Minimalist Strength Training For MMA Fighters

Minimalist Strength Training For MMA Fighters

While there are literally tons of intricate routines specifically for “MMA Fighters” out these days, many of them trying to mimic the sport specific movements and components of the actual event, few are actually written by people who around real fights on a daily basis or who have actually trained and fought themselves. Strength training and conditioning are meant to increase an athletes GENERAL capacities, and any training outside of that realm is just plain nonsense.

As an MMA fighter, your objectives are to pracitce your sport and its components – boxing,muay thai,brazilian jiu jitsu,wrestling, judo, etc and to get really, really good at them. That alone will leave very little in the way of recovery time to do much else, therefore when doing our strength and conditioning work, your number one goal is to MAXIMIZE your time. Get strong, train various energy systems, and watch it translate on the mat or in the ring. If you do this WHILE concurrently practicing your sport, you will see vast improvements and be on your way to dominating your opponents.

But before we do anything, its important to understand what your needs really are as a fighter when it comes to strength and conditioning. Too many athletes are focused on the WRONG things and wonder why they are always tired, run down, and generally not seeing their hardwork in the weight room translate into the gym.

1) You need to be “generally” strong all over your entire body. While improving your squat or deadlift can certainly help you, all too often I see athletes focus all of their attention on just getting bigger numbers in the weight room and it hurts their performance BIG TIME.

2) You need to be able to handle your own bodyweight. I’m talking various push up variations (from the standard push up done CORRECTLY to more advanced variations, to handstand push ups, to recline rows, to being able knock out a ton of PULL UPS!

3) You need to train the body as one unit, and not as a bunch of separate bodyparts. Upper – Lower splits are fine, but for most MMA athletes I like to see them using total body sessions.

4) Get in and get out! If you are training striking and grappling for a total of 2-3 hours every day, then there is no need to be spending hours in the weight room! 30-40 minutes tops, and in some cases, as little as 15 minutes will be PLENTY to get in a great session.

For this program, you are going to NEED just 2 pieces of equipment, but if you have access to more then feel free to substitute anything else in. First, I recommend making a sandbag anywhere from 50-70{70bf3f0de345653d44762dc26ff670ad140dd79bcbd9067b668b28c6672699c3} of your own bodyweight. If you already have a lot of experience in the weight room, lean towards 60-70{70bf3f0de345653d44762dc26ff670ad140dd79bcbd9067b668b28c6672699c3}, if you’re new to all of this, go with a bag around 40-50{70bf3f0de345653d44762dc26ff670ad140dd79bcbd9067b668b28c6672699c3} of your weight. Next, all you’ll need is a pull up bar. Just these 2 things alone, along with your own bodyweight, is plenty to keep you improving for a long time. This is just a 2 day program, leaving plenty of time to get better at punching people and wrapping them up like a python on the ground.

day 1:

warm up: 3 sets done in a circuit
push ups x 10
squats x 15
sprawls x 10
reverse lunges x 10 (5 each side)
mountain climbers x 10 (5 each side

a1) sandbag clean and press 4×3-5
***clean the bag to the “rack” position on your shoulders and power it overhead. lower to the ground and repeat.

a2) mixed grip pull ups 4 x reps (stop 1-2 short of failure)
***use a different grip each set (overhand, underhand, towel, wide, close, etc)

b1) advanced push up variation (divebomber push ups, incline push ups, etc) 3x reps
***pick one TOUGH push up variation and stop 1-2 reps short of failure

b2) bent over sandbag rows 3×6-10
***just like a regular barbell row, maintain a flat back and explosively row into your abdomen.

c) sandbag bear hug squats x 20 total reps (try to do so in as few sets as possible)
***bear hug your sandbag and sit back just like a regular squat. Be sure to squat deep and maintain a flat back. Don’t let that chest cave!

day 2:
warm up: 3 sets done in a circuit
robot push ups (from plank position to push up position back to plank ) x 10
squats x 15
sprawls x 10
lateral lunges x 10 (5 each side)
groiners (bringing feet to outside of hands) x 10 (5 each side)

a1) sandbag shouldering 4×4-8 (2-4 each side)
*** rip the sandbag from the floor to one shoulder. lower to ground and repeat for other side.

a2) handstand push ups 4x reps
*** Kick your feet up onto a wall and use your arms to lower your self to the ground and back up. If you cant do a full handstand push up, just hold the static position for time.

a3) mixed grip pull ups 4 x reps
***like on day 1, try to use a different grip on each set. don’t get comfortable!

b1) sandbag bear hug reverse lunges 2×8-10 (4-5 each side)
*** bear hug the bag and perform reverse lunges in alternating fashion.

b2) sandbag bear hug goodmornings 2×8-10
***just like a regular goodmorning or romanian deadlift, bear hug the bag and push your butt back keeping your knees slightly bent and weight on your heels.

c) Carry for distance.
***Bear hug your sandbag and carry that sucker for distance. Try and cover at least 200′.