MMA: Get In Fighting Shape Today
Recently, a female friend and I discussed the things guys like to read about. She wisely said, “MMA.” I answered, “Fighting, all kinds of fighting.” She laughed, so here we are with a workout to get you in “fighting shape.”
MMA is the biggest fighting circuit in the world. It’s outpacing boxing with every step, and the dudes who fight on this circuit are big. Some of them aren’t cut necessarily — they’re just big, hulking monsters.
There’s no way to get around the thought of, “If I got in there I would die.” At least boxing looks attainable. MMA looks downright scary — and yet cool at the same time.
With that in mind here is a compilation workout for Mixed Martial Arts. If you’re thinking of just taking up sparring, it’s still a good idea to get into fighting shape.
It’s fun, cool and healthy all at the same time. Put out of your mind the scenes from “Rocky” with Sly Stallone running in sweats and punching meat, and remember you don’t get your own theme song.
Just enjoy the workout. This may take you to the next level of your fighting ambitions — or simply help you drop that pesky “last 15.”
Randy Couture Says
You can get into good fighting shape with a barbell and some spare time. A standard barbell weighs 44 lbs — empty — start there.
While filling the barbell is cumbersome, it is also the best way to increase your effort and maximize your workout as you get stronger. However, if you don’t have weights to add to the bar — you’ll still get a great workout.
Randy recommends performing 8 reps of each exercise 3 to 5 times. I think the workout is described best when he says, “Do 3-5 sets depending on how much you feel like puking.” You get to choose how far you push, so you are comfortable with the workout.
Randy also recommends that you keep a grip on the bar the entire time. This means you will have constant contact with the bar, and you’ll work very hard at grappling.
Since MMA is a sport that involves grappling — that’s good for you. The better you can grapple, the better you can grapple a big dude and pummel him.
Bent Rows – Bend over at a 30 to 40 degree angle and grasp the bar at shoulder width. Lift the bar to your midsection quickly and then control it back down. This one is great for your back.
Upright Rows — Stand up straight with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar down with your arms extended and lift the bar to your chin and down in a quick but controlled manner. You’ll feel it in your traps and shoulders especially.
Military Press – Hold the bar in front of your face and press the bar up. Nearly extend your arms and come back down to your face quickly without losing control of the bar. This is a great shoulder workout — period.
Good Morning — Place the bar behind your neck — still grappling it beyond shoulder width. Lean forward at a 30 to 40 degree angle and push the bar as you stand straight. Lean only from your waist and do not move your arms or legs. You’ll get a real burn in your lower back and hamstrings.
Squats — Keep the bar behind your neck. Split your legs placing your right front in front. Squat with the bar in position. After 8 reps, move your left foot in front and perform 8 more reps. Your quads, hamstrings and glutes will thank you.
Squat, Push, Press — Squat with the bar behind your neck. Push up on your legs and immediately press the bar over your head. Lower the bar to your neck then squat and repeat. This is really a shoulder exercise — but you’ll feel it in your lower body as well.
Deadlift — Keep your legs straight and hold the bar in front of you with your back straight and arms extended. Do a simple dead lift by lowering your body and back up keeping your arms extended. This is great for your lower back and lower body.
You Can Invest in Equipment
There is some equipment on the market that could greatly enhance your at-home workouts, if you want to take your training to the next level. The equipment is simple, but effective.
Heavy Bag — The heavy bag is a standing punching bag. Though it ranges anywhere from $100 to $200, it is a great investment for training. Any fighter can use this bag in any room of the house — and you don’t have to hang it from the ceiling. This is especially helpful if you have no way to spar.
Jump Rope – Though it’s cliche it’s an easy way to get your heart rate going. This is the kind of workout that will push your cardio and make sure you’re not just going “meathead” all the time. Fighting takes cardiovascular endurance, and jumping rope is an easy way to get there.
Ab Wheels – They might cost you $10 to $20, but they will more than pay for themselves in your abs. Though they are simple, they are effective. The simple rolling motion of the device allows you to work your abs as well as your arms and shoulders.
These devices could be worked into a circuit at home during a workout. They could also substitute for your lack of a barbell — for Randy Couture’s workout, for example.
If you’re devising a circuit at home you will want to work in intervals you can handle. Going “berserk” and trying for 10 minutes on each discipline, will either injure you or kill you.
If you are actually doing any form of fighting, it would be smart to workout in the same time intervals you will be fighting. If you are fighting in 3- minute rounds — then workout in 3-minute intervals.
Working too long will only put you at greater risk for injury.
Then You could Drag Your Butt to the Gym
If you need the discipline and structure of the gym, then you need to be ready to work your tail off. There are many ways to build strength, but building strength for fighting, in the gym, takes some very specific workouts.
It’s typically recommended that you stick with: Power Cleans, Bench Presses, Squats, and Deadlifts. Because these four exercises are the “recommended” weight training, it only makes sense that you would also do other exercises while at the gym.
Most folks say you should be lifting for strength 3 days a week. A simple example would be lifting Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You want to set up your lifting so it increases and decreases in an “arc” fashion throughout the week.
If you are taking 3 sets of 3 reps of “Power Cleans” on Monday you should increase to 5-6 sets on Wednesday. Decreasing back to 3 sets on Friday prevents you from pushing too far and injuring yourself. It also allows your body time to cope with heavy lifting.
If you enjoy running, then you may want to do some running on the treadmill to cool down. If running isn’t your thing, then you may want to hit a “Group Ex” class for some cardio work.
The greatest fault you can have is to only build muscle and neglect your cardiovascular health. You could be the biggest, strongest dude in the ring, but you’ll get knocked out if you’re tiring halfway through rounds because you have no cardiovascular endurance.
The best approach, then, is a combination of working out at home and at the gym. Emphasize both cardio and strength at home and at the gym. You’ll not only be strong, but you’ll be able to hold up during a long fight.
Create a workout that works for you — even if you don’t plan on fighting. When the chips are down, it will keep the boogeyman — or other potential “unfriendlies”– away.