MMA Training Workouts

in Strength

There seems to be a lot of confusion on how to train for strength and conditioning for mixed martial arts, and rightfully so. MMA training workouts can be very confusing to construct simply because the nature of a fight. In a typical MMA match, let's say 3 to 5 five minute rounds, you need to be able to exert maximal physical output for all five minutes, and the 1 minute rest period doesn't give you much time to recover and do it again.

In sports like basketball or soccer, aerobic endurance (slower paced but for long periods of time) is the most important type of conditioning. In a sport like football, anaerobic endurance (faster paced but for short intervals) is a more physically important attribute.

MMA, like football, as most people would assume, requires more anaerobic endurance. However, what makes the sport of MMA unique and why so many people are confused on how to train for optimal performance is that unlike football, where you exert energy for no longer then 30 seconds at a time and have several minutes of rest in-between plays, or hockey, where players are substituted in and out constantly, MMA fighters often have to exert maximum physical output for 5 minutes with virtually NO REST.

There really isn't any other sport that requires fast paced endurance/conditioning for as long as five minutes at a time, with only 1 minute rest in between. And as if this wasn't enough to confuse the average athlete on how to train for this, but the strength required in MMA isn't black and white either, because you need both absolute strength (how much you can lift in one short movement) AND strength endurance (exerting that strength for an extended period of time). Having only one and not the other can put you at big disadvantage.

So the key principles for MMA training workouts is to create a workout that develops anaerobic endurance geared for 5 minute rounds (so instead of the conventional 30-60 second sprints you would run as fast as you can for 5 minutes and try to increase the speed/intensity) and strength endurance (so instead of just squatting 405 lbs one time which is just absolute strength, strength endurance would be more like squatting 405 lbs for 10 sets of 1 rep, with minimal rest in-between (20-60 seconds).

One last thing to remember is to try to alternate your strength training days from your endurance days, with at least 24 to 48 hours in between your strength days. Try to couple your skills training on the same days as your endurance days if at all possible.

When first starting out, it is important that you build your aerobic endurance and basic strength as much as possible. However, as you start to get in decent shape, it is not enough to be able to run several miles without tiring. You have to mimic your rounds when training your endurance if you want to be in good condition come fight time. Also, it is not enough to just be really strong. You have to train your strength so that you can lift heavy often, while shortening the rest periods in between sets.

Improving in these two areas will definitely get you off on the right foot. Check out some of my other articles for more advanced strength and conditioning factors to develop for your MMA training workouts.

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Derek Manuel has 1 articles online

Derek Manuel has been involved in MMA and physical fitness for over 12 years. He is in the process of becoming certified as NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) to train professional fighters and athletes. When he is not training he is discovering the fastest way to both efficiently and effectively improve physical strength, conditioning, and overall performance as an MMA fighter. To see Derek's reviews of the top MMA strength and conditioning programs on the market, visit:

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MMA Training Workouts

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This article was published on 2010/03/27