How to Train Conditioning for MMA – 8 Effective Methods and Tips

There are many people and fighters who love to have a more conditioned body for MMA. If your lungs and respiratory system can have slightly more capacity and face more resistance, it can make a huge difference during sparring, match.

A while ago I decided to write an article about the topic and while I was doing a research, I saw great articles however these have some really important missing points and methods. And in this writing, you can find them and some tips which you have never heard of!

1. Do Classic Conditioning Exercises

Heavy bags exist for decades. So is jumping rope, running, speed bag and many other exercise types. Because these work just fine. So before you get into any fancy stuff, make sure that you can do these exercises with different techniques (punching a speed bag with right-right-left-left, triplet rhythm etc.) at a high intensity.

Basics are just essential for MMA fighters.

How to Train Conditioning for MMA

2. Plyometrics (Medicine Ball, Battle rope, burpees…)

In the ring, you need to use your muscles in an efficient way. Your body, heart, lungs need to have endurance while you are using strength and exerting a great amount of energy at the same time. And these are the reasons why plyometrics became insanely popular since many plyometric exercises provide these at the same time.

3. Interval Training

After all, you don’t improve your conditioning for a long-distance running. You need to go hard for 5 minutes in the ring or sparring. So do all of your MMA conditioning exercises in a certain time interval and always push yourself!

You can do sessions which last 5 minutes. As you may know, punching bag, battle rope, speed bag, mitt drills are just perfect for it.

4. Outdoor Workouts

Constantly changing environment increases variation and challenges your body and lungs more. While you are running, working out… this provides more intensity. These improve your cardiovascular endurance so definitely do at least some of your sessions outdoors.

5. Track Your Conditioning

Trackers can measure your progress quite closely. You can see your heart rate and other cardiovascular data during a session. It also makes you accountable.

With that, there are also good punch trackers on the market and after you place it in your MMA gloves, this tracker tells you how fast you throw a punch, the intensity of your workout, and more.

If you start tracking your conditioning with a fitness tracker and a punch tracker, you can track your progress really closely. Since you can even get the acceleration data. So you can see whether you are improving your conditioning or not.

If you want to know more about it, definitely see my overview of Hykso Punch Tracker for more information.

focus mitt training is good for improving conditioning for mma

6. Create a New Program (routine)

Variations confuse your muscles however it also confuses your aerobic system and when it is the case, it faces resistance and starts using oxygen in a more efficient way.

So changing your program once in a while is just essential. And you (or your trainer) will decide when to change it. Since you know your own body better than anyone and if a current MMA program does not challenge your respiratory system as it should, then it is time to create a new routine.

If you have a fitness and punch tracker, these will provide you many data (speed of your punches, kicks, heart rate, intensity…) and you can use your data to create a new routine. And after you do a new training routine a couple of times, you will know whether you have more endurance or not quite easily.

However always create your MMA training routine with an experienced MMA coach. Since there are just too many data and variations. Even your body type has an effect on it and these can drastically change your results. As I said definitely consult an MMA coach or send your data to an MMA gym. After a quick research online you can find a pretty good one quite easily. With that, you can even go to a local MMA gym nearby.

7. Train with a Training Mask

Alright you look like Bane while training with an elevation mask. However, there are many amazing benefits of these so training masks have been creating a buzz for a long time and as you may know, many martial artists (MMA fighters, BJJ practitioners, boxers) also use it to utilize oxygen more efficiently so they can have more stamina and it also gives you “an edge”.

Check out these Good Training Masks

8. Don’t Skip a Session!

Did you know that if you do cardio 3 times per week (on the same days), your respiratory system improves so it can face more resistance!

It is also common sense that if you are consistent with your training, your body will just perform better. So never skip a session.

Important Notes: Always have necessary MMA equipment while training because the last thing you want is to injure yourself. For example, have suitable shin guards while kicking heavy bags or wear grappling socks while you are doing grappling on mats etc. so you can be protected. Since while you are doing cardio, you need to push yourself and there is always a risk that you can hurt yourself during your session so always use necessary gears and equipment.

Final Thoughts

As you can see there are many ways to improve MMA conditioning and this list has popular methods, training types for MMA fighters and you can see that many MMA fighters like Dominic Cruz uses some of these methods and implement the tips in their MMA training routines.

With that, even though you can find many articles on this topic, many of them just don’t say anything about the trackers or doing the sessions outdoors etc. So I am sure that this article can help you step up your game.

I hope that this writing is helpful for you and if you have any other preferences, tips for improving MMA conditioning or any questions, feel free to share them below and let’s have a talk.


Image Courtesy of BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE and pexels via Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved
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