Mixed martial arts are gaining enormous popularity these days, although they have existed for centuries now. When watched on television they may seem like brutal fighting and noting more, but in the background there is a lot more to them than just fighting. To get in the shape they are, fighters go through very rigorous workout and conditioning sessions.These people push themselves to the edge of their physical and mental toughness to see what their bodies are capable of.
What about people that don’t want to become martial artists and fight? Well, mixed martial arts workouts can really show you what an intense conditioning workout is all about, they can shed light on principles that will benefit anyone that wants to put on muscle, lose fat and improve their overall fitness level.
While bodybuilding is all about appearance and bodybuilders work with weights to put as much muscle mass as possible, mixed martial artists are athletes and as such – they must train like athletes. MMA workouts are designed to get them in superb physical shape, increase their strength and explosiveness.
Besides the bodyweight and weightlifting workouts with barbells and dumbbells that are used in bodybuilding, a good MMA workout also has some or all of the listed training tools.
1. Sandbag workouts
The heavy sandbag should have a place in every MMA workout. Because its shape is not fixed like the barbells and dumbbells, the bag is an excellent tool for developing overall strength,endurance, muscle coordination and grip strength. You can use it for presses, squats, deadlifts, snatches and cleans instead of barbells or dumbbells.
2. Kettlebell workouts
They are specially designed for fighters are probably one of the best tool for developing strength and explosiveness. Kettlebells allow different exercises to be incorporated into a workout other than the standard exercises with dumbbells. The Turkish get-up for example, is perfect for grapplers and was made by Turkish wrestlers about a century ago.
3. HIIT workouts
High intensity interval sprinting is a perfect way to build the endurance and explosiveness that MMA athletes need and also a great way to warm up for the MMA workout. HIIT sprints are also a great way to burn excess body fat fast.
4. Circuit Training
This is a great workout technique to get a lot of work done in a minimal period of time. When doing a circuit, try to do the “biggest bang for the buck” exercises. Instead of doing isolation exercises like curls, extensions and flyes choose multi-joint compound movements that target more muscle mass. Do a whole circuit followed by 45-60 seconds of rest. Do 2-3 of these circuits in a workout.
A sample circuit:
Pull ups/Chin ups
Clean and press
5. Burpee workout
The burpee is a simple exercise that makes all the muscles in the body work like a single unit. The exercise becomes very demanding after a certain number of reps and it builds strength and stamina the legs, torso, shoulders, chest and arms. Many MMA fighters use the burpee as one of the basic movements to their conditioning workouts because of its effectiveness.
6. Rope climbing
A very tough exercise that builds extreme grip strength and muscle in your back and arms.
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Start light and slowly increase the intensity and weights when you feel ready. Remember, you don’t have to be a fighter to rip the benefits of MMA workouts and get into mixed martial arts shape.