If you are training MMA or planning on getting into the cage, you not only need to be technically skilled, you need to have cardio and muscle stamina as well. Strength and conditioning training is just as important as your technique. You may have the best technique but how useful is that technique if you do not have the strength or energy to use it? While training MMA you need to be physically capable of imposing your will on the opponent, throwing powerful punches and kicks, absorbing impact, and be able to resist a constant application of force. You also need to be able to move quickly and have enough endurance to maintain this high level of performance for 5 five minute rounds.
When choosing a strength and conditioning training routine for training MMA it is best to keep it as simple as possible. Exercise selection for strength phase includes deadlift, front and back squat, overhead squat, military (strict) press, bench press, different modification of rows, pull ups (weighted or bodyweight), and various core exercises. The basic principle is to include movements like pull, push, lift, squat, and twist/rotate.
Here is an example of a strength and conditioning routine:
3 circuits with 10 reps each (or 3 sets of 10 reps each) in quick but controlled motions with enough resistance to be challenging.
- Burpee Pull Ups – From standing, drop to a push up position, do a push up, jump up to the pull up bar and do a pull up.
- Windshield Wipers – Lay flat on a mat, holding a barbell straight above your chest. Keep your core tight and legs straight and swing them back and forth to try and touch either side of the barbell.
- Seated Cable Rows – While seated on the cable row station, keep your back straight and pull the small, triangular double-handled attachment to your midsection.
- One-Legged Cable Kickback – Attach an ankle strap to the cable at the bottom setting of the cable crossover machine and strap it firmly to your ankle. Support yourself with one arm or keep your hands on your hips to maintain a firm core while you kick the leg back, activating your glutes. This exercise can also be done lying on a bench with both ankle straps attached to one cable for a more BJJ-specific motion.
- Hip Adductor – On the hip adductor machine, squeeze your legs together and release.
Even if you do not plan on fighting strength and conditioning will improve your performance on the mat.
Robert Richardson (AKA Bobby Rich)
Elite Training Center
1628 South Pacific Coast Highway,
Redondo Beach, CA 90277