In the beginning, people just lifted heavy weights using the most basic compound movements and the result was stronger bodies and bigger muscles. As things like diet and supplements came into the picture, feats of strength wasn’t as much the name of the game as was building the perfect physique of muscular size and symmetry.
Athletes began utilizing the many benefits of weight training to enhance their sport specific performance; cross-fit training then became the next craze for more “functional” strength and conditioning to the point where it’s widely known and utilized in the general public.
Now there is MMA weight training. Mixed martial arts, or MMA, may be the most complex sport in terms of training a fighter’s strength and conditioning to optimal levels. MMA weight training, unlike most sports or forms of weight training, requires the martial artist to develop virtually every benefit that weights can possibly provide. Power lifters for example, need only train to have maximum power in lifting the heaviest weight possible for 1 rep for a particular lift. Things like muscular endurance doesn’t apply much to these athletes.
Football players mainly need explosive power and quickness as well, with habitually long rest periods in between plays allowing players ample time to recover, and usually players don’t have to have much concern with maintaining a particular body weight.
MMA fighters, however, need to have strength, power, strength and power endurance, relative strength, muscular endurance, speed, and both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. This is why MMA weight training needs to be very thought out and specific.
MMA fighters who only train their strength, or only train their strength endurance, or only train their power, etc, will be VERY limited in terms of reaching their full potential as fighters.
Here are some of the most important tips to remember when it comes to MMA weight training:
– Building absolute strength (1-3 rep maximum) should be an ongoing process. The stronger you are, the more potential you have to build power, speed, and explosiveness
– Though absolute strength is important, it should serve as the foundation and “pre-training” before weight training specifically for a fight
– As you build more strength in the basic lifts, begin adding power exercises such as cleans, dumbbell swings, high pulls, push press, etc. This is mainly the type of muscle movements you would use in a MMA fight
– After you have developed sufficient strength and power with basic lifts and power lifts, begin developing strength and power endurance – the ability to continuously exert maximum strength and power of long periods of time
– Mix your MMA weight training exercises with your cardiovascular conditioning exercises into circuits that mimic the rounds in a fight – remember, conditioning includes both muscular and cardiovascular
– Don’t just do exercises for the sake of doing them, learn about the most important muscles to develop as a MMA fighter and which exercise best develop them and what the best way of performing them are
Last but not least, mix it up and have fun with it. The great thing about MMA weight training is that because you need to develop every type of strength and conditioning possible, there are so many different exercises and workouts you can do. Just make sure you know the purpose of each exercise/workout and that you are developing the strength and conditioning most needed depending on when you fight.
Derek Manuel has been involved in MMA and physical fitness for over 12 years. He is in the process of becoming certified as NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) to train professional fighters and athletes. When he is not training he is discovering the fastest way to both efficiently and effectively improve physical strength, conditioning, and overall performance as an MMA fighter. To see Derek’s reviews of the top MMA strength and conditioning programs on the market, visit: http://www.BestMMATrainingWorkouts.com