Chris Camacho – Boxing vs MMA Strength

Chris has worked with a variety of combat athletes and in today’s podcast we discuss the differences between preparing for a mma fight vs boxing.  Chris goes into detail about how he differs his approach, cultural differences, mistakes he’s made and more.

Follow Chris on Instagram –> @camacho100

Chris came to California as the Director of D1 Training Santa Clara and a Board Member of Program Development and Design, where he implemented training programs for all 28 D1 facilities nation wide. He’s coached athletes from UFC  Champion Daniel Cormier to tennis great Pete Sampras.


Full Transcription of Our Podcast with Chris Camacho

Corey Beasley [00:00:01]: Hey guys, is Corey Beasley with fight camp conditioning. Today we get to talk to Chris Camacho. Chris, how are you doing?

Chris Camacho [00:00:07]: I’m very pretty good. I’m currently in camp with Teddy Atlas and Alex Bosedoc, if I pronounce it wrong, please forgive me. But we’re currently fighting for the light heavyweight championship. He’s a WBC and we’re fighting, I believe for the IVF I believe, or IVF, none of them. So they’re trying to unify another belt. So this is kind of exciting. I’m in Philadelphia coaching at the camps.

Corey Beasley [00:00:36]: There you go. So I know you hit me up. I wanted to talk about the differences between MMA and boxing strengths. I know there’s a lot of opinions out there. There’s a lot of different methodologies and ideas and whether they’re true or false or whatever maybe, but now that you’ve got your feet wet, you’re training a lot of different boxers, but also I’m ready guys as well. I’m eager to kind of talk to you and walk through some of these things.

Chris Camacho [00:01:05]: Yeah. I’m excited to share some of these things that I know to be currently working with a lots of them know me from DC coach. We kind of spend a lot of time in MMA world and insurance for the over and got to work with coaches like Teddy Atlas Freddie Roach and some of those coaches. Everybody knows the boxing world with some high level coaches and been able to see the difference and the high level camps, championship title fights and seen how one prepare from the other. We can go on talking about energy and strength, but today we’re just going to focus on strength and a little bit of mobility and the difference between those categories.

Corey Beasley [00:01:46]: So I mean from your perspective, you sit in there, you walking in, you getting somebody started in one of these camps are just getting to know these athletes, I guess. What are some of the big things that you notice the differences between the two sports?

Chris Camacho [00:02:03]: Some of the things that I experience, again, these are just things that I’ve experienced firsthand through the camp. So I’ve been there with a part of is in the size of the camps, right? Depending on the size of the camp, it’s going to pretty much dictate how much work you can get done. And an example would be, I’m currently in camp with his boxer and we have Teddy, who is the head coach. He has an assistant. And then there’s me. So this is a three person camp and that’s kind of a majority of all the camps I work over at boxers. And then you go to the MMA side where the camp consist of a striking coach who might be just a boxing coach and then they might have a grappling coach who one might be broke into two coaches once you get to one wrestling and then you might have a strength coach. So there might be six to five coaches on board then there might be the head coach overlooks everything with the MMA. So depending on the size of team you have to pick and choose your battles as far as what strength I’m trying to attack, what methods, what ratios this has pushed can we accomplish in the difference of the demand for the sport. So this things that is the size of the camp would dictate how much time volume of work you can put into to complete the camp. Because it’s about winning games as far as trying to get in rhythm with the camp cause you’re not getting you ready for a bench competition or attract competition is getting ready to fight. So sometimes the other volume all over training, you might oversee your volume and you have to know when to pick and choose your battles with that.

Corey Beasley [00:03:44]: So as you’re getting to know these guys and find the rhythm of the camp and getting coordinated, become coordinated, I guess with all the other coaches involved. I guess just let’s talk about maybe your camp with DC versus maybe the camp you’re in right now and how your mindset as far as just kind of getting things moving and as far as mobility and strength and those types of things that you mentioned.

Chris Camacho [00:04:11]: So the biggest thing is everybody has like a GPP, general physical preparation, everybody’s a little different for MMA, I believe that majority of any may guys have a pretty good foundation of hypertrophy. So their GPP might ready be set there. They’re already have basically hypertrophy. So my program with DC and majority MMA guys that I train is a combination of hypertrophy and power, so the transition from power to endurance, muscular endurance is a little quicker. Where towards the boxer and this is just my experience. The boxer doesn’t have that good of a foundation. So they’re GPP might just be hypertrophy and then slowly transition to power and then slowly transition muscular insurance. I’ll power endurance. Either one of their commercials same at the end, but so I find that you have to get a better foundation for the boxer and the MMA guys because they are training jiu jitsu, they’re doing a lot of body weight strength. So a lot of them have that hypertrophy kind of built in they train program with not even noticing it. So I find that one boxers me a better foundation and two you can transition MMA guy over the power a little quicker because they have a better foundation of strength, if that makes any sense.

