Is MMA Conditioning a Priority for You?

If not, then you may want to consider making it one. Lets take a look at why MMA conditioning is so important.

Imagine yourself entering into a Mixed Martial Arts competition. You have been training in BJJ, Boxing, Muay Thai and Wrestling for years. You know every technique in the book. Your striking is crisp, your takedowns are unstoppable, and you have a scary ground game.

You step into the cage knowing that you have the skill to beat this guy. Then a question creeps in “Should I have spent more time on MMA conditioning?” Before you can think of an answer you hear the sound of the horn.The fight has begun. Right off the bat you land a few sharp jabs and then take your opponent down with such a fast single leg that he does not even have a chance to defend it. From the ground you work your magic. You are in control and feel like victory will be yours.

Things start to change when you notice that with each scramble you seem a little slower, a little less in control. You are starting to feel short of breath and soon enough the tables are turned on you. The other man gets up to his feet and the referee tells you to stand. You are now noticeably gassed and the guy you are fighting sees it.

He attacks aggressively and you are stuck defending because you don’t have the energy to mount an offence. Your arms feel heavy and are starting to drop bit by bit as the moments pass. He throws a left hook and your hand is down.

You wake up back stage with an answer to your question and a splitting headache.

O.K. I know we all like stories with happy endings, but that one really drives home the point. If you run out of gas in a fight, it does not matter how skillful in MMA you are, you are going to have a bad day.

How do we prevent that from happening? Through a well-rounded MMA conditioning program.

The program must develop…

  • Aerobic capacity
  • Anerobic capacity
  • Strength
  • Functional Strength
  • Power
  • Muscular Endurance

The main ways to develop these attributes is through…

  • Running
  • Sprinting
  • Weight Lifting
  • Functional Exercises
  • Plyometrics

Where to start? The best place is where you are the weakest.

Do I gas out easily? Am I not exceptionally strong? These are the kind of questions to ask yourself so that you know where you should be spending the most time.

Remember that you are only as strong as your weakest link.

Not to say that you should neglect your strong areas. You should continue to work on them also.

So with a little thought you should be able to come up with a MMA conditioning program that will eliminate your weaknesses and bolster your strengths.

Remember, if you are in better shape than your opponent, even if he has an edge in technique and skill, the odds are greatly stacked in your favor. Because once he runs out of gas, his amazing technique will simply disappear.

  1. Cazador October 13, 2007 at 9:35 pm

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  2. mmaguy November 6, 2007 at 9:30 am

    This is a great site. I just wanted people to know that I actual condition myself at a gym here in Hoboken called Club KO. Although they are primarily a kickboxing gym, they manage to create hour long workouts that mix in mma type training (i.e. sprawls and shrimpin’). I have to say that the workout they provide has made my conditioning superior to the guys that I actually train with. My advice to anyone that is thinking about competing in MMA is to find a great cross training workout to supplement your actual sparring and training which don’t always build up your cardio endurance!

  3. joe March 26, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    hey im 5’7″ and a 137 pounds with about a 13% bodyfat and im brand new to mma (or any fighting competition to mention). How can i prepare myself for this sport and what areas of training do i need to focus on

  4. Palladin April 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    I am 17 years old and i am interested in starting a MMA career but there are no gyms or dojo’s in my area (50 miles from no where).
    and my parents wont let me join any amiture compititions until i have my own insurance.
    but evan if they did im not in the phisical shape i need to be loking for pointers of any kind and i plan to start by age 19.

  5. Matthew May 7, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    im 17, 190 bout 20% body fat and looking for quick results but i dont know where to start! i know alot of BJJ and starting boxing and plan fighting amatuer when i turn 18 but im not in “PEAK CONDITION”. i wanna shed some poundage and improve my BMI but thats where i get lost, got any pointers?

  6. Drew June 17, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Hey im 15 about 180 bout 15% body fat and looking for some advice how i shud take out my opponent with taking a large amount of time to do it???

  7. Drew June 17, 2008 at 11:03 am

    i forgot to add i am trying in MMA

  8. Cody June 29, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Great tips, I find Swimming every other day for an hour, and running on a bike every other day for an hour does wonders for Cardio. When I first started training I was 5″10′ (almost 5″11′) and weighed 186. Im now 16 and I weigh 162. I would like to get to 155. Another big component in my workout is my diet. I only take in good carbs and high protein.

