How to Get In Fighting Shape

The MMA 3 Minute Round Workout

This workout is a circuit that lasts three minutes – just like a boxing round. The idea is to spread the exercise stress around your body over that period so that you can maintain a high work rate and avoid any local muscular fatigue that would otherwise cause you to slow down or stop. As each round is three minutes long, you will be working your high-end aerobic system as well as your anaerobic system while developing muscular endurance. All in all, an effective and time-efficient way to train

Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds. Work as hard and as fast as you can but never at the expense of good technique. Do not rest between exercises but take a 60 second break on completion of the final station. Feel free to change the exercises to suit your current fitness level or make adaptations to the exercises so that you can perform them safely and with good form. Perform three to six laps of the circuit according to your fitness level and always warm up before and cool down after.








Kettlebell swings


Press ups


Half V sits


Medicine ball slams


Exercise Descriptions

One of the best whole body conditioning exercises around, burpees will quickly elevate your heart rate while working your arms, legs and core.

  • Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides
  • Squat down and place your hands in front of your feet
  • Jump your feet back into the press up position
  • Perform one press ups
  • Jump your feet back in and under your body
  • Leap up into the air
  • Land on slightly bent knees and repeat
  • For an easier workout, miss out the press up and/or jump

Skipping improves foot work, eye/hand/foot coordination and also improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness. If you can’t skip, perform jumping jacks instead.

  • Skip as fast as possible using a “running on the spot with high knees” style if possible
  • Make sure your rope is the right length to make skipping as easy as possible. Stand on the middle of your rope. The handles should reach your armpits. If the rope is too long, tie a couple of knots in it. If it is too short, discard it and get another

Kettlebell swings
Hip and lower back power is essential in MMA for throws, kicks and punches. Kettlebell swings will improve the power of your hips and also elevate your heart rate. If you don’t have a kettlebell, use a single dumbbell instead.

  • Grasp a kettlebell with both hands
  • Bend your knees slightly, lift your chest and arch your lower back slightly
  • Hinge forwards from your hips and lower the kettlebell between your knees
  • Drive your hips forward and use this momentum to swing the kettlebell up to just above shoulder-height
  • Let the kettlebell swings back down as you simultaneously return to your starting position
  • Try to establish a powerful rhythm and stick to it for the duration of your set

Press ups
This classic exercise targets your chest, shoulders, triceps and core. If you need an easier option, bend your legs and place your knees on the floor. Fitness studs should elevate their feet or perform clapping press ups instead.

  • Squat down and place your hands on the floor with your fingers pointing forwards and around shoulder-width apart
  • Walk your feet back until your shoulders, hips and heels form a straight line
  • Lift your chest, tense your core and bend your arms. Lower your chest to the floor
  • Drive your body back up to full arm extension
  • Do not allow your lower back to sag during this exercise!

Half V sits
Ab conditioning is a big part of any MMA fighters exercise routine. This exercise involves all aspects of the abs as well as being a complex exercise which will keep your heart rate elevated.

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms extended at shoulder level. Your body should resemble a T shape when viewed from above
  • Sit up and simultaneously lift one leg up toward the ceiling. Reach up and across and touch your foot with your opposite hand
  • Return to the starting position and then perform another rep to the opposite side
  • Continue alternating sides rep by rep

Medicine ball slams
Your final exercise will make you dig deep and unleash your inner MMA fighter! Medicine ball slams work your entire body in a very explosive fashion. For best results, use a minimal bounce medicine ball and not a gel-filled ball as these are prone to splitting.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a medicine ball in your hands
  • Raise the ball above your head

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