Check out the full podcast with Prime Hall is Deep End Fitness below! Available on Spotify and everywhere else you listen to podcasts!
If you remember last year, we interviewed Liz Carmouche ahead of her title shot against Valentina Shevchenko. She told us of her training under water. The story went to ESPN and more. It was mind blowing. Luckily for us, Liz set us up with Prime Hall, the trainer that has her wrestling under water.
Hall and his partner, Don Tran, started the Under Water Torpedo League and Deep End Fitness. Prime Hall sat down with us and talked about his training, how he and Tran came up with the idea, and who trains with him. We dive deep into the benefits and even some of their drills!
Both Prime Hall and Don Tran were military. “Our story is we were both in the military. We were both Marines together,” says Hall. He goes on to describe where the crazy idea came from and how it got off the ground so fast.
“We started doing under water training before we went into Special Operations training. That environment is like a try out. A lot of people that try out for that, they don’t make it. So we wanted to train as much as we could before we went. One of the things that was most beneficial to us was the under water training we had done as water survival instructors. That really helped us when we got into special operations training. So, we have been using variations of it to train people in the military to give them water confidence. That will give them the opportunity to go to advanced schools like military dive school or water survival instructor. Everybody’s seen people use swimming as a theraputic and rehabilitative type activity. Putting all these things together, when we were in the military we were able to do this type of training because we were instructors and we had access to pools. As we got out, there’ s nowhere for us to do it so we created this program to be able to do it in public pools.”
The idea took off and Hall and Tran quickly found themselves with NFL players in the off season. With elite athletes looking for the next edge, Hall says everything started moving quickly for he and his partner.
“We started training with the fighters as kind of a word of mouth thing. My partner and I started it at the end of 2017. We launced the Underwater Torpedo League and Deep End Fitness. This under water sport also had a fitness component for it. It trains you and prepares you for the sport and other sports. Our first year in 2018, we ended up doing an off season program for the NFL with a bunch of NFL players. That was the first time a bunch of elite athletes came out and did our program for six weeks. Immedately after that, David Marsh, who is an Olympic swim coach, came out to the pool we were at and started watching the training for a few weeks. Then we started training a bunch of the Olympic swimmers who were training for Tokyo. Then we were training the NFL and the Olympic guys. A couple of the NFL guys knew some professional fighters from the UFC and Bellator that were training for fights that wanted to come out. So we started training a couple fighters who were spreading the word. Now we train easily over 25 fighters over Southern California.”
As for the fighters in his camp, he has some of the best names in the fight game training at Deep End Fitness.
“Liz, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Dom Cruz, Juan Archuleta, Orlando Jimenez, Jeremy Stephens, there’s a bunch. A lot of them are females, too. Ashley Yoder is awesome too. A bunch of good ones.”
Carmouche does have an insane cardio advantage as well as Macfarlane. Dominick Cruz and his accomplishments speak for themselves. Archuleta and Jiminez are great in their own right. Even Jeremy Stephens who hasn’t traditionally had a good gas tank has shown improvement as of late.
The process behind Deep End Fitness
Deep End Fitness has found the required metrics to make an athlete better. They look to increase vO2 max and CO2 tolerance to make recovery more efficient in between rounds for fighters. These athletes already have fantastic athletic capabilities and their cardio is already better than the average Joe. What Deep End Fitness does is make the great even greater.
“Once you get an athlete, especially a professional athlete, we’re working with them, one on one. What we’re looking to do is find their baseline on their vO2 max and their CO2 tolerance. After that, what that looks like in the lab and in their performance with certain exercises that we do to see what their base line is, we start to create adaptations and start to drive those levels up. For example, Liz, her gas tank is insane. Her CO2 tolerance is like an X-Men or X-Woman. You think about someone who gets that pump whenever you get that pump when you’re doing Jiu Jitsu or going to the gym, it’s cool looking, it feels good and you know you’re working hard. But at that point, you’ re not going to be able to perform really well once you have those chemicals respond and you have that pump. Once you drive your CO2 levels up over time, then those chemicals are going to take longer for that response. Then also, your breathing with the deep breathing with the breath hold work that we do. Some of these fighters are going from holding their breath for thirty seconds to holding their breath for over three minutes. That gives them that confidence.”
Prime Hall goes on to tell the benefits of their under water training regimens and how that benefit is achieved. A lot of the training is designed so that you lose. Hall and Tran want to push these athletes to the absolute brink to get the most gains in their cardiovascular abilities as possible. In addition to that, the confidence boost also helps these athletes out, achieving something that they never thought they could do.
“The number one benefit is the cardio and the heart rate control. Being able to lower to their heart rate and get back as close to normal as possible in a minute’s time in between a round. What that looks like when they get in their fight, if they go between a round into a second round and third round, that minute off should feel like two minutes compared to their opponent because they’ve developed deep breathing and recovery techniques. We put them through so many excercies where they weren’t able to breathe in the training. We do a lot of what we call burner rounds when we are in fight camps where we go three to five rounds with no more than a minute in between and most of the round you’re under water. It’s a failure drill because you’re going to hit points where you’ re done and you’re going to have to keep going and figure it out. You also build a mental fortitude and confidence. Once you start doing it and you see other people you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ll never be able to do that.’ But once you’re able to do it, then you’re like, ‘Wow, what else can I do that I thought I couldn’t do?'”
Both Prime Hall and Don Tran will continue to innovate their fitness and training program to become more and more effective, efficient and fine tuned. As they continue to achieve more in not only mixed martial arts, but the NFL and the Olympics, more eyes will be on their training program and credit will roll in.