Whether you’re looking to reign supreme in the MMA ring, or just best the former you in terms of conditioning, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these tips for building up your strength, power and stamina and getting the most out of your lasting power!
Hit the weights
You can use all the cardio, drilling, and plyometric movements in the world, but nothing comes close to building the overall levels of brute strength needed for MMA success as the results you will see from using heavy compound weightlifting movements. Choose movements such as bench press, deadlift, squats and shoulder press which recruit large numbers of muscle fibers and utilize multiple muscle groups. Stick with repetition ranges of 4 to 8 for strength, 10 to 15 for stamina, and the middle range of 6 to 12 for most movements. Train not until failure, but up to a point where one more repetition would be unsure and potentially unsafe. Going to 90% of your capability on a consistent basis is much more useful than trying to hit 100% now and then. Train hard, then get out of the gym and get to recovery.
Rest as hard as you train
Speaking of recovery, it is a factor which is often overlooked by trainers, despite its significant importance in terms of helping one to actually see the results for which they’ve been training so hard! You cannot train 6 or 7 days each week and expect to make optimal gains in terms of power and stamina. You’re tearing up those muscles when you’re drilling, running, and hitting the weights. You need to rest just as hard! Dedicate two days each week to “active recovery”, a time period in which you stretch, take brisk walks, and stay active, while at the same time avoiding strenuous activity which might tax your central nervous system (CNS) and hinder your recovery in any way.
Continually challenge yourself
Training in your current manner has taken you to a certain point – Your current self. The levels of strength and endurance capability which you currently possess are a direct result of the way you’ve been training for the past year (or several years). If you’re not satisfied with your current abilities, then it’s time to change up your training and begin demanding more of yourself! Our bodies only grow in order to adapt to a demanding workload, and you need to increase this workload if you wish to improve your current shape. Doing this cannot take place too quickly, however. Gradual changes are safe and wise, and will allow you to slowly adjust and grow into the shape needed to meet them. Adding 1 degree on the incline treadmill, or 2.5 pounds to each side of your bench press, for example, are ways you can slowly require more of yourself while at the same time avoiding injury. Record your performance in your training log and you’ll be able to monitor your progress over time. Small changes make big differences!
Check your form
Whether you’re in the weight room, running drills, or just sprinting on a track, keeping perfect form is imperative for developing your power and conditioning at optimal levels. Your body was designed in a utilitarian manner – your arms, legs, back, and other areas are all optimally designed and evolved for the daily activities you face. If you are doing the activities incorrectly – slumping, swinging weight, being lazy on drills – then you are not allowing your body to move optimally (the way it was designed!) For best results and the fastest growth and improvement, you should be training optimally every day, with perfect form in practice, drills, and performance.
Most athletes have a favorite area of training which gets more of their attention – weight room, running track, punching, grappling. This can be acceptable, as long as they are able to train in the other areas in an adequate manner for balanced overall development. The ideal MMA foundation will have a huge base in wrestling and grappling. Most matches end up there, and most fighters cite that as an area they wish they had started sooner. Whatever your favorites, be sure you are dividing up your training time and efforts to ensure you are a balanced fighter, prepared adequately in all important areas.
Analyze your nutrition
You train extremely hard, in a progressive and balanced format. You’re doing everything you can in the gym, on the track, and on the mats, to improve. But are you giving your body the adequate tools required for maintaining your gains, and growing to meet the demands you are placing upon it? First off, you should be drinking at least a gallon of water each day. Next, you want to check out the foods you’re eating. They should be as “pure” and unprocessed as possible. Fresh chicken, beef, eggs and whey protein are ideal, tossed in with potatoes, vegetables and fruit, pasta and rice. Don’t forget your fats – minimal in the form of fish oil capsules, almonds and egg yolks. Supplements can be very useful but you want to ensure you’re getting plenty of food as well. Track your body fat and manipulate carbohydrate intake levels to keep your weight steady and your energy levels high as you work to train harder and harder. Good luck!