How To Train Like An MMA Fighter

MMA or Mixed Martial Arts was made famous by celebrities such as Jason Statham with their high energy approach to fighting. MMA blends elements of several martial arts plus street fighting for a workout that’s bound to leave bruises.

This isn’t like karate with its graceful routines or judo’s wrestling style: it’s more unpredictable and grueling because you don’t know what approach a person is trying to use. Trainers say the workout is difficult on two levels: physically and mentally. Here’s how you too can train like an MMA fighter with no previous experience.

Fighting MMA Style

In an MMA fight on screen you’ll notice there don’t appear to be any rules. Opponents kick. They punch, jump, run, and swivel in mid-air. Many of the moves demonstrate technical finesse unlike a dirty punching contest in a back alley; most boxers don’t execute high kicks like Jackie Chan.

Then again, MMA can get really dirty. Participants learn to defend themselves but to be versatile and extremely fit. Having quick reflexes is great but the ability to punch and kick harder than the next guy makes you really formidable and, in Hollywood, even bankable.

Getting Started

Sip an energizing drink or eat a small, high-protein meal a half hour before beginning. Make sure it contains beta alanine to release energy and cell-rejuvenating vitamins plus minerals. You don’t want to start on a full stomach so give yourself a short while to let your body feel the action of creatine to stimulate energy.

Every workout begins with a warm up. Your muscles don’t want to go from cold to hot in a few seconds: they need to get used to the idea you are about to pulverize them. If you don’t give them this opportunity to start slowly, they will cramp up or you will suffer injury.

Start with energetic movements: running or dancing, for instance. The aim is to get warm in a hurry since the MMA training routine isn’t supposed to take long. Prepare for a high intensity round of interval exercises.

Interval Training

The pros use this high-energy method to get into shape with and without weights. You can do several repetitions of pushups, burpees, jumping squats, or jumping jacks. Move on to cardio movements with weights in your hands like overhead presses, squats, and T-stands. Don’t skimp on a movement: you will only be cheating yourself. Move through the whole range of motion whether you use kettle bells, free weights, or your own body weight.

Buy yourself a punching bag or head to a gym that supplies one to members. Execute various punches until you feel out of breath and before moving on to another move. Don’t stop completely between these sessions: rest but keep walking or running on the spot. Allow only 30 seconds and then get back to work: MMA opponents aren’t that generous.

Some moves should focus on flexibility, like kicks. Practice holding in your core for protection and kicking a target as high as you can. At first, you might only kick to about waist height but with consistent practice you will add an inch every week before finally kicking to head height. Add a target and challenge yourself to execute more precise kicks when you feel ready for a new challenge. Support your goal with stretching after every workout.

Pick a Fighter

Go online and find out how professional trainers work out. They show would-be MMA fighters how they get on any average day or can introduce you to fitness regimen spread out over several weeks. They don’t hold your hand, so if you have a weak constitution and can’t handle being pushed, this is not the fitness style for you. MMA trainers ask a lot of their students.

How To Train Like An MMA Fighter
Rate this post

Todd Stohrdahl

Todd Stohrdahl keeps a close eye on fitness topics and will never turn down an opportunity to play competitive sports. He's a fierce competitor and brings his "hustle and muscle" mentality to our editorial team.