MMA fighters train very hard, or at least most of them do. Much like a boxing program, MMA fitness involves strength, agility, and endurance training. Fighters are expected to be giving as much high energy output over three to five rounds. To meet this challenge they typically are forced to train much harder and longer than what they would experience in an actual fight if they want to be successful.
So how does this translate to the regular person? It converts very well actually. Most MMA fighters are fairly lean and powerful with useful muscle than can be used for explosive power as well as endurance. Agility and speed are trained giving many fighters a solid athletic base which can translate into a lot of other avenues if they so wish.
MMA Fitness Basics
Most MMA training is broken down into three basic categories. They have strength training, endurance training, and sparring.
Strength Training – Typically this isn’t standard gym work. There is more powerlifting and endurance work mixed in along with different things people use for training in other sports like boxing or wrestling to build strength in muscles that are used in fighting specific situations. Using a sledgehammer on a tire, long rope rolls, wind sprints, and all sorts of other training aspects (like what you see in training for Tough Mudder or in CrossFit) are utilized. As much as strength is needed, strength with endurance is needed more.
Endurance Training – This depends on the trainer but usually there is a high level of cardiovascular work required to be in top shape. This means jogging, biking, running stairs, and other types of cardio work are done regularly. Many athletes also incorporate circuit training styled exercises much as you would when training for a mud run or like in a CrossFit workout.
Sparring – Last but not least is the actual fighting training. MMA fitness is more than just physical conditioning but also applying it in striking (boxing and kickboxing), wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. This type of training often also involves a lot of muscle and endurance training from the repetitive actions taking place as well as cardio from working so hard.
So Does it Work?
After looking at the basic categories of a MMA fitness program you can tell that yes, it definitely can work. You have the opportunity to get in everything you would need to burn calories, drop fat, build muscle, add tone, increase endurance, and improve agility. Plus when you work in an MMA environment it is not the type of place the easily allows people to not give it their all. There is also a certain level of camaraderie that develops when training with others where you can help push each other. This training program will not build you a massive bodybuilder style physique however.
But, like any training program, you get out of it what you put into it. If you are in the gym 5 days a week giving it everything you have then you are bound to be more successful than the person who trains one to three days a week half-heartedly.