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April 27, 2020 2 min read

The world of mixed martial arts is one of the most brutal in global sport. 

When fighters step into the octagon at the top level - the UFC - they know they’re putting themselves in considerable danger. 

To prepare for a fight, they’re training is physically and mentally demanding. Regimes vary for each fighter and trainer, but here’s a look at how some of the fundamentals are widely applied.

Cardio

All fighters need to build there stamina and endurance before competition. In MMA, it’s not typical to spend a long time jogging like boxers do.

Instead, they tend to focus on short, high-intensity intervals which help to develop fast-twitch muscle fibres. 

UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, for example, does regular Tabata intervals on a treadmill and has also been known to do circuit training with weights. 

Strength

Power is a key component to a top-quality fighter and it’s built in the weight room and through gymnastics training. 

Fighters will typically strength train on 2-4 days a week. They’ll lift heavy to build their chest, shoulders, back and legs.

The callisthenics work will target multiple areas of their body, as every area will be put under stress on fight night, and help to build core strength.

Technical Training

It obviously takes a phenomenal and well-rounded skill set to make it to the top, so fighters have to regularly work on many different areas of their technique.

They’ll spend time almost every day drilling, whether it’s through shadow boxing, wrestling, muay thai, jiu-jitsu or pad work.

You have to build an arsenal and keep every skill in top condition.

Sparring

The frequency of sparring in a training regime is an individual issue and can vary between athletes. 

Many in the UFC do it fairly infrequently. While they may roll or do some form of live training between fights, they might not spar until the final 10 weeks of a camp.

This is due to the risk factor. Taking heavy blows regularly in sparring could seriously impact the longevity of a fighter’s career.


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