Steven Gruber: A Training Session With Coach Doug

By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA

13173013_1070219439688444_450413626470049313_o‘Don’t leave a fight in the hands of the judges.’ ‘Nobody enters a fight one-hundred percent healthy.’ These are common sayings surrounding mixed martial arts.

Inside Urban Sprawl Fitness, MMAGOLD’s strength and conditioning coach, as well as nutritionist, Doug Casebier, better recognized as Coach Doug, evidenced the truth in another overused expression: the actual fight is more fun than the training, running, on this day, Steven Gruber through a workout designed to inflate the veins, connecting his heart and muscles for a level of endurance that will never dip below a full tank. Coach Doug described the purpose of the workout he engineered for Gruber,

“The bigger you can create your vein, the more blood and more stamina your heart will have for that muscle. If a muscle can keep up with the pumping of the heart, the bigger I can make your veins and the more oxygen and more blood can flow through there, which means they’ll last longer. It’s a unique thing to do with a fighter at 125 pounds because Gruber is already at his pinnacle size for his weight class; he’s as big as he can be. I’m just trying to make that muscle just a little bit more girthy, so it will take on more blood and never get tired.”

Follow Gruber through the belly of the gym as he completes one of Coach Doug’s grueling workouts.

Workout 1

At the conclusion of Gruber’s first workout, most people would succumb to fatigue, but this is only his warm-up. Workout number one prescribed a progression of one-arm snatches checkered with punches using a resistance band. The routine is:

20 reps of snatches with a 35 pound dumbbell;

50 punches using a resistance band.

30 reps of snatches with a 30 pound dumbbell;

50 punches using a resistance band.

40 reps of snatches with a 25 pound dumbbell;

50 punches using a resistance band.

50 reps of snatches with a 20 pound dumbbell;

50 punches using a resistance band.

Workout 2

Next, Gruber moved to the leg press and leg extension machine for ten sets of:

50 reps on the leg press machine at 100 pounds;

50 reps on the leg extension machine at 70 pounds.

Workout 3

As Gruber worked his way between the two machines, his energetic shadow boxing must have meant that Coach Doug didn’t burn his legs out enough yet; therefore, Coach Doug ordered four sets of an exercise to light his legs on fire:

Hop back and forth 100 times while holding a 15 pound dumbbell.

Workout 4

Workout four consisted of Coach Doug focusing on Gruber’s core. Gruber sat at the back extension and abdominal machine for four sets of work to include:

50 reps on the lower back extension machine set at 100 pounds;

50 reps on the abdominal machine set at 110 pounds.

Workout 5

In an attempt to strengthen Gruber’s core to one that’s harder than the pit of an avocado, Coach Doug instructed Gruber to complete ten sets of the following with a ten-pound medicine ball:

While holding the medicine ball, Gruber did 20 sit-ups.

After the sit-ups, he immediately transitioned to 6 push-ups on the medicine ball with a burpee in between each push-up.

Workout 6

Just because this was Gruber’s last exercise of the day, it was far from a cool down. With every fiber inside screaming to stop, Gruber forged ahead and wrapped up Coach Doug’s gauntlet on the elliptical machine:

1 minute at level 15,

1 minute at level 16,

1 minute at level 17,

1 minute at level 18,

1 minute at level 19,

1 minute at level 20;

Then, 1 minute at each level working his way back down to level 15.


Gingerly, Gruber stepped off the elliptical and informed Coach Doug that he completed his workout, and Coach Doug glowed with pride, as he does with each of his students. Though Gruber will return the following day for more 13086904_1061635380546850_1939466059820668015_oor Coach Doug’s punishment, the region’s leader in his field won’t allow the athletes to deteriorate themselves, because, as Coach Doug confessed, they will. Coach Doug’s goal for every one of his clients, from MMA superstars to fitness models, is:

“I want these kids training so hard for their goals that I, or any of the coaches, have to chase them out of the gym.”




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