Podcast Episode #09: Mike Perry

StrongFirst Podcast Episode #09


In this episode of the StrongFirst Podcast, your host Craig Marker talks with Mike Perry, Senior StrongFirst Instructor, about training athletes, from teenagers to elite MMA fighters.

Show Notes:

00:38 – Mike Perry and his wife, Amanda, run a large gym called Skill of Strength outside Boston.

01:30 – He works with 10-12 pro fighters.

03:00 – Mike talks about training short-term vs. long-term planning. Fight camps are generally 8-12 weeks.

05:50 – Mike talks about strength training for fighters. These athletes aren’t powerlifters, they’re fighters. The sweet spot is 2x or 2.5x bodyweight for the deadlift. He likes his fighters to do weighted pull-ups.

07:20 – Recovery is the name of the game and his athletes spend a lot of time on heart rate and recovery.

12:55 – Mike talks about flexibility in training. Early in his career, he would try to design the best training program in the world. He learned to work around injuries and recovery needs.

14:38 – FMS for fighters. A lot of fighters move well, but preventing injuries is important.

15:47 – Mike discusses his emphasis on one-leg movement. With mixed martial artists, the single-leg training is most important.

16:55 – Mike’s MMA fighters have high VO2 max levels and quick recovery.

20:06 – Training does not need to be like competition.

23:45 – Mike talks about training young athletes. Learning long-term athletic movement. It is organized play while teaching the basics of lifting. For middle school athletes, it’s movement variability. Middle schoolers don’t need to be trained like high school athletes. For high school athletes, it’s skipping variations, running, jump training, basic lifts.

27:20 – Mike discusses training the general population.

29:42 – Mike discusses his push-up program based off Pavel’s Fighter pull-up program.

36:15 – Closing advice and coaching tips.

Tweetable Quotes

Resources Mentioned

Way of the Warrior Kid


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Craig Marker
Ph.D., Senior Instructor
Craig Marker, Ph.D., Senior Instructor, CSCS, is a fitness enthusiast who has spent his life trying to help people improve their lives. As a professor, he works with students on how best to understand research and place it into context. He has published over fifty articles, chapters, and textbooks on psychology and research methods.

As a researcher, he understands the cutting edge of strength, sports performance, body composition, and nutrition. As a psychologist, he has focused on research and treatment of anxiety disorders, which positions him to understand motivation and the fear of making life changes.

Craig’s upcoming book, the AntiFragile Self, takes on the topic of building a stronger person in the mental and physical domains.

As a certified StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor, Craig views kettlebells as one tool in the trade of forging a better person. He uses the Functional Movement Screen and multiple corrective movements to make sure his students are performing at their best for the rest of their lives.

Visit his intentional community in Atlanta: Armour Building.

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