If perfect fitness is what you are striving for, then you might want to consider picking up a habit or two from the training regimens of professional MMA fighters. While many may dream of standing inside the MMA ring, only a few can make it, the difference being in terms of training.
And even if you aren’t dreaming of becoming a professional fighter, training like an MMA fighter may give you that fantastic fit body you’ve always wanted.
Given that most MMA fighters were either ex-military members or star athletes at their colleges, it might seem intimidating to train like them. But no worries, we got you covered with these essential training tips.
1. Lock in Your Discipline
To start, you need to focus on a specific form of martial arts since MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts. While you can’t expect to become an expert at MMA overnight, you can try out one or two forms at first.
You will gradually find your passion. It is advised to start with Judo, Muay Thai or Taekwondo. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also an excellent way to begin. If you intend to go professional, then there three aspects that you must learn:
- Taking out the opponent
These techniques are an absolute necessity for the sport. While many experts say that it is necessary to be an all-rounder to go professional, it is not always so.
For instance, fighters like Royce Gracie rose to fame with their proficiency in just one discipline. Besides these, if you’re only looking to get in shape, it’s an enormous scope to burn calories while having fun with martial arts.
2. Join an MMA Gym
As obvious as it may seem, many aren’t aware that help from an instructor is essential to getting into MMA style training. When trying out plyometrics or circuit training, an instructor can help guide you and improve the productiveness of the entire training regimen.
While joining a regular gym can help, it’s best to look for a good boxing gym or one that specializes in the discipline you’ve chosen. There are “MMA gyms” that combine all forms and instruct accordingly too.
Nowadays, subscription to an MMA gym can cost around $100 or less. But if there aren’t any gyms nearby, you can always get your equipment and have a DIY gym built in your backyard or garage.
This can be an advantage if you don’t want to spend much money and train without time limits. Plus, there’ nothing more refreshing than working out in the presence of Mother Nature.
3. Endurance Training
Since the rest period between each round in MMA matches is just one minute, endurance training is critical. After all, to be able to perform a series of kicks or punches while nearing one’s stamina limit is strict. MMA fighters usually start training by jumping rope or jumping jacks and ease into heavier workouts.
This is done so that the body gets used to the blood pressure and rhythm of rapid movements. Whatever workout routine one follows, it is good to split it into five sets taking at least 30 seconds of break between each.
Taking long runs or jogging regularly can help improve your endurance as well. You should remember always to warm up beforehand and to stop immediately if any workout feels painful or unnatural.
4.Establish a Workout Routine
Routine and regularity are vital factors to master any form of martial arts. A good fighter’s workout routine includes both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. This includes jumping rope, sprinting, cycling, and heavy bag boxing.
Mixing up sprinting and heavy bag boxing can help improve your range and defense. Note that an MMA fighter’s training focuses more on techniques than on gaining size and muscle.
A 30-30-30 drill is an excellent way to get the routine into a habit. That means 30 seconds of speed, 30 seconds of power punches and 30 seconds on technique. You can incorporate any technique into this drill to amplify the results.
Also, a 15 seconds break between two drills will help you respond to your opponent quickly in a fight. It’s good to focus on either weight lifting or light exercises on alternate days. But a bit of both every day should be maintained.
There’s no need to go crazy with the weights in the first week. Once you get used to dumbbells, you can try kettlebell swinging and arm snatches. For beginners, it’s better to start with 10 to 15pound weights and gradually move up.
Arm snatches are supposed to help work your legs, hips, and shoulders. It also works on the core and thus acts as a full-body effecting exercise.
5. Fight the Heavy Bag
If you want to be like the badass MMA fighters, you can’t ignore the heavy bag. It’s included in all MMA fighter’s training sessions and acts as a simulation for the actual fight. Other than sparring with a partner, exercising with the heavy bag is as close to the real thing as it gets.
It might seem unnerving at first, but after kicking it a hundred times, you’ll get used to it. Be sure to wear boxing gloves and shin guards unless you want to condition your hands and shins explicitly.
Training with a heavy bag can help improve your hand and eye coordination, especially if you’re learning Muay Thai. It’s also a good cardio workout as it helps control your breathing and enhance stamina.
Choose a traditional Muay Thai heavy bag when buying one for personal use. Traditional ones tend to weight around 70-150 pounds. The length is usually 5-6 feet, and you can find heavier or lighter ones in the market.
While the traditional heavy bags help in all-around training, there are the teardrop bags, the wrecking ball bags, and heavy banana bags that each have their pros and cons.
6. Shadow Boxing and Core Training
The advantage of shadow boxing is that no equipment is necessary to do it. You can throw punches and practice different combinations while warming up for the regular training routine.
It is recommended to try shadow boxing for intervals of 5-6 minutes and gradually increase the time. It might seem tedious at first, but it gets fun if you use a mirror. Besides, most professionals always warm up by shadow boxing before a match.
Moreover, this also a fantastic cardio exercise. Core training is as much needed to train like a professional as shadow boxing. The core of your body is where your punches, kicks, and elbow shots get strength from.
So, it is crucial to continually improve your core muscles by switching up your core exercises from time to time. Implement core training at the end of your sessions to challenge your body.
Do sit-ups, box jumps, and bodyweight crunches. It might seem torturous at first, but if you don’t sweat in training, you’ll bleed in the combat.
7. A Healthy Diet and Nutrition
Your diet plan must be a part of your training if you want to train like the professionals. MMA style training is very intense and tiring. So, to maintain a balance, proper food is necessary.
After each training session, there’s a 30-minute window during which you should consume around 100-300 calories and some good protein. This is to help the body recover faster and decrease muscle soreness.
The ratio should be 3:1 or 4:1 in terms of carbohydrate to protein. Besides this, there is also another window of one to two hours after your workout. This post-workout window calls for a proper meal rather than just a protein shake or a snack.
The protein content for this meal should be more compared to the carbohydrates. Apart from this, you should drink lots of water to stay hydrated during the exercises. Men require a minimum of 3.7 liters, while women need 2.7 liters of water per day.
Match your calorie consumption to your body’s daily exertion level. It is good to take a day off occasionally and give the body time to rest and prepare. If there’s no scope to get a full course meal, supplements are good options.
But it’s better not to depend entirely on protein supplements. Experts suggest that supplementary proteins should be taken in between meals or mixed with the food. MMA fighters are supposed to have higher levels of stamina, power, and endurance than the average population.
Higher levels of stamina and power also call for more considerable attention to their dietary habits. So, you should plan out a proper food diet chart if you want to maintain a fit body like Demetrious Johnson.
The steps mentioned here are designed to help you obtain proper technique alongside strength. But as every person’s body is different, it’s always better to modify things according to your needs. By training like an MMA fighter regularly following these essential tips, your body is sure to have dramatic changes.