How do MMA fighters get physically fit? Is it because of their diet or exercises in MMA training? In this article, we will be discussing how MMA fighters make it possible.
Getting the body to be in shape has a different approach when it comes to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). It's not just about lifting weights and having chiseled physique, there is a reason for every exercise that a fighter does.
Of course, every fighter has their own unique skills and fighting style, but an all-around full-body conditioning is required to perform in a high level. Aside from this, you must also build your stamina and endurance.
MMA exercises are taken differently than the conventional gym sessions. The benefits that MMA fighters get off of certain exercises are more important so they can carry it on in actual fights. The physical transformation is just a byproduct that MMA fighters reap from putting in the hard work.
With these being said, we are going to list out the 7 priority exercises in MMA training. These exercises will definitely improve your strength and conditioning, and make your skills to the next level!
You can also view other related articles like The Best Martial Arts For Self-Defense, How Much Money Do MMA Fighters Make, and How To Punch A Heavy Bag!
Is Lifting Weights Required For MMA Fighters?
Before we discuss what the best exercises in MMA training are, let's make it clear whether lifting weights are a necessity for MMA fighters. It's a misconception that people often believe since the common MMA fighters' physique are so lean and ripped.
MMA fighters do lift weights but not in the traditional body and muscle building methods. They usually lift lighter weights prioritizing and developing endurance, speed, and strength. Lifting sessions are done in order for them to get stronger in striking and grappling.
However, lifting weights is not a requirement for MMA fighters. Some trainers opt to maximize body weight usage to develop the same specific qualities like power, agility, and muscle stamina. It's just as effective and more convenient to do since there's no need for equipment.
Best Exercises For MMA Training
Pullups is one of the best upper body exercises, and the king of all back exercises. Not only is its mechanics easy to do, it's also very convenient as you only need a bar to perform it.
Back, shoulders, grip, and even the abs, these are the muscles that are mainly worked when performing pullups. In MMA where there are a lot of pulling actions especially when grappling, Muay Thai clinching, or wrestling, strengthening these areas will be very beneficial.
If you are a beginner and cannot do pullups yet, start with the easiest pullup progressions, or perform it with the help of resistance bands. Always remember to squeeze your shoulder blades, depress your scapula, and aim to activate your back muscles!
Pushups are a mainstay when talking about strength and conditioning exercises. It can be done anywhere without the need for any equipment, and it is a very effective exercise for developing upper body strength.
Performing pushups on a regular basis and correct form will improve your pectorals, triceps, shoulders, and abs. These are important in developing punching power, endurance, and stamina.
Make sure your arms are tucked in, elbows in a 45 degree angle, and shoulder blades squeezed. Once pushups gets too easy for you to do, you can just level up to a more difficult variation.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Losing a fight by getting hit in the body is one of the most painful ways to suffer a defeat. To add to this, body punches and kicks are strikes that most MMA combinations start or end with.
Thus, training and conditioning your abs is vital. Bicycle crunches are one of the best abs exercises there is because it also works the obliques and deeper abs. In addition, it also combines strength and endurance to perform.
Lie down on a floor and breath properly. Make your legs go through a bicycle pedal motion, while also crunching your abs. Bring one knee up towards the opposite elbow, and vice versa. Be keen on your range of motion.
4. Barbell Squats
It wouldn't be a all-around full body conditioning without training your legs. And what best way to do it than performing barbell squats. This exercise hits all of your Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, and Core.
Developing a strong lower body would help you generate more striking power, become more balanced, and be able to forcefully take opponents down or defend yourself from it. It also helps you develop explosive power to be able to perform shifty and quick movements.
If you are a beginner, start off with lighter weights, or even just the barbell. Perfect the form first because this exercise can lead to injuries if not done well. For those with lower back issues, it wouldn't be advisable to do barbell squats.
5. Conventional Deadlifts
The Deadlift is called the king of all exercises. Why? Well, it happens to be an exercises that will take your strength, muscle mass, athleticism, and overall conditioning to whole new levels. This exercise reinforces the most muscles thus activating your full body.
Deadlifts are a full body workout and thus is very effective for MMA training. However, this exercise isn't easy to perform. So if you are just a beginner, do not go for heavy weights directly. Practice your form and prioritize execution rather than the weight.
Legs should be shoulder width apart, toes 10-15 degrees sidewards. Make sure that your back stays at a neutral position, not rounded. As you lower the bar in a straight vertical motion, stick your buttocks back with your knees slightly bent. If your form is good, you should feel the stretch in your hamstrings, rather than your quads.
6. Single Arm Landmines
Single Arm Landmines, just like the overhead presses, mainly works your shoulders and arms, but can practically be done to work other parts of your body. These exercises are great and crucial for fighters.
It works your shoulders, chest, triceps, and core, which are your punching muscles. Landmines develops explosive punching power as well as arm endurance. Remember, punching power is a key attribute that every fighter must have to produce highlight knock out punches.
Single arm landmines also trains hand dexterity. Getting both of your hands trained with the same amount of repetitions will make you more comfortable inside a real fight. Also, due to the accelerating motion when you push through the bar path, you develop hand speed.
7. Sprint Intervals
Lastly, capping off the training regime, is the sprint interval training. Aside from developing strength and muscle, cardiovascular endurance and stamina is as important as well in MMA.
The Sprint Interval Training is a popular stamina workout because it simulates bursts of activity in real competition. The intensity of sprints will condition your body to endure the harsh pacing of fighting.
Yes, you can still do jogs but it really doesn't work your stamina as much as sprints do. If sprints are getting easier for you, you can elevate the difficulty by performing the intervals on uphill, or wearing speed parachutes.
3 Reasons Why MMA Training Better Than Gym Workouts
1. Workout Intensity
It's a no brainer that MMA training sessions is more intense than working your muscles in the gym. The amount of calories that a person can burn while doing MMA is far more greater than going to the gym.
Most competitive fighters have lean or ripped bodies. This is because MMA training combines aerobic and anaerobic exercises. A single MMA training session lasts about two hours on average and during this time span, you go through boxing, wrestling, and ending up with a full body workout circuit.
2. Full-Body Conditioning
MMA training combines different combat disciplines like Boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and others. Going through the respective mitt work and rolling will be tremendous full body workouts.
Not only do you reap cardiovascular endurance and physical benefits from training MMA, but it also improves the under appreciated aspects like core strength, flexibility, balance, reflexes, and coordination. Becoming stronger, more toned, plus elevating your lifestyle, are on of the beauty of MMA training.
3. Real-Life Applicability
What's big muscles for if you don't even know how to throw a punch? This is the most common rebut that fighters make against body builders. Of course, in MMA training, you will be developing your fight IQ.
Constantly training Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and the others, you will be more knowledgeable how to fight. This will be very helpful in day-to-day living since you know how to defend yourself.
That is why women training in MMA is particularly popular in recent times. Women have been enrolling undergo MMA training to learn how to defend and be physically capable to do it so.
Well, there you have it! These are the priority exercises for MMA training. Always remember to take your time, learn how to execute a proper form, and don't let your ego hinder you from getting the best out of training.
Furthermore, think about safety as another priority. Warm up and stretch before doing workouts, and if you can, wear proper gear and equipment to facilitate you in your training.
Strength and conditioning training takes time. Even the best fighters of the world cannot get into optimum/ideal shape in a short span of time! Just trust the process and think about accomplishing your training day-by-day.
It won't be that much long until you begin to see some changes in your body and your overall physical feel!
Thank you so much for reading my "7 Priority Exercises In MMA Training" article! If you have comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the comment section below!
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