MMA Workout 101

If you’ve ever been wowed by the UFC, you may want to consider taking up MMA strength training or MMA cardio conditioning to spice up your daily exercise routine. Who wouldn’t want to be able to pound it out like a Mixed Martial Arts fighter? It’s a sport that fuses endurance, strength, flexibility and athleticism into a potent mix.

How do the MMA fighters train, and how should I?

It’s not easy, though. MMA combines weight training, cardio and strength training, plyometrics, wind-sprints and more. Those cage fighters go all out in their rounds. If you’re considering taking up MMA at all, you need to start by focusing on your strengths and weaknesses- if you’re really strong, but can’t breathe easily after a few seconds, you need MMA cardio conditioning more than weight training. If you have great endurance, but can’t lift your dinner without straining, MMA strength training is called for. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should only be training your weaknesses instead of your strengths- just that they need more work.

MMA Workout 101

What’s a good MMA training approach?

A circuit-training approach is often very effective- stringing exercises in the different disciplines or aspects you wish to train together so they can be tackled one after each other with minimal rest breaks in-between. It enables creativity, and will keep you from getting bored. You have the freedom to tailor the program to your needs, and can vary reps, time, rest periods and more to suit your needs.

  • Time: If you’re looking to mimic the MMA circuit here, you want to structure this to be like the rounds you see in a genuine MMA fight- usually something like 5 minutes of fight with 1 minute rests.
  • The Exercise in the circuit: Aim for using large muscles groups, like the MMA fighters do. More isolated exercises don’t mimic the MMA experience. But tailor them to suit your goals too.
  • The Repeats: Be gentle if you’re a beginner- stick to 2 days a week and increase your intensity as you get stronger. Remember, both MMA weight training and MMA cardio conditioning are intensive workouts. Tailor your program to suit your intentions, your other training or exercise, your future goals and the intensity of your circuit.

Good nutrition is vital

Do not neglect your diet and nutrition if you want to train like an MMA fighter. Not only do you need to be aware of your calorie intake, but you need to be sure that those calories are being ‘spent’ on quality sources offering peak nutrition to enable your body to perform at its best.  Lean protein and high-quality complex carbs need to be your friends. Chicken, lean meat, brown rice and other good foods should all feature. You may also want to consider supplements to make sure all the niches are being adequately filled. Don’t go overboard though- a quality supplemental protein source, an essential fatty acid source and a good multi-vitamin are more than enough. If you have specific concerns, don’t take them to your trainer- take them to a qualified dietician or similar professional.

If you long to train like an MMA fighter, whether it be the MMA cardio conditioning, the MMA strength training or a blend of both, it’s easy to get started- but make sure you train sensibly and with a mind to your future goals.

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