Interviews

UFC’s Luke Rockhold Looks to Regain the Middleweight Title

Learn how to train like the former UFC champ with his tips and his workout.

UFC’s Luke Rockhold looks to regain the middleweight title.

Rockhold’s Snapshot

  • From: Santa Cruz, CA
  • Age: 32
  • Record: 15-3-0
  • Height: 6'3"
  • Weight: 185 lbs

UFC Brawler 

Luke Rockhold is hell-bent on reclaiming the middleweight title he lost at UFC 199. To do so, he’s been upping his game both in the gym and at the Octagon. We spoke with Rockhold and his strength coach, Joey Wolfe, for a more detailed look at how Rockhold plans to once again own his division.

Schedule

Two-a-days occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays: grappling or wrestling in the morning, strength training in the evening. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are sparring, footwork, and agility days. However, it’s not set in stone if Rockhold wants to work on other things. “I listen to my body,” he says.

Sparring

“I’m tired of throwing hard all of the time [and having] days when my sparring partners and I are trying to take each other’s head off. I’m a smaller guy. I prefer to work technically, too. But those hard sparring matches really make you aware of your weaknesses and what you need to improve upon.”

Agility/Footwork

Footwork is critical in MMA—if you can’t move smoothly in or out of position, you’re going to get knocked out or tapped out. Rockhold works on reflexes and reactions, running drills on an agility ladder, over hurdles, and by catching a tennis ball thrown at him by Wolfe.

Strength Training

Wolfe works with Rockhold at his training facility in Santa Cruz, CA,
twice weekly. The focus, he says, is to maintain Luke’s strength with full-body workouts that are built around big compound movements with an emphasis on core work and plyometric exercises. “The main thing with all [athletes] is that they need foundational strength,” explains Wolfe, “If I can get him good at squatting and deadlifting, that’s going to have carryover in his sport.”

Grappling/Wrestling

Rockhold trains with his American Kickboxing Academy teammates, two of whom are current UFC light-heavyweight champ and former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier and former heavyweight champ and two-time Division 1 All-America wrestler Cain Velasquez. So far, Rockhold has managed to defend 69% of the takedowns aimed at him.

SEE ALSO: The Long Journey Of UFC Vet Michael Bisping

Check Out Luke’s Workout Below

Technology

Wolfe tests Rockhold’s power output using a Keiser Functional Trainer, a machine that uses compressed air as resistance instead of weight. The first rep he performs (normally, between 1,200 and 1,400 watts) sets the standard for the others. If Rockhold’s effort dips below 90% on more than three reps in a row, Wolfe cuts him off. “If he can get 20 reps in a row, I know he’s in good shape. If he’s getting 10 to 11, then that’s not a good thing,” Wolfe says.

Stretching

“I rely heavily on stretching,” explains Rockhold, who finishes off every workout with a series of basic stretches that he performs on and off of a physio ball. “I want to be as loose and limber [as possible] to increase my power and decrease my chance of injury without straining something.”

Recovery

“It starts with the foods you ingest,” says Rockhold. “I’ve done my homework and want to put the right foods and enough liquid back into my body. Rehydration is key and one of the biggest things people neglect. Along with stretching, I also do a lot of hot and cold treatments.”

Diet

“In camp, I get inspired to cook because I’ll prepare something healthy that tastes good,” says Rockhold, who eats four clean meals and has two protein shakes per day. “When I’m too tired [to cook], I’ll call my nutritionist. This usually happens about three weeks out.”

Supplements

Rockhold’s current stack features Monster supps by CytoSport, which are all NSF Certified for Sport and verified to be banned-substance-free. 

Monster Milk: A post-workout serving provides 50 grams of protein from milk and whey-protein isolate and only 3 grams of fat.

Monster Amino 6:1:1: Six grams of essential BCAAs and a full profile of18 amino acids aid recovery. 

Monster Creatine: This ensures the body has a plentiful amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the immediate fuel your body burns during training. The more ATP you have available, the more intensely you can train for longer periods.

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