MMA fighters are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world. This is because mixed martial arts requires complete exertion for several minutes at a time, something that’ll push most people’s anaerobic capacity over the top. This is why all of the top fighters undertake insane strength and conditioning programs–they would gas if they didn’t. Because of the highly anaerobic nature of MMA, it’s important to make note that preparing for it requires significantly more weight training.
When you first start lifting for MMA, you’ll want to build up a strong base. You should work with heavy weights, but do no more than 5 reps. This will prevent you from gaining too much muscle, but will also increase your strength through neurological conditioning. After you’ve built a strong base, which can take anywhere from three to six months, you can move on to powerbuilding exercises. Most of these exercises will work on muscular coordination moreso than muscle growth, which means that you’ll increase your functional strength and explosive power without getting much bigger in size. With the MMA weight classes, this is ideal.
There are a few ways that you can work on improving your explosive power. The first way is to utilize Olympic or power lifts. These include power cleans, snatches, and clean and jerks. These exercises will increase your strength and conditioning significantly. The only downside is learning how to do the complicated lifts; teaching yourself how to do a proper snatch can take a few weeks or more. The second way is with the use of plyometrics. These are somewhat similar in function to the olympic lifts, but they are also a good amount different. Plyometrics require that you constrict a muscle, extend it, and then constrict it again to release the elastic energy stored inside of it. That’s why they frequently use movements like depth jumps, which utilize multiple explosive steps. Due to the nature of the exercise, it’s very easy to harm yourself, so I don’t recommend doing these too often. It’s better to stick with Olympic lifts.
While training four anaerobic capacity is important, it’s also a good idea to work on your cardio. You should be running at least a mile a day, maybe two. Running, however, can be a fairly dangerous activity. Many people injure their knees or shins from excessive or incorrect running, so make sure you do it in moderation. If your legs hurt, then you shouldn’t run. Always listen to your body; it knows what’s best for you.
Gaining a good gas tank requires constant dedication and a good resource of information. That’s why you should check out MMA S&C Training, my site, to learn more about how to properly train for mixed martial arts, or any other sport for that matter.