Corey Beasley [00:05:47]: So you’re going to get in the guy started your focus is a little bit different. I mean every athlete is going to be different, right?

Chris Camacho [00:05:57]: Yes. And again, some of these guys I might go into and they already maybe very strong naturally. So then we might be able to just to go over and kind of touch it for a couple of weeks and go right into power or power endurance depending on where we are in the camper in this phase I, depending on everybody’s particular, but when you look at some other things some breaking down the difference of let’s say we stay in strength but we go to some anaerobic work, right? I find that boxers kind of to have a tiered anaerobic, a lactic work. So you have an eight to ten second of burst strike those are more like boxing combos where the boxers are putting out combos usually 10 seconds is the most, their combos last and MMA they’re more on the anaerobic lactic side where they’re going to be transferring for more than maybe 20 to 40 seconds of transitioning, like grappling. They might go from a clench to grappling back to a clenching back to standing. So that’s burst maybe longer. So I find that a little bit of different things and those two as well as a lactic boxers have a shorter burst and MMA I have a longer burst. So you kind of have to these are just my opinion on the differences of the two training, right? So you want to focus on a little more a lactic with boxers and you want to focus them on the lactic side of MMA

Corey Beasley [00:07:31]: Now, when it comes to dealing with those spaces, specific energy systems, how are you coordinating or adjusting your volume and intensity through the week in coordination with what they’re doing is their skill training?

Chris Camacho [00:07:48]: Perfect. Good question. That’s the thing got to understand is that majority of MMA work is a lot of endurance, and the majority of a lot of boxing is also endurance on that side too. So you have to be mindful. So if we’re where your knowledge comes in. But I think for a strength coach when you’re dealing with the these fighters and these schedules that they have is understanding one intensity and understanding volume, so maybe if their volume is high and the training phase that day, you may be able to have a higher intensity to balance out the two. And it tends to be is high. You may be able to switch over to a volume side of training and an example would be, if their volume is high and they’re sparring that day, we may go and work power and keep the intensity and do the opposite. The volume is high. So strength session then to have a higher intensity, less volume, and then vice versa, if they were doing, their boxer was working a lot of power shots and it tends was high, well out arrest, I’m going to switch over and have a higher volume day and maybe focus on a little muscle endurance and kind of raise up the volume a little bit more of a steady state.

Corey Beasley [00:09:19]: So as you guys are kind of coordinating and developing a schedule for a week would you mind going through and kind of showing a differences between what may be the DCs week looks like versus the camp that you’re in right now for your boxer?

Chris Camacho [00:09:36]: Yeah, so DC’s difference is his volume of training is, is really extremely high and the majority of MMA training is extremely high. What I mean by that is they average between 10 to maybe 14 workouts a week and that’s a high volume and they compared to a boxer who if you count a morning and run out of the workout, yeah. I mean there may be three under ever four mills it’s a little workout. But that’s more like, I would say like steady state cardio that we don’t really count that as a workout. We’re talking about a workout would be maybe lasting maybe 30 to 35 minutes, 30 minutes to an hour, maybe some more than that. So a boxer may only have may be under 10 workups. So I’m able to have a balance of a balance of higher and higher intensity and volume at the same time. But the boxer where mostly with my MMA guys, since their volume is so high, I keep the intensity to match offset them. So a lot of DC and MMA guys that I trained their strength is a little more intensive. It’s a little more fast, they do more a triceps. So they’re working exposure they’re working in other exposed to movement, the restaurant with another explosive movement. So they’re more of a try that or I think you call it a cluster set, so these make guys do more of a cluster set to where my boxing little have more of rounded program that more balanced program because I have more time to create more attention involvement because they work out to our last on the technical side if that makes any sense.

Corey Beasley [00:11:47]: Well, they’re just doing less work I guess because they have less things to consider I guess. Like you said when they have coaches.

Chris Camacho [00:10:55]: So that I’m able to pick up my area a little more because I have more room to play with on the MMA side. I have no room to play with because of the volume of coaches, that volume of team, the volume of training. So those are the big difference that I find for me is throughout the week is that I have to be spot on everywhere but more geared towards your work ratio for the MMA. And then I have a bigger, more room of warp ratio for the boxing.

