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How Should You Train For MMA?

How Should You Train For MMA?

  1. Are you curious about what you should do to optimally train for MMA? 
  2. Are you looking to improve your fitness and performance? 
  3. Do you want to learn more about what you should be doing to make you a better fighter? 

If you’re looking to train for MMA to improve your fitness and build the strength and agility of a jungle cat then you need to train with that purpose. Trust me, I understand where you’re coming from with this and what you need to do.

How To Train For MMA

When it comes to your training for MMA you’ve got to understand that you need to be doing more than banging on the long bag and rolling during Jiu Jitsu. Sure your fight skills are very important, but what about your athletic skills and strength?

If you want to speed up the progress of your MMA and fight training you MUST invest the time to improve your conditioning and strength. You want to do this by cross training to further enhance these skills. You have to build your body in a way to eliminate weak your links and to make yourself better at fighting.

Black and white image of fighter wearing headgear focused on his coach.

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When it comes to you competing in the ring, or on the mat the only thing that will separate your success from that of all the other guys is you putting in the time to build more on your fitness, strength, and athleticism. This doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, this should be simple, but remember that simple doesn’t mean easy. Don’t confuse those two things.

In building on your fitness and strength to train for MMA you will want to make sure to address the following categories in your training.

Mobility: With MMA training your goal should be to optimize mobility in all of your joints, but more specifically your hips and shoulders. Any lack of mobility in your joints will only restrict your performance and may result in injury.

The more you improve  your mobility the better you’ll be able to move your joints throughout a full ROM. A lack of ROM in your joints will only bleed you of power and strength. This will certainly show up in a competitive fight, or sparring scenario.

So if you want to improve your striking and grappling abilities you MUST address this element of your training.

Plyometrics/conditioning: Plyometrics should be a regular part of your MMA training. Plyometrics involve exercises that are short burst intense muscular contractions.

These should be a staple for your martial arts and fight training. By incorporating plyometrics you will train your body to move with greater agility and speed which is essential for being able to out maneuver an opponent.

Plyometrics vary in intensity and if you are a beginner you should seek out professional advice before including plyometrics into your program. This is important as both low grade intensity and high grade intensity plyometrics are essential for your MMA training.

For instance, low grade plyometrics such as jump rope are a great prerequisite for you to use to build up to more intense plyometrics. At the same time, the jump rope is a great way to significantly improve your footwork, cardio, and reaction time.

Likewise, more intense plyometrics such as loaded box jumps and cycled split squat jumps are great for improving your leg power for more bone shattering kicks.

Black and white image of a man gripping the end of a jump rope with hand with it dangling by his side.

To train for MMA and fitness you need to have a solid plan. Make sure you check out my 90 Day MMA Strength and Conditioning program. Just click the image to learn more!

Functional strength: Strength is a big part of fight training. However, you need to understand that MMA is sport that demands a high level of physical function.

Because of this you MUST train your body to be capable of performing movement patterns that are specific to the needs of fighting and life. In other words, the majority of your strength training shouldn’t consist of arm curls and tricep kickbacks.

You need to possess a healthy dose of movements that consists of multi-joint exercises. This means what it sounds like. These are movements that involve the use of more than a single joint.

As an example if you perform a bicep curl you’re performing a single joint movement. Only your elbow is involved in the movement therefore you’re limiting the activation of smaller muscle groups primarily consisting of your biceps and forearms.

However, if you perform a pull-up exercise then you’re activating your forearms, biceps, lats, and shoulders. The pull-up movement now involves more than one joint (multi-joint) which stimulates a larger group of muscles.

Recovery: This is critical for MMA performance. When it comes to MMA fight training you MUST emphasize recovery.

Recovery is crucial in terms of allowing you to perform at a higher level for the next training session. When it comes to recovery you need to make sure you’re undulating your training intensity.

This means you want to be measured about training with greater intensity on some days and with lesser intensity on other days. You don’t want to flood your training with heavy sparring 4 or 5 days a week.

This is not an intelligent way to train and you’ll only set yourself up for injury. Trust me on this one.

When it comes to undulating your training intensity the same thing goes for your heavy lifting when strength training. You want to lift heavy on some days and lighter on other days. This allows for you to manage the stress on your body so that you can recover, build up, and perform at your peak .

Train For MMA: The Takeaway

You want to make sure that your training is comprehensive in nature so that you don’t leave any loose ends. To put it simply when competing you need to be able to blend strength and athleticism with your fight skills. This is the optimal way to speed up your progress and to make sure you’re more resistant to injury.

Are you emphasizing all of these categories when you train for MMA? 

Which area do you need to improve? 

Post up and share below in the comments. 

Make sure you check out my brand new 90 Day MMA Strength And Conditioning Program right here below!


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4 Point Hip Stretch Series: Squat Prep Your Hips

5 Unique Strength Drills To Enhance MMA Performance And Serious Fitness



I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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