Functional training fighter in MMA

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Why are many fighters still training on methods that have long been outdated? And their inefficiency has long been proven. All these useless crosses and other endurance exercises are a waste of time.

The guys just need to explain that none of the types of mixed martial arts is related to aerobic sports. Therefore, any aerobic training is a waste of time and effort.

But, most fighters still arrange exhausting trainings for themselves, which train them more for a marathon than for a fight at maximum power of 5 minutes. And it is completely incomprehensible why everyone decided that a half-hour run would help to prevail in a short fight with a strong opponent. And how then to train?

MMA fighter functional training

This question is not difficult to answer. But first you need to understand what happens during the fight. Tournaments are different, and therefore the number of rounds of 2-4 minutes in it will vary. The whole duel you will have to be in motion: you will push and pull the enemy, squat, bend and make lunges. Do not forget about fixing the enemy, then you will have to be statically tense longer than your opponent will succeed.

So, even outside the ring, your training should be similar in structure to the fight itself. Moreover, this rule applies to all types of martial arts.

Now we need to determine the means for functional and strength training for MMA fighters.


Trainings should include a variety of exercises using: logs and tires, sand bags and stones, various barrels, sledgehammers and other, preferably uncomfortable items. The main goal of any strongman is to lift, carry, hoist somewhere or throw this heavy contraption.

Such exercises can be performed separately or included in a complex of other exercises. But if you decide to arrange a training session for yourself, “Strongman’s joy”, then it’s better to choose 5-6 exercises, during which your whole body will be involved. For instance:

– take a barrel or a sandbag on your chest , you can also perform a bench press;

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– hit the sledgehammer on the wheel,

– perform a “farmer’s walk”;

– turn over a heavy tire;

– pull a heavy load with a rope.

You can do the exercises as you like: by combining in a series or on approaches. How you will feel that it’s already easy for you, complicate it a bit: for example, give yourself a certain time (2-3 minutes) to complete the exercise, or try to do maximum repetitions during this time. And do not forget to take short recovery breaks.

Body weight

There is no need for experiments here either – we adhere to the concept of a fight, push up and crouch, perform pull-ups, “bear” and lunges, and even a “bear walk”. It’s a good idea to combine all this into a circular workout, and do them with or without pauses. The main advantages of such trainings are minimal time costs, the fact that you do not need special equipment, and also there is no reference to the time and place of employment.

Sled pulls

Another cool exercise in the functional training of MMA athletes is sledding. Here is a list of the most effective sled exercises:

– traction in sledges with advancement (sledpullup);

– traction of a heavy sled in a harness facing forward (sleddrug);

– performance of presses in sledges with promotion (sledchestpress);

– traction sled in running backwards (backwardsleddrug).

And if you combine these exercises in a series and at the same time devote 30 seconds to each, then you can greatly develop endurance. And for the development of explosive strength sled trainings will help, but with shorter approaches of 6-10 seconds and breaks between them for a minute and a half. It is necessary to do 4-12 approaches in each exercise.


So, we found out that ordinary jogging will not work. However, a sprint is useful. This type of training allows you to work at full capacity, and use the creatine phosphate and glycolytic energy supply mechanisms. Different types of aids are suitable here: run uphill or up the stairs, shuttle running, parachuting or harnessing will be effective.

To reduce the likelihood of injury, do not forget to stretch before the sprint. For this, you can also limit the speed in the first accelerations, and you need to increase the speed to the maximum gradually.

Training with Medballs

If you want to get endurance exercises and explosive movements right away, then training with medballs will help you. The ball must be chosen medium: not too light, but not too heavy. Athletes usually use 6-10 kg weightballs. By the way, the basic exercises with medballs for MMA fighters should be throws:

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– from the chest;

– because of the head;

– throw to the side with twisting;

– throws with one hand;

– with force on the floor.

The complex of different throws, done in 2-3 minutes at an intense pace, works best. And, of course, how, without interruptions for restoration?

Barbell complexes

Want to try a new one? Then these exercises are for you. Here the complexes are made up of several exercises that need to be done without interruptions. Often these complexes consist of 6-10 basic movements: these are squats and traction, bench presses, jerks or jerks. And in each exercise you need to do 5-6 repetitions.

MMA fighter functional training

The main thing is to do replays as quickly as possible. And never lower the bar to the floor for respite. For this exercise, the average athlete will have an Olympic neck of 20 kg. A set of exercises for MMA athletes:

– 4-5 rounds after a minute of rest;

– 5-6 X front squat;

 – 5-6 X “schwung”;

 – 5-6 X taking on the chest;

– 5-6 X jerk;

 – 5-6 X deadlift;

 – 5-6 X draft in an inclination.

If you want to track your progress, then note the time that it takes you to complete the round. You should start with a simple neck, and as you progress, increase the lifting weight. Because even for a trained athlete, 45-50 kg can become unbearable.

How to train to be an MMA fighter?

This round-robin training was written especially for you by Andreas Mikael  , the personal trainer of the Swedish fighter Alexander Gustafsson, who occupies the first line of the UFC light heavyweight official rating. Each exercise takes 1 minute, rest between exercises – 20 seconds, between circles – 1 minute. In total, you have 5 such circles of hell.

1. Bag Throws

  • Stand over the bag with your feet on either side of it.
  • Grab the bag and put it on your shoulder.
  • Immediately throw it on the ground with force and fall from above.
  • Repeat. Change your shoulder in every repetition.

2. Pull-ups and push-ups on the uneven bars

  • Do pull-ups for 30 seconds, and the next 30 seconds do push-ups on the uneven bars.
  • Gustafsson in his training uses an additional burden – a weight vest, but you can start simply with the weight of your own body.
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3. Squats with a barbell on the back

Raise and throw the opponent in the ring – it will require you to have steel legs and a strong back. Both will give you squats, so work like a real man.

  • Keep your shoulder blades flat, your back straight and do not tear your heels off the floor.
  • Lower yourself at least to the parallel of the thigh with the floor and come back.
  • Repeat until the end of the approach time.

4. Russian twists with a medball

  • Sit on the floor, lean back slightly and bend your knees 90 degrees.
  • Holding the medball with both hands, touch the floor ball to your right, and then turn the other way and touch the floor ball to your left.
  • Continue to the end of the approach time.

5. Vertical rope

  • Crawl up, trying not to help (or help to the minimum) with your feet.
  • Climbed to the very end, and time did not think to end? Go down in a controlled way, fingering, and rise again.

6. Folding bag

  • Put the heavy bag on the floor and approach it from the end.
  • With your legs slightly wider than your shoulders, sit down and, bending down, grab the bag from below.
  • Push him forward and up with force.
  • As soon as the inverted bag falls off the ground, run to it and repeat.
  • Continue to the end of the approach time.


Today we discussed the basic methods used in the functional training of MMA and other types of martial arts. As for the intervals between loads, it’s better to adjust everything to the timing of the fight in which you are going to participate. But this is not the main goal of your training. After all, often two minutes to lift and turn a heavy tire, 200 kilograms is much heavier and requires more strength than you will need in the ring.

Of course, accurate numbers are good, but don’t get too carried away. Even if you pull a continuous load of half a minute, this is already an excellent result. Not everyone can boast of such results.