Best Cardio to Compliment Fighting?

I just learn a bit fighting and i understand that my cardio are weak.

I stop smoking 6 month ago and i want to improve my cardio. But i don’t like so much Run, and i don’t know if i can swimming and that will have the same impact in my cardio when i will fight that if i run, if the transfer in the fight will be good Or if is better to run interval training (high intensity).

Iam gaining mass also, just when i will run or swimming i will improve the calories this day like ( 600 calorie more)
I had some fear that if im doing cardio i will lost so much mass/weight and in the same time i need a better cardio.

Thank for your advices and help

If you like swimming sure do it.

Your best bet is high intensity Assault Bike.

But, you cna’t just be doing high-intensity (anaerobic lactic training), you also need a good aerobic base (endurace). For this kind of cardio, long-time duration, do whatever you like the most, really


Swimming as @aldebaran stated, decent combination of aerobic/anaerobic exercise if you’re doing say… sets of 200-300 metres.

Otherwise, HIIT intervals (jog to sprint), 400-1500 metre sub maximal runs/sprints, plyometrics. For actually getting better at fighting provided you have the basics down pat, actually sparring can prove to be decent cardio (rolling in BJJ, casual sparring with a training partner for muay thai etc). Bag work for boxing serves as decent cardio if done sub maximally for intervals.

I believe circuit training can also be quite effective.

For pure endurance I prefer cycling to running, less impactful on the joints. Combat sports = plenty of injury risk, wouldn’t wish to compound said risk. I believe there ought to be more of an emphasis on anaerobic capacity for (most) combat sports. If you look into say… boxing, around 80% of energy expenditure in boxing is anaerobic in nature.


Thank, yes i see that training boxe and so on work your cardio a lot :sweat_smile: im lerning mma and iam angry because when i had some sparring i lose my cardio and iam close somethime to take the advantage but my cardio leave me ahhaha, so i will do some swimming and somethime long duration run or long swimming.

How much the frequence ? When i can i will training always in a club for mma just will depend of the covid situation and city where i livr but i was thinking about that.

Monday: mma
Tuesday: full body
Wenesday : mma
Thursday : swimming or run a week high intensity/ a week long duration.
Fridray: mma
Saturday: full body
*Sunday : if i can, mma

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I’m also doing something like this. I’m trying to work up to

Monday: BJJ + chest/shoulders/triceps/neck

Tuesday: Muay Thai + legs

Wednesday: boxing + back/biceps/neck, maybe swim

Thursday: Muay Thai + Chest/shoulders/triceps

Friday: Boxing + legs (plyometrics, light squatting, running, stretching/yoga etc).

Saturday: Muay Thai + back/biceps/neck

Sunday: go for a swim/rest

@hankthetank89 is an expert regarding this stuff. I suppose my question is, can such a routine above be adhered to semi naturally (125mg T/wk)? My worry is that I’ll be unable to recover between sessions.

I think I’ll be fine, OP’s routine is even worse than mine. Three full body workouts per week + cardio + MMA 4x/wk. Prime difference being what I presume is OP’s superior health status whereas I have a neurological disorder (notwithstanding neurodevelopmental abnormalities), a connective tissue disorder etc, the latter can make recovery quite difficult.

I have my reasons for wanting to adhere to such a vigorous training schedule

1: Australia is boring as fuck right now and you can’t leave.
2: wish to impart more structure/routine within my day to day lifestyle
3: martial arts are fun, I need a new hobby. Aside from music and weightlifting I don’t have anything to look forward to when I wake up.

Im not that optimistic. You can do all the fight stuff and go to the gym but there is no way you will progress in strenght or size. OR you have to adjust your fighting to technique only - no cardio or physical exercises, only technique, light pad work, medium intensity sparing. I am doing EOD strenght and EOD technique or something like that. Problem with classes is that half the class is conditioning which brutally fucks with gym recovery.
Either do technique only with your schedule OR do something like Wendler recomended for fighters - 2 day a week 531…i have lots of my guys on it… 2 day a week 531 and 3 days a week fighting which includes conditioning. But gym sessions still are basic because we will do lots of conditioning and pump work in classes also so there is no need to do much accessory work in tje gym.

I’m open to altering my routine, what if I were to practice 4-5x/wk and lift 3-4x/wk instead?

It should be noted with regards to the split I’ve aligned. Half the days (i.e first chest/leg/back day) is allocated to weight training, the second half is/would be composed almost entirely of bodyweight training. Does this change things? Otherwise I’d be happy with a 1x/wk split like chests shoulders triceps, back/biceps, legs… then perhaps another day for a body part I’d like to specialise. 1x/wk + combat sports still equates to each muscle being stimulated considerably more often than 1x/wk.

