Strength and Conditioning for MMA Fighters


Strength and conditioning for MMA Fighters are literally evolving every day. No longer do the bests MMA Fighters log hours of jogging on the road, or hit the gym like a bodybuilder to add muscle to their weight-conscious frames. Top fighters today themselves into super-athletes capable of excelling in many sports. Multi-sports athletes follow specific strength and explosiveness in order to destroy any fighter they are likely to face-off against in the Octagon.


In order to maximize the potential of an MMA Fighter, their strength and conditioning programs should be centered on two main concepts, maximum strength and maximum speed. Maximum strength is performing a movement with as much weight as possible, while maximum speed is performing a movement with as much velocity as possible. Collectively focusing on maximum strength and maximum speed will give a fighter the best chance to defeat their opponent.

MMA fighter


MMA Fighting is primarily an anaerobic exercise with many quick, explosive bursts of movement followed by a set recovery period. In order to prepare for a fight, the anaerobic system must be trained specifically to perform repeated bouts of high intensity activity while recovering as quickly as possible.

Sprint and plyometric intervals are ideal training options as they immediately drain your anaerobic energy system and then force you to recover and repeat it again. Start out with rest intervals of 5:1 and the drop it every few weeks leading up to the fight to 4:1, 3:1, 2:1 and then finally to 1:1 a few weeks out before the fight.


For strength training, fighters should focus on 1.) RECOVERY 2.) CORRECTIVE EXERCISES, and 3.) MAXIMUM STRENGTH when they are several months out from a fight. As the fight nears, they should begin to drop the weight and increase the number of repetitions and maximum speed of the movement. A fighter is concerned with creating as much controlled power as possible when throwing a jab, hook, les kick or when attempting to complete a submission, or other MMA movement.


Force is merely a combination of strength and speed, so by creating maximum strength a few months out from a
punching bag
fight, a fighter then can taper his training leading up to a fight, focusing on converting that strength to power by doing exercises with less weight and maximum speed.

As a reminder, supplementation should always complement any workout practice. For MMA fighters a stack of Protein and Branched Chain Amino Acids should always be kept as a staple. Creatine has also shown to improve recovery after weight training and intense exercise.