Record-Breaking Powerlifter Stefi Cohen Trains With a Master MMA Conditioning Coach

Emily Shiffer
Photo credit: Stefi Cohen
Photo credit: Stefi Cohen

From Men's Health

Powerlifter Stefi Cohen is one of the best lifters in the world, but lately, she's pushed the boundaries of her training. Cohen broke the existing records for the deadlift and barbell squat in her weight class, as well as for total lift, earlier this year in February, but she's trained with world record deadlifter Jamal Browner, strongman Eddie Hall, and pro climber Magnus Midtbø. Now, she's branching out into combat sports with in an endurance session with award winning MMA coach and former MMA fighter Phil Daru. Cohen met up with the coach to run through a workout that Daru usually does with his fighters.

"He had us do speed training, strength training, and conditioning. Let's just say it hurt.... A LOT," she wrote on her video's description.

She starts warming up with speed drills and a series of power jumps, including a move where Cohen starts on her knees, jumps to her feet into a vertical leap and follows it with a lateral side hop.

"When I assess fighters, I'm looking at how well they can get off the floor from that position," says Daru. He's looking for hip mobility issues that may interfere with boxing torque. "If something's tight it's going to be weak."

From there, they move into the weight room. The first exercise Daru puts Cohen through is a loaded shadow boxing drill on a belt squat machine, with weight slung around her waist.

"Work your technique. You want to be able to control your movement under this load. Once you get out of there, you're so much more fluid," says Daru. "You get out what you put in. You want to stay moving. It's so simple it's going to allow you how to create torque, plus you're getting a workout."

He has Cohen hold the weight then for 10 seconds once they finish, after which Cohen delightfully flips him off.

After that, they move on to some good mornings before finishing with punishing sled pushes.

"This training is very fast, explosive, but repeatable," says Daru.

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