How often do you lift weights (I assume you spar daily). Wondering whether your PED routine allows you to go above and beyond

Problem with 5/3/1 is the rep ranges, I don’t like training in low rep ranges. I prefer to make sure the weight I use is light enough so I can focus on forum/stretch and contraction yet lift heavy.

I’m not too fussed on gaining more strength. I’m strong enough, my relative pound for pound strength is respectable. I’m more/less at that point where it takes like two months just to increase my bench/whatever by ten pounds

I’d be happy if I could maintain my strength/perhaps add another 30lbs to my “big three” by the end of the year, perhaps gain 5lbs etc.

The question that i ask myself is:

It is better to before gain the weight that i want and after learn mma or start to training mma and in the same time gain weight, i had a faster metabolism so i don’t know. I will not to be pro of fighting i had 29 year, i just want to learn.

And also for the moment i don’t work, when i will work i don’t know if i will be able to support mma 4 x a week, 2 full body a week.

So i really don’t know… because now i’m 73 kilo, and even if i learn how to fight i prefere to get a better " carapace " than 73 for 1m80

This is what a pro fighters pre-fight camp looks like. Its sustainable only for a month or two, when controled by professional trainers.
As i said - its important do you control your fighting training or do you just attend classes? If by practice you mean padwork or shadowboxing with a trainer for 40mins then its doable. If its a class then not in my experience.

I used to go to the gym every day and also have at least 2, sometimes even 3 training sessions a day, but… i was in a fluff and pump mode in a gym, i was lean as a bodybuilder before a contest and i couldnt gain much size, and i also was and still am very weak for what i look like.
As soon as i started to train like a powerlifter i noticed that i cant do much anymore if i want to be able to lift and progress. Nowdays i have gym EOD, and on the days between i either do cardio/conditioning OR i meet up with my partner and we spar and do sparring exercises. But still, there are need for complete rest days. I can do this EOD thing maybe 10 days in a row and then i start getting cranky, unmotivated and thats what my CNS burnout looks like.

this could be doable then… you just have to try it, but also keep in mind that training every day is not too good because you will lose focus and a problem with fighting is that when you lose focus you get hurt… its not like gym when if you are burnt out you just fail your bench at worst… in this case, if you have always been ok but one day you are a bit off you might get a knee in your face because your partner tought you see it, but you are too worn out to actually SEE it.
You have to really FEEL your mental focus when doing so much training because those injuries can put you out for 2-3 months and you’d be better off just by skipping 1 session, than losing 2 months because of a broken nose.

Gain weight, then start MMA. You wont gain anything if you train MMA a lot. Better option is to get private lessons on technique so you dont have to waste too much energy and calories, OR just attend class once a week.

Improving your strenght and gaining weight while doing serious training if martial arts is nearly impossible even on boatloads of drugs. There are few genetic freaks that do that, but even they train private, not attend martial arts classes.

The problem is not fighting as such. The problem is the CLASS that mostly are for people who dont train anything else, so the class is 30-50% only cardio, HIIT, bodyweight training etc.
Pro fighters do strenght training and then they do padwork. They can do light sparring because they are professionals - in class sometimes you CANT do light because your partner is a moron and he targets you with bricks so you move to save your life. There are too many variables in average martial art class, that it becomes very hard to bodybuild or strenghttrain.
Also keep in mind the wear and tear. For the first time its no biggie, but take me for example - if i do 3mins HARD on pads, i feel my elbows for a week and that gets in a way of any push and pull movements.
Getting a few good low kicks to the leg, gets in a way of ANY leg exercise.
Doing a good few rounds of BJJ gets you stiff and sore in places you didnt even know you had places. BJJ has this thing of hurting you in weirdes places.

Especially after 28…30. In order to focus on strenght i had to cut down my gym volume by 75% and my fighting skills are on maintenance or even degraded a bit. Steroids dont help at all in my experience. I have taken all i can as it comes to drugs and supps - nothing helps.

But as i said - its important if you can plan your own training or you attend class. If you could just skip the “warmup” that lasts 45mins and has 1000 burpees in it, it would be much more doable.

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Should be noted I’m strong enough to the point “light weight” for me is still considered “far more than most kids my age/my size can put up for a 1rm”

I attend classes, though I was in decent cardiovascular shape prior to getting back into this type of sport. The only thing that’s really “gassed me” so far is BJJ. I’ve managed to combine cardio/weights before, like training 6x/wk + running 5-6k/day + a bit of elliptical. I still progressed in strength and size but I was on 200mg test/wk, not 125mg/wk. I’ve found even small increments like that make a whole world of difference.

