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Undoubtedly the best-known name in MMA is Connor McGregor, and he’s achieved his fame through hard work, personality and smart training. 

The Irishman’s training ideas are of interest for athletes in all sports and can be applied far wider than the world of fighting.

His programme has been built with the assistance of top sports scientists, and here’s a look at some of the key principles.


McGregor trains differently for each fight depending on who is in front of him and what kind of fight he expects it to be.

But he core approach that he follows is the Fighter Aerobic/Anaerobic System of Training (F.A.S.T.).

F.A.S.T. essentially involves a mix of high-intensity intervals with longer sustained aerobic workouts which are completed in specific heart rate zones. This type of training is also known as polarised training, where the long aerobic sessions are highly controlled to ensure the athlete is not working too hard and therefore can recover adequately.


Variety is key to everything McGregor does. He has claimed in the past that he doesn’t follow a strict routine, and instead basically does what he wants.

"I'll hit the gym or whatever I feel like at that particular time, or I'll take a class of taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, yoga, or capoeira,” he says. “Sometimes, I'll box. Variety is the best way. For me, regimen doesn't work."

Avoid Machines

McGregor has also stated that he tries to avoid using machines for strength work to try and maintain a good range of movement. 

He wants to be able to move naturally and build his stability, so therefore sticks to free weights.


A key pillar behind McGregor’s training that shouldn’t be overlooked is the amount of time he puts into stretching and mobility work. 

He’ll do entire sessions based on dynamic stretching, static stretching or locomotion control.

"It's not about lifting heavy and sparring hard,” he has explained in the past. “It's about the body being loose and flexible and having great balance; that's the basis of martial arts. That's what I'm doing. I'm trying to learn all the ways the human body can move.”

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