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Functional Training for Mixed Martial Arts

Im planning on embarking on a 3 week functional strength training program geared towards MMA in a weeks time and was wondering what exercises i should include. The program im designing is based solely on coach davies renegade training. I was thinking of purchasing one of his programs but wanted a ‘taster’ so to speak before i purchased. So has anyone got any ideas? Coach Davies any input/magic words? Any mixed martial artisits out there and what sort of programs do you follow? Cheers.

Stick to Deadlifts, squats, power cleans, bench, upright rows, pull ups and dips try and mix low reps for power along with high reps to get your fast twitch fibres going to keep your speed.

For stomach exercises get a plate put it behind your head and do sit ups on your bench this’ll really help when someones got their knee on your belly.

I could go on all day if you need an specific ideas email me, but it’s just pretty much the basic lifts that’ll get you the results.

Good Luck


When it’s time for me to start training for karate or even kickboxing (I’ve been taking a break since last April, due to focusing on artwork), I’ll go to the local boxing gym and begin heavy bag training. I will also train more explosively in the gym. AND will perform plyometrics. HOWEVER, the best form of training for any martial arts is to practice the infamous “sport specificty” training. So I’ll just spend more time in the dojo, sparring and training.

BUT, when you say "mixed martial arts" - is this your term for "hybrid" or what forms are you including in your "mix"?

This is a good question for my boyfriend (Ko), he's got a ton of experience on training in the martial arts (including full-contact).

You might want to check out Charles Staley’s stuff on the myodynamics site. Coach Davies is also a very smart choice.

I’d also say that Matt Furey and his Combat Conditioning would be another thing to check out.

I have gone through Levels 1 & 2 of Coach Davies MMA program. Without giving away the specifics, you need to not only concentrate on lifts you would normally do in the gym, but also O-lifts, explosive power/speed, work on grip strength, core conditioning, rope skips, and of course GPP. After doing the workouts my mat time and resistance to fatigue has changed dramatically. And everyone I spar with comments on my incredible grip and overall strength. Quite honestly, I think 3 weeks is barely enough time to build up to the kind of conditioning you would need to perform at a higher level. I’d certainly stick to it a little longer.

As mentiioned above the big power lifts are good but nothing beats actual sparring time. You need to build stamina and there is really no way to simulate it in the gym. Get in the dojo and work.

Another thing, I don’t know how big you are,but if you are like me 165lb, it would be good to work out with someone bigger than you,really make you work your techniques. When I started martial arts i use to spar with these marines, I was about 120lbs and the were 200 plus and way taller than me, it made me get tough real fast.

Thanks to everyone for replying. By mixed martial arts i mean a combination of everything i.e. UFC style.
GrowtH - I too was looking at the coach davies MMA program but before i spend the money i wanted to sample it first. Im planning on including the olympic lifts, GPP, plyometrics etc. The one thing im having trouble with is the periodisation of it all, does it still follow a bodybuilding type split where youve got say Chest/tris, Legs, Back/bis or does it go upper body lower body? If all goes well then i will probably buy the program, but as im a student (at uni) its alot of money to be parting with so i need to know if its what i need first. Cheers.

Not quite sure where to start. The demands of a MMA are extraordinary and you will need to re-dedicate yourself daily. Naturally as mentioned, ensure proper sport-specific work is done with sparring. Within our training we use a diverse group of exercises, some that are rarely seen. I make great use of rotational lifts (Bent Press, Windmills etc…)in addition OLifts and their hybrid motions. However, I should also note that MMA training is quite diverse and goes far beyond basic weight training and involves many different mediums… I hope that helps and do not hesitate to contact me. In faith, Coach Davies

I had a question on that for you about ISO-METRIC work-outs earlier I don’t know if Patricia asked you about or not you were away for a while… But I wanted know what type of execrcises would you recommend for someone that is taking a Black Belt examine in Hapkito I more worried about his kata stances when he goes into his forms then his power, speed and agility or sparring. I know how to train for that but I was wondering what can I do for my client ISO-METRIC exercise wise for KATA satances…

I aleardy have him doing ISO- WALL sits, pause reps, ISO SQUATS ON rubber cushion ect…


I am not really familiar with hapkido, and have know idea what their katas look like.The best thing for katas is to do them. Katas are an exercise by themselves. Your client should be practicing his katas, preferably with someone who can give him give feedback, good or bad, someone who knows the katas. If he is having problems moving from stance to stance then he should break down the kata and focus on those particular movements that are giving him trouble. If it is a problem of holding the stances, then he should get into hs stances and hold them. As far as isometrics I have never really used them, or studied them. Sounds pretty simplistic, and I don’t know if it will help you, but that is the way I trained for my katas.

Combat Conditioning will turn you into a stud.

If you want a taster of some of coach davies programs - got to his website and look through the atrciles page. You will find many exercises that he uses as well as explanations why he uses them. I recently bought the MMA program from Coach and was impressed by it. As for advice - jump rope with body weight drills during the breaks. Do some ballistic lifts with KBells and the Olifts. Run. And work your grip (Ironmind grippers, kbells etc).