I’ll update you in a couple months and tell you how I’ve altered my training routine to compensate :slight_smile:

Ahahaha so truth i was training peaceful because is sparring, and some peoples really try to kill me a bit, and when i get the advantage i stay peaceful, because i believe that when i learn and start something i need to repeat a lot of the time the movement and if a personn try always to complety fuck me, i will not learn and u also, but if someone kick me to much i lost my calm

so i will try to get fast as i can good weight and after learn fighting, i don’t know just how to do exactly, if i want stay with 80 kilo, is better if i gain 88 kilo ~ and so start to learn fighting like had “8 kilo” more that i can loose.

just 73 to 88 kilo that will take one year more ~ if i want stay clean ~ but i think about a hard gaining mass and if i learning fight to just loose the bad fat with training and reduce a bit carbonhydrate and so on

but still i will go only to the gym and this time also work the cardio one time high intensity and somethime long duration one time by week, is really useful i understand that now, more when u gaining mass maybe

Should be noted I don’t think my place does this, at least I’ve yet to experience it. We stretch/perhaps do a short bodyweight circuit prior to getting straight to it.

They’re more about training you to fight as opposed to focusing on cardio. It’s not a “boxercise” style class. They’ve actually got a gym with a power rack and whatnot in the back that you can train in after class/whenever.

BJJ uses completely different energy system which can be conditioned only by doing more BJJ.
Its weird how there are guys who can roll for 2 hours but cant do 20 burpees(true story).

Will be waiting to know how are you doing.

yes gain more than you need because you will lose some when you start more training

you can always get a private trainer and learn technique…
if you cant afford a good trainer, go to some classes and ask some of the best guys - they might be able to show your some basics once a week for half the price.

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This is good.

We do lots of training because in these parts of the world, fighters still dont use gym much so most people who train do only one type of training and if i want them to get in shape i have to make them do abs and pushups.
The perfect class would just do 15min warmup and then go and to technique and then practice. Sadly, in my country that is very very rare.

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yeah is a good idea to, thank for your advices man

There are a lot of classes as you’ve described wherein the aim is primarily fitness thus the class ends up being more like a bodyweight circuit with a few jabs here and there.

I did my research before signing up as I had numerous goals, one being to learn how to properly defend myself (and run away as fast as possible if someone is trying to rob me lol).

I’ve only recently started a few weeks ago. The classes I’ve attended had like a 5 minute warmup (some light jogging for like a minute followed by stretching), then it’s technique/sparring. Sometimes a short bodyweight circuit (like 5 minutes) will be added at the end. The fight training is a workout in itself, I can’t see the rationale to adding jogging/pushups on top of that unless as you’ve specified it’s the only exercise you do.

There’s usually people lifting weights, as those who train are encouraged to lift weights (albeit not like a bodybuilder). The proposed emphasis is to pick like 6-7 compound exercises and become very efficient at performing those movements (like a squat, hip hinge movement, pulling movement, pressing movement etc).

But naaaaa, I’ll try stick to my routine. A few compound exercises for 10-20 reps (range I generally use) coupled with accessory isolation exercises for areas I wish to aesthetically improve.

I still get stronger doing this, most of my strength was built through using a 10-20+ rep range.

This question comes up a lot. My recommendation is always the same.



there is none and it is what i call - junk training… sadly, in my country i might be the first one who uses this term, therefore i have nowhere to train unless its just me training myself and asking my friend to join me.
classes are made so the most people enjoy and benefit from them and therefore sure - if i teach a class of average people to defend themselves, i need them to get stronger so we do lots of shit they could just be doing at home but i know they wont and they also tell me that they wont :smiley:

that is exactly what i preach to everyone…
i say there are 6 directions of movement -
horizontal push, horizontal pull, vertical push, vertical pull, any type of squat and any type of hip hinge… pick 1 exercise for each and get epic strong.
these same directions of movement are used in a fight or survive, for example - a hip hinge is bridging someone off you if he is in a mount… horizontal push is pushing someone away, vertical pull is getting your ass out of a hole, etc etc.

this also happens to be the same as 531 with pullups and rows, Wendler just explains it differently.

My lateral raises, skullcrushers, calf raises and pullovers are more important DAMMIT!

Forearm curlz for the win!!!


Sometimes i feel like i would rather confess being gay, but… i also do 2 sets of bis and tris every workout :grimacing: