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Stylebender Strategies: How To Train Like Israel Adesanya | Speak MMA


Footwork and leg strength is important to boxers, but kickboxers like Izzy need to take extra time to keep their legs toned. During his long runs, he will do uphill sprints, followed by downhill jogging, and all the while maintaining steady breathing and a calm mind– a technique that keeps him level-headed during fights. So, if you’ve thought that extended sessions at the punching bag, or doing footwork is enough to get your heart ready for the ring, it might be time to take it outside, or onto the treadmill.Famously, Khamzat Chimaev criticised the Stylebender’s lack of wrestling: “he has zero wrestling”. But even a pro wrestler will have a devilish time getting grips on The Black Dragon, not just because of his defensive footwork, but because of his counters and training. Besides Izzy’s trainers going for double leg takedowns during focus pad training, Izzy will call together a group of trainers to practise repeated takedowns. When one falls, another steps in for Izzy to grapple with. It is an exhausting training technique, but there’s no doubt that the burning he felt in his abs and stabiliser muscles has paid off in the ring.

  1. Sparring
  2. Shadowboxing
  3. Takedown & Grappling
  4. Running
  5. Workout
  6. Diet

1. Boxing & Sparring

Shadow boxing is just boxing practice done without any equipment– no punching bag, and no weights. It would seem to be an inefficient or even ineffective way to train, but the truth is that Adesanya loves it. He has said that “shadow boxing is like a part of me”, but why? Well, training and maintaining form and coordination tasks take special time and effort, and since shadow boxing can be done anywhere, these can be worked on even while pumping gas– which is something that Adesanya has been seen doing. But besides working shadow boxing into daily life, Izzy also keeps shadow boxing as part of his main routine. After all, it tones muscles by burning fat, increases endurance, and is always a fun, freeform way to begin a workout.

2. Shadow Boxing

In the morning, a meal of overnight oats are followed by a full breakfast of protein pancakes, eggs, and bacon. After this are three meals of chicken and rice (thankfully, they’re different flavours: Teriyaki, honey BBQ, and sweet chilli). And before a fight? More rice, or at least rice cakes, with nutella, banana and honey. The idea with this is that the carbs and sugars bring the energy without filling the stomach. 

3. Takedowns & Grappling

Izzy warms up before each sparring match with bag work– punching and kicking a heavy boxing bag to exhaustion. After this, Izzy will train his hand and foot speed and accuracy with his trainer and focus mitts. Rather than simply sparring boxing style or kickboxing style, he’ll use both– as he would in a match. Jabs, straights, kicks, and Izzy’s trainer will even attempt to grapple him. And if all that wasn’t enough, Izzy joins training camps to spar with other fighters as he would fight in the ring– with the exception of added head guards.

4. Running

But that doesn’t mean it’s something you should throw yourself into immediately. His high intensity routine is a full time job, with even eating taking up a chunk of his day, so knowing to pace yourself, to ramp up your training, and to diet responsibly is a key step that we haven’t mentioned here, and a key step towards that UFC belt too.

5. Gym Workouts

So, now that you know how The Last Stylebender trains, you can begin your journey to be the next Stylebender. It’ll mean long hours at the punching bag, running up that hill, and eating overnight oats, but you can’t argue with the results. 

6. Dieting

Here are our Stylebender Strategies, and How To Train Like Israel Adesanya: Including kettlebell high pulls, dumbbell chest presses, and heavy rope exercises, the Stylebender’s gym workouts often focuses on free movement and use of stabiliser muscles. With this in mind, he has separate training routines for agility, speed, back, shoulders, legs, arms, and explosives– his jumping routine that includes plate jumps, frog squat jumps, and longbox jumps. And besides all that he makes time for recovery, with rest days and hot tub sessions after training. Five meals a day, and a pre-fight snack. That’s what Israel Adesanya eats every day after the weigh-in, and you might be surprised by how much sugar, carbs, and fat are on the menu (besides the protein).Israel Adesanya– or Izzy to his fans– is exciting to watch because he’s unpredictable. He knocks opponents down with a tornado kick. When they get up, he feints with his hips, and strikes with an elbow. Boxer, kickboxer, high-pressure offence, and great counter-fighting– it’s not just for his great tattoos, and custom boxing shorts that Adesanya has crowned himself The Last Stylebender. But to keep up his varied MMA skills, he keeps his training regime no less varied. Running, sparring, weights, and takedowns keep Israel Adesanya at the top of his game. So, to become a Stylebender like Izzy, you might need to add a couple new exercises to your routine.

Stylebender Strategies: How To Train Like Israel Adesanya | Speak MMA

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