T Nation

MMA Fighters Workout?

How many of you here are participants (for amusement/self defense or as your job) in mixed martial arts?

I’m just curious as to what you do as your workout (weight lifting and skill training).

As soon as I get a sponsor I’d like to go pro (probably by next year).

I am a lot more serious about training so I was hoping for some proper navigation.

Currently I’m going to be doing just skill training(2-3hr,6x a week), and trying to pack on some mass for the next year.

The following programs are what I’m more than likely going to be doing:

Singles Club

Re-Evaluate and move on from there.

Lately I’ve been doing mainly a hybrid between O-lift and Gymnastic type workouts (consisted of mainly pullups dips, power cleans and drop snatches). Got my ideas from my prior gymnastic experience and Dan John’s website (and a buddy of mine who O-lifts)…While I gained size and accomplished some goals (OH squat 15x w/ bodyweight)…I think to gain the appropriate muscle mass I should go with a more hypertrophy specific workout.

Its going to he hard balancing out conditioning with gaining mass (calorie in/calorie out). At Boxing I’m going to cut down on the jumping rope, and only do sprint intervals every few days. Wrestling I’m not going to absolutely kill myself every practice.

Give 100% but try not to wear myself down to a nub.

I am currently 148-150. I cut weight to 130 for a Pankration event (didn’t want to fight my training partner in the same weight class (155). I got up to 170 this summer while training for Track, and mma, by just doing QD back to back (to back)… a mistake, I burned out pretty bad… that was training hard with a shitty diet. I know (now that my diet is in order) that I can get up to 180-185 damn easily.

So…I guess what I’m saying is…Help?


Hey Xena I would go with singes club and of course lots of food or westside for skiny bastards as its a very good mix of maximul lifting and hypertrophy. I train mma on and off cause life likes to get in the way.

I don’t train MMA, but one of my best friends fought at the UFC that Chuck beat up Tito at. He does very little weightlifting, mostly bodyweight type stuff. Search for the combat training here, and check out http://www.sherdog.com/

I would concentrate on building strength not on size. Generally in fighting, size without strength is a liability. Although UFC rules do favor grapplers, so weight can be used to wear the other guy down. You give your body weight but not your height, so it is hard to analyse where you are at.

Sorry about that, i’m 5’9…i’m pretty natural at 170… but I want to bulk to 180-185 then cut.

I would get Martin Rooney’s new book …this is by FAR the best book for fighters and covers EVERYTHING you can possibly think of for the sport. GET IT.

Coach Davies is also coming out with a MMA e-book. Most of his athletic training workouts are very effective. It will be released Oct 31, but you can preorder it for like $20 as opposed to 35 when it’s officially released.


MMA is much more favourable to heavier higher BMI athletes than a pure out and out striking form like boxing or Muay Thai. In boxing reach is a big advantage, beyond a certain BMI you are at a big disadvantage compared to opponent. If you are built stocky then you’ll have to change your style to fight like Mike Tyson or similar stocky fighters.

As a boxer I had to make a hard choice and stop gaining size. I concentrated on just losing fat and keeping as much of my mass as possible to give me a strength and power advantage at my weight. But for MMA I’d like to be bigger. Currently I am 5’11" and 180lb and about 8% BF. This was after bulking and then cutting. I was around 13% BF and 195lb. So that was about 11lb fat and 4lb muscle. I am much happier at this weight since performance wise everything has improved as a result.

You have got the right idea when trying to bulk. Less endurance steady state training and more interval work is the way to go. You may have to forgoe improving your conditioning for the moment and just go for maintainence. Doing too much long distance running (5.5miles a day) made it very difficult for me to get stronger and/or gain mass and I was training the wrong energy system anyway!

I favour strength over size. Relative strength is everything when competing in an event with weight classes. Plus conditioning is important. Carrying extra pounds doesn’t help. I like Westside Barbell and use a variation where I train back on a extra seperate ME and DE days. I have found this works well for me. I skill train about 5 times a week 2 hours a time plus extra conditioning work, 400m sprints. GPP type stuff, heavy bag, sandbag, sledgehammer. I have put more size on with Westside then any other training I have done before and all that size has been accompanied by strength. Because it incorporates repetition training you will gain size too with out doubt. That would be my recommendation. Sorry rambling a bit.

Just buy Martin Rooneys book.

i train grapplers, as well as train myself for grappling - lots of bodyweight training, strong man training, russian kettlebells - i mix them all together - increase your strength endurance big time for mma, so lots of body weight, and try what louie has some mma fighters do, like using light weights and throwing punches for up to 5 minutes, or doing presses of all sorts for 5 - 12 minutes non stop, just holding the weights, i have an e book on training grapplers if you wanna check it, or my newsletter can help as well - sounds like you would do well incorporating some kettlebell work, great for power development - and of course, x train your skill work - stand up, ground, punches, kicks, etc. - drop me an e mail if you have any questions & we can chat more :slight_smile:

[Moderator Note: email addresses not allowed on forum; use PM instead.]

I just saw your reply to Xen Nova’s post about MMA fighting. Do you train people in the striking arts (ie TKD)? If you do, please reply, because I have a few follow-up questions.
You seem to thoroughly know your stuff, so I would like to pick your brain a bit :slight_smile:


Go to www.elitefts.com to preview Martin Rooney’s new book geared to the MMA. It is available for purchase after October 7th.

Hey man,

I’ve been fighting mma since 2001, and I’ve had a lot of success using combinations of principles followed in ABBH, some of coach Davies’ exercises (one arm snatch especially) and his conditioning drills, and coach jamie hale’s conditioning drills (sandbags, sledgehammer especially).

I’ve had alot of success breaking down positional changes in grappling and trying to add some weight in movements. Things like modified (more explosive especially) turkish getups have helped me get out from underneath easier to take the back. I also do reps using a kind of scissor sweep that feigns the kimura while holding on to a cable machine. (Think you are sweeping to the left and reaching over with your right hand, but your right hand holds the cable. This has REALLY helped my sweeps)

Maybe that’ll give you some ideas.

Putting this up for Martin Rooney’s Book Training for Warriors.

I didn’t read every single post on this thread so forgive me if this was already mentioned

There is a good E-Book that can be downloaded. It’s called: “Ultimate Training For The Ultimate Warrior.” It’s by Ross Enamait.

I downloaded the book not long ago and it is loaded with some great infromation and training relative to full-contact fighting. It’s 122 pages.