Train like a warrior

Train like an MMA fighter for superior strength & conditioning.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes are some of the fittest humans on earth – they have to be because it’s one of the most physically demanding and athletically challenging sports out there.

But you don’t have to grapple, kick and punch your way around a cage to train like an MMA fighter. If you simply want to improve your athleticism, enhance your conditioning and elevate your fitness level, then MMA-style training offers the ideal approach.

Strength, power, endurance
MMA demands superior strength, explosive power, speed and agility.

Athletes require the conditioning to be able to perform at a high output for multiple rounds that last anywhere from three to five minutes. This equates to sustained, often all-out intensity, which requires a blend of extraordinary endurance and stamina, coupled with brute strength.

That’s why MMA and fighter-style conditioning and training has become so popular recently, with everything from MMA conditioning classes to dedicated fighter-style gyms popping up around the country.

The core elements included in MMA training generally include three components, namely explosive power, maximal strength, and metabolic conditioning.

The MMA maximal strength workout

To develop these traits, it is important to first focus on building maximal strength with traditional compound exercises.

Superior maximal strength doesn’t just improve your performance directly, there’s also an indirect benefit as it makes you more efficient and increases your ability to sustain hard efforts.

Read more about the additional benefits you get from training for increased power and strength.

It is imperative to develop your strength base before trying to improve endurance. When you improve your maximal strength you improve your strength reserve: the difference between maximal strength and the strength needed to perform certain physical tasks.

MMA fighters look to build total body strength, which is why their workouts incorporate the traditional compound lifts, with each workout delivering a total-body session.

Try this workout to get MMA strong!
Move 1: Squats
5 sets x 3 reps

Move 2: Bench presses
5 sets x 3 reps

Move 3: Deadlifts
5 sets x 3 reps

Move 4: Military presses
3 sets x 5 reps

Move 5: Pull-ups
3 sets to failure

The explosive strength workout
Once you’ve established a solid base, you can then incorporate explosive strength training into your routine. Explosive strength is generally defined as the ability to produce maximum force in minimal time.

This also offers functional benefits to anyone who plays a power-based sport, or participates in activities like cycling or running where short bursts of speed are required to get you up and over short climbs.

Ideal forms of exercise include Olympic weightlifting, or variations thereof, and plyometric exercises are also beneficial. These include exercises such as jump squats, jump lunges, clap push-ups and box jumps.

Try this workout to develop explosive strength!
Move 1: Barbell squat jumps
5 sets x 5 reps

Move 2: Push presses
5 sets x 5 reps

Move 3: Jump shrugs
3 sets x 8 reps

Move 4: Clean pulls
3 sets x 8 reps

MMA Fitness & conditioning
The third and final element of a true MMA-style training plan includes elements of metabolic conditioning and endurance training. This usually takes the form of repeated intervals of high-intensity training, or HIIT.

This approach is ideal because it develops both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Intense intervals of traditional endurance training such as running or rowing can be combined with more recent forms of metcon training, such as sled pushes, battling ropes, sandbag carriers, and tyre flips, which can be combined to create sweat-inducing circuits.

Check out more great metcon workouts here.

By performing this short all-out full-body strength-power circuit, you’ll improve your anaerobic and aerobic conditioning, and will also develop the type of speed, power and strength endurance that is synonymous with the best MMA fighters.

Try out this lung-busting conditioning circuit!
Move 1: Tyre flips
Time: 1 minute

Move 2: Weighted sled push
Distance: 25m

Move 3: Battling ropes – alternating waves
Time: 1 minute

Move 4: Weighted sled pulls
Distance 25m

Move 5: Shuttle sprints
Distance: 2 x 25m
Repeat the circuit up to 3 times