Mixed Martial Arts is probably one of the most complete sports you will ever meet .
And if you want to be a good MMA athlete, you have to be a complete athlete. You not only need strength and technique, but also endurance, flexibility and lots of other physical features developed with a considerable amount of training.
If you want to improve your strength and conditioning for MMA, you should definitely look into the five following tips:
1. Train specifically for MMA
As dull as it may sound, going to the gym, lifting weights like a bodybuilder and running 10 miles a day will not help you in MMA. Of course, it is better than nothing, but you still need a specific training regimen. What you should understand is that every sport requires a specific body that is usually determined by the rules of the sport themselves. The best example here involves running. A sprinter’s body doesn’t resemble a marathon runner’s body, and you won’t see the massive Justin Gaitlin win a 26 mile race with his type of physique. If you want to train strength and conditioning for MMA, do it like an MMA fighter, not like a power-lifter, football player or a sprinter.
Don’t forget the neck
And a strong neck in the ring or in the cage is a huge physical advantage. Think Ricardo Arona vs Quinton Jackson. A stronger neck might have prevented Arona from passing out from the slam. Strong neck muscles not only allow you to better survive a slam, they also prevent some common injuries in MMA. They make you less prone to neck cranks, enhance your ability to bridge, allow you to take punches better and much more.
Integrate circuit training into your routine
While lifting weights and doing regular cardio exercises such as running is necessary for an MMA athlete, circuit training should not be left out the picture.
You can do it twice a week and it will boost your specific strength and endurance. Try to integrate as much as you can exercises that simulate situations that you encounter in an actual fight and forget about the isolation exercises. Mixed Martial Arts techniques, especially when it comes to the ground game, tend to involve the whole body and not just a distinct group of muscles.
Develop a strong core
If you want to take it slow and focus only on a part of your body during strength training, that specific part should be your core. If it’s strong, you will be able to physically handle any situation that could occur in MMA. You need it when you are striking, you need it when you clinch, you absolutely need it for the takedowns and, without it, your ground game is equal to none. If you can get the core of a gymnast or, even better, the core of a wrestling champion, half of the strength work for MMA is already done.
Choose a diet that works for you. There is no universal recipe, so you will have to experiment a little in order to find out what’s good for you. Avoid sweets as much as you can, drink lots of water and stay healthy. You will feel the difference in the gym.