  9. Marks July 15, 2008 at 1:56 am

    great article. People have to learn that to become a good MMA fighter, or any other in fact, then conditioning should be a priority with fighting technqiue. Without good conditioning it does not matter if youre superman, after three minutes you will not have the stamina to show your ability.

  10. vet34 August 3, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    you young guys should join your highschool wrestling team for some cheap and valuable experience. also to get into good shape its about what you think. eat healthy, lots of lean protein, run, and lift weights.

  11. ben September 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    buy some gym membership.

    To build strength do low reps of high weights (4 sets wiv 6-8 reps of 15kg or whatever pushes you).

    Give a day or two rest in between each muscle building workout or you’ll get nowhere.

    For muscular endurance do low weights in high reps. (8-10kg – 15 reps, 4+ sets)

    By the way. for best effect eat or drink high protein / milk or supplements. Pre and post workout. or either.

    For quick speed bursts practice sprinting and creatine will give you more bursts of energy for longer.

    Also for the weights, every other week or so add the weights so you lifting more as the weeks go by.

    I can’t stress how much your diet has to do with it.

    There is no quick solution, just stick to it and it will come. heres a link for you

  12. REYNOLD CHARLES... September 27, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    i was defeated in my first mma fight via Decision. I lost, i taught that i have a complete conditioned armor. But during the fight I found out that it’s not enough. SO basically, BASED on your article, I only have anaerobic and aerobic capacity. MY strength, power, functional strength and MUSCLE endurance are limited. in general I am not fully conditioned.

  13. joshua November 20, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    hey im 19 5`7 i been boxing for about 3 years interested in mma and looking for some tips for muay tai and etc. im good in weight training and endurance, now i need help getting to the next step or what i should do next. i plan on training for 2 more years…. any advice?

  14. JMT January 11, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Anyone interested in MMA should definately try to find a school that trains in Ju Jitsu. Ju Jitsu is the basic component needed to do MMA. I mean if you watch UFC fights on T.V., where the fights usually end up? On the ground. Therefore, your ground game must be at its top notch. Now I’m now saying that your stand up game, or fight game should be lacking. If you can knock a dude out without going to the ground, then I say go for it. So basically your objective should be to be flexible. Having an awesome stand up and ground game. But, you must also be in shape. I have found that Interval Aerobics and circuit training are the best. I wish all of you good luck.

  15. Edmund January 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I read some of the above statements and I agre that a person that wants to fight should be in good shape with muscle capacity and endurance but it said that excellent technique is overcome by being in better shape, and essentially wearing out the opponet. Every sensei I have ever trained with though has said that technique overcomes power and that any fight that goes beyond a minute both people lose. When technique is perfected and the mind is focused you should be able to analyse your opponet and exceute finishing blows quickly and accurately. Obviously there are the select that seem to be extremely difficult to injure but everyone has a weakness and a flaw to their style. Overall I feel that speed and accuracy with a sound mind is the ultimate tool over strength, endurance, grab and smash. Once again I am not saying that building your body isnt important just think there are other factors. I personally have come on here myself to try and find a work out regiment for that is deff my weakness. My size and strength would be my weakness but I have had little trouble so far with counter acting that with flexibility, speed and focus..but it doesnt mean that I wont be overcome at some point. Input?

  16. werret January 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Hey. Explosive training is a good option. Also combination exercises such as push ups (fast up, slow down) then directly after jogging on the spot with sprawls and stability holds for like 2 min. THEN u rest. :-). Make sure to do allot of sprints too not just jogging coz u want ur heart rate to increase as much as possible. High intensity weight lifting should also help for building some muscle. Hope this helps

  17. James June 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Also want to point out to keep your bodyfat real low maybe around 10% or less if possible. Fat has no function and adds weight. For example if you are 200lbs with 15% bodyfat (healthy) that is 30lbs of extra weight you have to carry around while you are kicking bags, sparring etc. I used to do an intermittent fast on days I didn’t train and lost about 10lbs in a month the results were pretty dramatic I was doing pushups and jumps with ease and didn’t tire, simply from losing 10lbs. Of course do it right don’t sacrifice strength.

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