As Seen On

Medley Training for Combat Athletes

I got this email from my buddy Terrance at Get Fit Now Fitness…

“Jedd, I’ve got a new guy I’m training. He’s into grappling. Can you send me a sample routine that’s good for grappling…?”

Strongman Medleys

When it comes to training athletes who compete at Grappling and other combat sports, you have to look at the energy systems being stressed, the muscle groups and actions being worked and the duration of the time spent doing activity.


When you think about it, the heavy anaerobic demands, the full body movement and long durations of time under tension, Medleys are excellent means for training athletes of combat sports.

The Medley is a term that comes from the sport of Strongman. Medleys generally involve two or more challenges done back to back in the same event. Both challenges have to be completed back to back and time is kept by the official, so the object is to do them as quickly as possible.

Medley Examples

The challenges included in a Medley vary and depend on the viciousness of the promoter. Over my years of Strongman competition, I experienced many medleys. Here are some of the ones that stick in my mind…

Tire Flip => Husafell Stone Carry

We flipped a tire three times and then moved on to a giant tombstone-shaped stone that we had to underhook and carry in the crooks of our elbows. This was brutal because carrying the stone like that, you could not breathe.

Farmers Walk = > Keg Carry

Had to walk the Farmers out and back, then pick up a Keg and walk it out and back. This one started out easy, but I started picking up speed at the end of the Keg run and lost my footing and dropped right on top of the keg, knocking my wind out of my lungs, so I couldn’t breathe at the end of that one either

Sandbag Carry => Yoke Walk

Hardest medley I ever remember doing. The Sandbag was a Duffel Bag stuffed full of gravel and sand. It was hard just lifting it to my lap to get my arms around it, let alone carry it. After setting the sandbag down, then we had to carry a Yoke on our back weighing like 800 pounds. I made it about 12 feet. Horrible, but at least I could breathe when I was done.

What’s Great About Medleys for Athletes

Medleys are like no other type of training in their short-burst of power combined with endurance. Generally in Strongman competitions the idea is to finish as quickly as possible, but there is also a time limit. So what you end up having is some athletes that absolutely kill the course while others struggle.

The killers are always in tremendous physical condition with good lung power and mental toughness. They walk off the medley course without batting an eye and you want to piss in their protein shake.

The ones who struggle are the ones who get the best workout and sometimes puke up their protein shake.

Because of the urgency to finish quickly combined with the difficulty of the challenges and the duration of the complete events themselves, Medley training is a great way to train athletes, especially those involved in Grappling, Wrestling, MMA, and other Combat Sports.

I recently uploaded a vintage Diesel video of us training medleys. This was originally synced up to freakin’ awesome heavy metal music, but YouTube doesn’t let you do that anymore, so I had to audio swap it out and replace it with a somewhat lackluster song – so you can’t hold it against me in this case.

If you train combat athletes or if you are preparing for a competition, medleys are something you want to try out in order to trigger the response of strength, stamina, and cardio, plus this intense training style will elevate your body’s metabolism for hours afterwards, helping you cut excess fat.

Medley Training for Athletes

This video has NEVER been posted before – you are seeing it for the first time. In it, you’ll see medley lifts and carries involving partner body weight, kegs, Inch Dumbbell, Unilateral Farmers, Block Weights, Tire Throwing, and more.

Medley Work-Arounds

If you don’t have the equipment listed above or shown in the video, you can just use items around your house or gym: Barrels, Pails, Water-Filled Swiss Balls, Dumbbells, etc.

Don’t forget Overhead Work in your medley training, especially Cleans and Presses and also Snatches. They involve a large amount of musculature and are very demanding, just like the action in the ring and on the mat.

Another thing that can be easily implemented is body weight work such as push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, etc.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I welcome any questions or comments. Just enter them into the box below. I check them every day and love conversing with you guys.

Keep up the great work,


P.S. Have you seen our Atlas Stone DVD – Stone Lifting Fundamentals? It has everything you need to know about Atlas Stone training so you can incorporate it with your athletes or in your own training safely, PLUS we show you how to move beyond normal stone lifting and adapt other principles with your stone work. Get your copy today here – How To Lift Atlas Stones


Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball | How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes | The Road to the Record DVD

Articles You Might Also Like:


10 Responses to “Medley Training for Combat Athletes”

  1. Ken Rogers Says:

    Your workouts are always tough, but these workouts are especially beastly. Medley training is really tough and great for building real, effective strength.

    Ken Rogers

  2. Todd Says:

    Freakin awesome!I want to do some medley stuff now. At the end with the guys throwing stuff, it reminded me of the guys you see on cops who are SO PO’d, they’re just tossing stuff until they calm down enough to get tazed. Great stuff!

  3. Jim Smith Says:

    That’s a good one bro!


  4. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting brother. Gotta love the medley stuff!


  5. Travis Says:


    You always got the goods bruddah!

    It’s like you read my mind!

    Just the other day I was doing a medley with a sandbag, keg, farmer handles, and heavy KB’s with towels…

    Love your stuff!

    Keep posting bruddah!

  6. Clint Says:

    Holy crap. I’ve just stumbled upon your site guys.
    Impressive. I thought HIIT was tough.
    Medley training would certainly kick an ass three times over.


  7. Jim Smith Says:

    Thanks man. Medleys are serious business, that is for sure.

  8. Jim Smith Says:

    I actually put this one up. Ha Ha.

    I have another Medley Video coming soon.


  9. Michael Says:

    Nice one!
    Looking forward for other medleys!

  10. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Sure man. Will do!

Leave a Reply