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The Muscle Shark Sean Sherk's grueling workout routine

Sean Sherk's grueling workout routine includes something he calls "caveman training"
We should have known better than to try and fit Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk's complete workout routine in our May 2008 issue, but we tried anyway. And man, did we fail. Since Sherk trains twice a day, six days a week, doing everything from striking and boxing to weightlifting, cardio, and specialized conditioning drills he calls "caveman training," we could only squeeze so much into print.

"No matter how sick the workout is, he does it without question or hesitation," says Scott Ramsdale, owner of Athletic Performance Inc. "When I train Sean, he works at an unbelievable level for almost 30 minutes, with his heart rate ranging between 170 and 185 bpm. Most people cannot tolerate this type of pain and intensity for five minutes, let alone 30 minutes. It takes a special, almost demented type of athlete to train at this level. Sean is one of those athletes."

Sherk will look to regain the UFC lightweight title when he takes on champion BJ Penn on May 24. "I still feel like the belt's mine," says Sherk, who was stripped of the title after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs following a title defense over Hermes Franca last year. Sherk is finishing up his six-month suspension, which was reduced from a full year after he appealed.

"You know, I feel like he's got to beat me to be champ, that's my feeling on the whole thing," says Sherk. "I think it's going to be a war. We both feel like we own that belt, and we're going to go out there and see who the real champ is."

Below, check out Sherk's complete routine that will lead him up to the fight. One warning, though: If you're not an elite athlete, skip the monkey-see, monkey-do thing with this one.


Directions:

Lifting
Ramsdale: "Sean supersets everything together to get as much work done in the shortest time possible, and to elevate his heart rate as much as he can during all of his workouts. He will usually do eight to 12 reps in four to five supersets, with no more than one minute rest in between them."

Resistance Shots
Ramsdale: "Sean does resistance shots with a large belt around his waist, attached to two strong elastic cables with handles. A partner stands behind him, providing resistance. As Sean does the repeated shots, the partner moves forward slightly. Sean does these straight ahead to improve the speed and strength of his shots. He'll start by doing two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps, but then, as his conditioning improves, these numbers go way up."

Monday Morning

Submission grappling (five minutes on, one minute off, 45 minutes total training)
Thai boxing (five five-minute rounds, 25 minutes total training)

BREAK: lunch, nap

Afternoon

Caveman training (five five-minute rounds)

Round 1

Elliptical — two minutes
Sprint — 30 seconds
Upper-body ergometer — two minutes
Sprint — 30 seconds
Rest one minute

Round 2 (each station one minute)

Tire flips
Sledgehammers
Rope climb
Tire flips
Rope climbs
Rest one minute

Round 3 (each station one minute)

Bear crawls
Plyo pushups
Plyo jumps
Medicine ball throws
Recline pull-ups
Rest one minute

Round 4

Same as round 1
Rest one minute

Round 5

Same as round 2
Rest one minute

Tuesday Morning

Hard drill work — takedowns, pads, wrestling (five minutes on, one minute off, 45 minutes total training)
Resistance shots

BREAK: lunch, nap

Afternoon

Weightlifting — arms
EZ-bar curl superset with skull crushers
Alternating dumbbell curls superset with rope press-down
Concentration curls
Hard drill work — takedowns, pads, wrestling (five minutes on, one minute off, 45 minutes total training)

Wednesday Morning

Submission grappling (five minutes on, one off, 45 minutes total training). Thai boxing (five, five-minute rounds, 25 minutes total)

BREAK: lunch, nap

Afternoon

Weightlifting — chest and back
Incline bench — Hammer Strength superset with seated row
Flat bench — Hammer Strength superset with 3-point dumbbell row
Incline dumbbell fly superset with alternating side pullups
Pec-deck
Elliptical cardio, 45 minutes

Thursday
Morning

Hard drill work — takedowns, pad work, wrestling (five minutes on, one minute off, 45 minutes total training) Resistance shots

BREAK: lunch, nap

Afternoon

Weightlifting — shoulders and abs
Hammer Strength shoulder press superset with crunches (50 reps for abs)
Arnold presses superset with weighted crunches (50 reps for abs)
Lateral raise superset with sit-ups on a hyperextension machine
Hard sparring (five minutes on, one minute off, 45 minutes total work)

Friday
Morning

Submission wrestling (five minutes on, one minute off, 45 minutes total training)
Thai boxing (five five-minute rounds, 25 minutes total training)

BREAK: lunch, nap

Afternoon

Caveman Training, five five-minute rounds

Round 1 (each station 30 seconds, entire round done twice)

Incline trainer (50% Grade for 30 Seconds @ 4.5 mph
Flat treadmill running at 5 mph (for recovery)
Jump rope Upper-body ergometer
Standing sprints on windsprint bike
One minute rest between rounds

Round 2 (each station done for one minute)

Ground-Based Jammer (Hammer Strength machine to build explosiveness)
Hand switches Sledgehammer chops
Underhand medicine ball throws
Heavy bag twirls (with 70-pound bag)
45 seconds rest between rounds

Round 3

Same as round 1
30 seconds rest between rounds

Round 4

Same as Round 2
30 seconds rest between rounds

Round 5

Airdyne bike (five minutes, rpms over 70 the entire time while doing several sprints with rpms reaching 100+)

Saturday
Morning

Pad work, glove drills, wrestling (45 minutes)
Kettlebell swings — 4 sets, 10—12 reps
Running stairs — 30 minutes

Afternoon

Weightlifting — legs
Deadlifts, superset with standing and seated calf raise (6 sets, 8 reps each)
Leg press superset with leg extensions (5 sets)
Lying leg curl superset with abductor and adductor (50 reps)

Sunday
Rest






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