The Berserker Drill

The Berserker Drill by Charles Sledge

I know for a fact I didn’t invent this. As for one nearly everything that humans have done has been done before, every thought, every realization, and every technique. Humans generally discover the same age old truths in different ways when they think they have made a breakthrough. There is nothing wrong with this, this is how things are supposed to work. For every “revolutionary” concept is simply an old rehashed version of the same principle that has been at play since the beggining of the world. Humans are quite predictable creatures. But I am getting off track here.

The berserker drill is a drill that I have been using in my heavy bag sessions to much effect. The purpose of the drill is threefold. To prepare oneself for a fight, to address any weaknesses and imbalances, and to condition ones body to intense violent effort in the shortest period of time. The berserker drill is quick and dirty. It doesn’t have many rules rather principles that can be adapted. So without further ado I present to you the berserker drill.

The Berserker Drill

Most real fights are over in under thirty seconds. Despite what you see in the movies fights don’t take place over five or more minutes with many traded blows. Rather fights are a dirty and uncoordinated affair for the most part. Most who get in fights are simple brawlers or sucker punchers. They might just constantly swing with their right or flail about hoping to strike something. This is how most fight. For the trained person this makes them easier to strike down but only if your training is done properly.

The berserker drill is where you put thirty seconds on the clock and go at the bag with everything that you got. You start from about arms length distance and then attack the bag as if it just killed your dog. You will close in fast and it will “degrade” into clinch fighting quickly (obviously I would suggest using the heaviest bag possible). Throw elbows, headbutts, knees, anything you can to end the motherfucker. You go all out and you do not hold a single ounce back. You kill that bag, if that bad was a living thing it wouldn’t be at the end of the thirty seconds.

Simple But Effective

Your going to notice a couple of things the first time that you do this, or at least these are the things I noticed. First off even if you run a couple miles every morning, do barbell complexes, and are in general good shape. You’ll still be winded. Fighting is the most intense thing that you can do. This applies to fighting in the ring and doubly so to fighting outside the ring. Nothing prepares you for fighting but fighting. And real fights are intense brutal affairs. Not saying cardio doesn’t help but it is no replacement.

You’ll find weaknesses you have real quick. For example when I first switched from boxing gloves to work gloves my wrists would often bend when throwing a punch. I had built up power but not the support system to channel that power. Throwing some punches at the bag I could compensate for this but when doing the berserker drill my punches quickly devolved. I’ve gotten to the point where they are better but they still need improvement. Not to mention that after the first couple of blows uppercuts and hooks are about the only punches that can be thrown effectively because of the distance.


I would encourage you to include the berserker drill in you heavy bag practice. It is by no means a cure all or a gurantee that you’ll be good in a fight. It is a simple tool that you can improve with and learn from. Intense bouts of energy are critical to develop for fighting. As is fighting in the clinch and making those first couple of blows count. You need to know how to knock someone out as well as do so without breaking your wrist or knuckles. Things change when going all out. Form breaks down quickly and what you thought you had down pat you’ll find you don’t.

Even the most efficient of fighters may find themselves becoming a bit sloppy. Remember this hit hard, hit fast, and hit often. All or even most things being equal the more aggressive person is going to win in a fight. This drill also helps to develop that aggressive trait and the will to fight. As a matter of fact I would say that the intensity of the drill may be its greatest benefit. Learning to go from calm to berserker and then back. Thirty seconds may not sound like a lot but when it comes to combat its more than enough time.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it.

-Charles Sledge

Charles Sledge

  • Fighting/Sparring has a wonderful way of wearing out even the most conditioned individuals. It’s really more about knowing how to pace yourself than it is about being in good shape.

    A good kicking drill in the same field as what we’re talking about here is what we call in TKD as “Flutter Kicks.” They are a great workout and you’ll be gasping pretty quickly. Here’s a video demonstrating them. If you’d like, I can write an article detailing how to do them and some of its variations for your site. Let me know.

    • Will have to try those once my ankle heals back up (tried a hard spinning back kick) which turns out isn’t smart for a boxer to do lol. And yeah definitely would love to have an article.

  • Johnny Grube

    You gotta train the neck, a strong neck is SO important!

    • For sure, something my wrestling, football, and boxing coaches all drilled into me early. If you gonna hit and get hit you need a thick neck.