Corey Beasley [00:12:28]: Now how many days a week are you working? When you’re working with DC, how many days a week you with them?

Chris Camacho [00:12:35]: Most of my guys, they do two strengths. They do two endurance days and they do one recovery day. What my boxer, we have three strengths. We have a recovery day and we have maybe one endurance day. What a lot of my boxers, we use the sparring as a check. But, but since the rounds are so big, as far as 12 rounds for boxing that they kind of get the endurance in and they kind of get ready through the time because if you don’t any camp, they go from like four rounds, six rounds, eight rounds, 10 rounds, 12 rounds. So they gradually increase. So they’re automatically kind of doing their own endurance program. And then you have the volume of speed bag. You have the volume of punching bag, you have the volume of network. So those volumes are extremely high where the intensity may be low for more of a steady state, so therefore their endurance is pretty much taken care of a lot through their basic road work. So I don’t do a lot of endurance work for my boxers. I do a lot of kind of more power development, a little bit endurance and then a lot of mobility and the mobility is tremendously different compared to the boxer, MMA and that is the boxer use a lot more shoulders, a lot more risk problems and then the traps are overly worked in most sports but mostly in boxing. And then MMA mobility program is a lot more hip orientated where focusing on elbows and trapped pain and lots of, but the lower body and hips and glutes and hamstrings and mobility in the ankle almost factor in a little higher for the MMA side then the boxing side.

Corey Beasley [00:14:42]: Yeah. I imagine the grappling a variety of different attacks that they have to go through or are much more stress on the complete body versus just boxing sharing or using your legs and stuff like that. You’re moving around absolutely. Changing the numbers a little bit, but the shoulders and the upper body take the front of it.

Chris Camacho [00:15:03]: And then also the tap back on the strength side a lot of my MMA guys do a little more lower body development and they have a higher pool to push ratio. And what I mean by that, for every push exercise, there’s two pools, where am I boxing they’re just one to one ratio where as one push up size to one portion size, MMA goes two pools to one push. Because there’s a lot of posts chain, there’s a lot of grappling, there’s a lot of coming off your back, and I incorporate a lot more lower body strength, a lot more posts, change strengths and they’re training more than the boxing and marches and they’re like a rounded, a little other body explosiveness and then MMA little lower body explosiveness, your upper body power.

Corey Beasley [00:16:02]: So I mean have you run in at all and now that you had your feet wet on quite a few different boxing camps, I know that there’s a pretty strong myth of strength work, slowing the boys down. How have you kind of come combated that or discuss that with the coaches you’ve been around, because you’ve been with some pretty high level coaches.

Chris Camacho [00:16:25]: Yeah. And that’s one thing that I’m glad we can touch on because how you end and how you came is how you fight, in simply terms, if you move slow, you’re going to be slow and you’re actually right. If a guy started his program in hypertrophy and in a little bit of power phase, they’re missing the whole complete camp. And this is where I first trained coaches to really to really dig into reading and having as much knowledge as you kind of understanding power and then bridging the gap between the two. One doesn’t see the other, they all mesh together. And what I mean by that is in my strength programs, I have all my guys, the methods go from slow to fast, and on simple terms, they’re working a lot of eccentric in the beginning of camp and towards the end of the camp the load is extremely light where we’re firing the movements, we’re working fast muscles and we’re doing a lot of ballistic throws. We’re taking the strength and the power and transferring that over to power endurance. We’re working on a little bit of muscle synchronization and endurance I would say reactive endurance, reactive power because we want to end with peaking. We want to end with moving fast. We want to start to deload from the heavy lifting, we’ve been doing the 12 reps, the eight reps, and start to get down to four reps as fast you can with good recovery. So there that limits. It could be true if you stay in power and you stay in hypertrophy, that’s the whole camp. I believe that’s a problem. But if you transition correctly towards the last couple of weeks, you should be able to take their power because at the end of the day, you’re in a sport where the movements of striking, kicking and grappling, it’s a repeated movement. So you didn’t have 50 to maybe 200 times where you’re going to repeated movement. So you need to make sure that you make a chance to over to power endurance because otherwise you see these guys, they get big and they give you to the fast because they have no oxygen to pull it out. And you have to make sure you put in the oxygen I trained that muscular endurance

Corey Beasley [00:18:56]: Now with the timeframe or the rounds and the time of each round boxing versus MMA three five minute rounds or five minute rounds or boxing is what three minutes, is that right?

