MMA Legend BJ Penn turns to Science to get back on Championship Track

BJ Penn & Phase IV

MMA Legend BJ Penn turns to Science to dominate and get back on Championship Track

Even great champions lose an edge with age. Coming off his last two losses BJ learned that mature athletes need to find another dimension in training to keep or regain their edge over the competition. Looking to resurrect is status as the best fighter in the division, BJ consulted Phase IV Scientific Health and Performance Center in Santa Monica to diagnosed the deficiency in his conditioning program that left him over trained and flat for those fights. Metabolic Testing exposed the lapses in his fitness that resulted from too much high intensity training.

Phase IV Exercise Physiologist Aishea Maas used VO2 Fitness Testing to take a clinical snapshot of what was happening inside BJ’s muscles during exercise. What she found was typical in the combat sport community with athletes who mistakenly believe that because the sport is so physically demanding that training should be high intensity all the time. ” Specifically the testing showed that BJ’s previous training neglected to develop his ability to clear lactic acid from the muscle cell once he went all out” reports Maas.

Robert Forster PT, Phase IV founder and internationally respected Physical Therapist says he encounters this mentality all too often in the demanding anaerobic sports, ” Athletes and coaches from wrestling to football and basketball believe that a constant schedule of high heart training all the time is the best way to prepare for high intensity athletic competition where the pace is very high” says Forster “I see it in high school wrestling where I am active in Strength and Conditioning and in the professional sports of all kinds.

“When NBA star Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76′s came to me early this past spring and asked how he should train to can make himself faster, I told him to go faster you need to go slower” Forster recalled. He was at first puzzled but after reviewing his VO2 test results with Forster and Maas, Brand was convinced and he bought a bicycle and spent the summer building advanced levels of aerobic fitness with long, slow, low heart rate workouts. “All fitness is built on an strong aerobic base, and once achieved with heart rate specific training then the athlete is ready to add intensity, and not before,” explained Forster. “Without the aerobic infra-structure in place the ceiling of fitness is very low” Elton’s numbers are significantly up this year and he and his coaches are very pleased with the new paradigm in his training philosophy.

BJ Penn followed the Phase IV prescribed heart rate training for 8 weeks leading up
to this fight. The results were obvious even in the quick 21 seconds BJ took to knockout his very decorated opponent. He looked sharp, agile and full of intensity as he overwhelmed Hughes in each position during the short bout. BJ reported feeling fresh going into the ring, as apposed to the sluggish feeling he had in last two fights and said he was sleeping better. Two improvements that come with the cessation of over training at high intensities all the time. BJ is now a believer too!

For more information and to learn how training with science can turn back the clock for you please contact us at

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Filed Under: MMAPhase IV News

About the Author: Stephen McCain is an Olympic and Hall of Fame gymnast.

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  1. Stephen McCain says:

    This stuff is no joke…

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