next 2-3 weeks and people can order the book online right now on my website

You and Matt Hume work very closely together with the preparation of his fighters. Explain your relationship with Matt, and talk about how you two work so well together.

I have to say I owe a great deal of my success as a strength and conditioning coach in the sport of MMA to Matt and I’ve been very fortunate to work with a coach who is truly one of the best, if not the best there is, in the sport of MMA. He’s definitely given me opportunities to work with top level fighters and opened doors for me that I would not have had access to without him.

I also think this close working relationship is a big part of the success of the fighters we’ve worked together with because we’re able to create one solid training program that integrates everything I do in the weight room with everything he does on the skill side of things.

We spend a great deal of time going over training programs and coordinating everything that we do so that our work compliments each other and the end result is that the fighter gets better. I think too many fighters look at their training as two separate programs, strength and conditioning on one hand and MMA training on the other, and this is a mistake. A fighter’s program must be looked at as a whole, not in separate pieces, for the best results.

Since Matt has been in the sport essentially since MMA began as a sport, I’ve also been able to learn a great deal from his experience and knowledge of the game and this has greatly helped me learn the specific needs of MMA. I would advise any strength and conditioning coach to build a strong working relationship with whoever is doing the MMA training for their fighters because this will pay off and result in a much more effective overall training program.

Matt Hume vs. Joel Jamieson. How long does it take until Matt embarrasses you?

Seriously? It would probably take about 10-15 seconds (maybe 20 if I was lucky) for him to take me down, pass my guard, and submit me with whatever he feels like. Fortunately, it doesn’t take him much longer than that to do the same thing to many of the top pros I’ve seen him train with, so I don’t feel too bad.

In 6 years of watching him roll and train with some of the best in the sport, many of whom have held world titles and championships, I have yet to see anyone even pass his guard. Yes, he’s really that good.

The funny thing is that my first experience ever in ground work was when we were in Japan once in the old Pride gym. Brazilian Top Team was there also using the gym and I think they pretty much all watched Matt proceed to roll me up like a pretzel and tap me out from submission after submission – ones that probably don’t even have names – for about 20 minutes straight. It was a humbling experience to say the least.

The floor is yours. Any closing thoughts?

I’d really just encourage any fighter who is serious about improving their performance to take the time to educate themselves on the strength and conditioning side of the equation. A growing trend in MMA is this idea that since MMA looks chaotic and unpredictable that training for it should be the same way.

A lot of fighters out there are doing workouts that are totally at random and are nothing more than different exercises all thrown together with no rhyme or reason. Contrary to what CrossFit type places are selling, performance is not the result of this generalized one size fits all approach, and you absolutely must individualize your training program around your specific strengths, weaknesses, and goals if you want to continually improve as an athlete and a fighter.

Other than that, I’d just like to thank Landon and the guys at Elite for asking me to do this interview and contribute to the site. Anyone interested in learning more about my methods or my book can visit my site