Chris Camacho [00:19:14]:
 Yeah. So if you didn’t know, I mean the volume, you got five times, so you got MMA irregular, those surprise, two minutes, three minutes rest. So you got 18 minutes overall volume title fights for MMA are 25 minutes, five minute rest every 30 minutes total volume of their boxing majority of fights are 12 rounds, 36 minutes, three minutes each. You have a 12 minute restaurant of 48 minute total, so you roughly almost looking at 50, almost a 20 minute difference in the total volume. And understanding that boxing is a little more on the long endurance side. And it can be broken up in a couple of different categories, short, medium and long and MMA kind of stays in that short and medium where boxing kind of goes into that medium long duration of volume.

Corey Beasley [00:20:17]: Now how does that adjust or how does that affect the training that you’re doing on your side of things?

Chris Camacho [00:20:24]: It affects a lot from kind of tying back what I was talking about was how boxing a little more time on the lactic and how the animation is a little time on the lactic as far as burst and repeated efforts. But then they kind of one switches over endurance long and then once it was over to a short, medium endurance. And so what that does for me and it lets me understand that one, MMA is going to have a gas tank with longer bursts. Boxing’s going to have a gas tank will shorter burst and recovery because you have those three minute increments where MMA you have the five increments. So that’s why I feel like the difference is where you need to have shorter verse repeated time for boxing and then may longer bursts repeat time.

Corey Beasley [00:21:38]: So I mean basically what you’re looking at is just that there’s a different pace. There’s a different pace to these different sports and I would imagine, I’ve heard that with like the a hundred and 115 to 125, like the fly weights for example on average and the UFC, they’ll have four births per minute, right? Where the heavyweights might have one to two. So even just the size of the athletes will have a dictate a big difference in their activity level during that period of time. So I mean, I would imagine it’s pretty similar with like boxing?

Chris Camacho [00:22:13]: Yeah, very similar. The one thing that boxing is lacking that I’m really happy that the MMA took over. So the MMA has UFC and they had the performance over there. And those guys have created like analyzing all weight classes, all power, like all grappling, every category when me, and Corey were there, and they give so many case studies of every weight class, everybody index, everything boxing has yet to kind of reach that level of research and science to break down like the weight classes and the burst and then the overall energy work that goes into the app. So hopefully more boxing coaches really dive into learning the science of boxing so we can grow that area. Because right now it’s just a little question Mark on all the weight classes, but the MMA has done a good job over there and what the performance institute of supplying MMA coaches and I made sure I had coaches with a little more information on how to create a better program for MMA and boxing we still, I don’t say we are behind, but we’re lacking information.

Corey Beasley [00:23:29]: Well, I think once somebody gets like you have CPI at a huge advantage is because they get all the data. I had to have all the statistics and they just combine all those statistics and organize it into a spreadsheet or however he did it. And you have data right from the all those fights, which is a big, you can see work, rest trends and things like that through however many fights they have, which is hundreds if not thousands. Somebody will come along and do that for boxing as well. Or they can see the output or punches per minute or punches per round and see that kind of data and then they’ll be able to be a little bit more specific. But I think the biggest thing at least that I’m hearing is that the strength and the demands because of the length in term of the each round, MMA versus boxing, boxing shorter. It’s a three minute round versus a five minute round. The total time is a little bit different, right? But especially, I mean, from a championship to a regular 12 round fight, a little bit of difference, but especially from a three round fight so the total volumes a lot higher in a boxing round, a 12 round fight versus a three round MMA fight. So that the total volume of work has to be much higher, they have to have a bigger work capacity or gas tank, so to speak, to be able to perform for 12 rounds.

Chris Camacho [00:24:56]: Yeah, absolutely. But these are just some of my findings that I’ve been dealing with. This is the information you got and I just want to share with you and just trying to get you in the world anything that I can give at the help coach because I then day, I’m just trying to help fighters, we want to make fighters protect themselves. This is a sport that scar me and our job as coaches is to not over train and get our athletes in a position where they cannot protect themselves. And we want to make sure that that we did all the right things and reaching out to the right people and trying to do as much as reading it and get as much experience as you can to give these spiders the best chance to succeed. So thank you for your time. I appreciate it, Corey, to having me on. I appreciate you guys taking the time to listen and thank you again.

Corey Beasley [00:25:48]: Yeah. I appreciate all your help.