Frank Mir's Strongman Training

You could almost say that Frank Mir was destined to become a multi-time UFC champion. Growing up in his father's martial arts studio gave Frank a bird's-eye view of various training methods; what worked and what didn't. But it was the implementation of strongman training with coach Mark Philippi that really gave Mir the upper leg.

Mir chose Philippi to prepare him for his 2009 bout with Cheick Kongo. Philippi has participated in strongman competitions seven times; his training facility offers training designed for strongman competitors and other types of athletes. Philippi Sports Institute uses 100-pound d-balls, tire flips and log presses -- among other implements -- for strongman training. Philippi believes in finishing training with conditioning exercises, such as high reps of tire flips, to influence lactic acid tolerance and enhance performance.

Heavier Weight

It took over two weeks for Mir to be able to get through an entire 90 minute training session. Philippi made Mir focus on lifting, pulling and pressing heavier weight than he had previously. During training, strongman techniques were implemented, including sled dragging, squats and military presses with heavy weight, as opposed to a primary focus on take-down drills and sprints. Mir's routine was designed to add power, but not so much mass as to lessen his agility.

Amount and Length

Philippi had Mir working out five times a week, with each session lasting no more than 90 minutes. Philippi's intent was to add to Mir's mass, power and weight, but not to the detriment of his speed. Of Mir's training Philippi said, "You're not trying to sacrifice athleticism for size."


Prior to his strongman training with Philippi, Mir's diet was analyzed by nutritionists who recommended that he increase daily protein and calorie intake. After training with Philippi, Mir had gained 20 pounds of muscle mass; he weighed in at 265 pounds before his triumph over Kongo in 2009. Mir says himself that he eats like a caveman -- mostly natural, in other words. Apart from the occasional pizza with his family, Mir enjoys a healthy diet. Most of the protein in Mir's diet comes from chicken and fish, but he likes to down a protein shake twice a day to supplement his intake.

About the Author

Ellis Roanhorse has been writing professionally since 2007. His work has been published in the "Loyola Law Review," "The Portland Mercury" and "Carillon Magazine." Roanhorse holds a Master of Arts in political science from the University of Chicago and a Juris Doctor from the Loyola Marymount School of Law.