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The Importance of Aerobic Exercise


Here are some good reads that may change your view on combatconditioning. They're long and complicated, but are really worth the read.

While some anaerobic is important, aerobic endurance is extremely important and is the most adaptable energy system in your body. This intervals/tabata/HIIT is not the end-all, be-all holy grail of conditioning. There is a reason combat athletes have been preforming aerobic exercise for hundreds of years, it works.





I think this is really going to stir up the pot, so I'm putting on my fire-retardant gear to get ready for the flaming...


i think a lot about that topic. HIIT or lang distance runs. i tried both and both worked for muay thai.

Recently i cut the long distance runs and switched to HIIT and intervals in the morning. That worked really well for a while ... Now i do both.

my point is if you are a fighter you have to do both. If you want to compete you have to do 4 - 5 extra conditioning workouts per week for example in the morning. But you cant do 5 HIIT workouts before you go to work and before you go to your gym.

It is important to do both


if you prepare for a fight you should do more interval training similar to the requirements of your fight. it makes no sense to run 6 miles in the morning if you prepare for a 3x3 fight .

although steady-state cardio in the morning really helps me to recover faster from my workouts ...

Both things have their up and downside.

Something like a holy grail for training does not exist if you train like a fighter.
There are just enless simple tools...


Not necessarily.

We've pretty much all come to the conclusion here that for strength training, you should be training attributes, not sport specific movements. For example, instead of punching with weights in your hand, you should be trying to get stronger overall.

This is no different for conditioning.

Obviously, you need sport specific conditioning drills...padwork, sparring and other technique work will improve your conditioning to a certain extent.

The problem is with people's misunderstanding of the energy systems.

For 5 MINUTE ROUNDS, the aerobic system contributes the most ATP out of the three systems. Trying to use anaerobic glycolysis as the sole source of energy is a great way to gas out the first round.

Even doing activities at 100% intensity for 30 seconds, new research has show that the aerobic system is producing up to 50% of total ATP being renewed. Anything longer than this and the aerobic system will be responsible for an even higher percentage.

Your lactic and alactic energy systems don't change very much with training. They're controlled by genetics. However, your aerobic system is highly adaptable.

At the risk of plagerizing, I want to point out that these are not my ideas. A good place to find more information explained in a clear manner would be www.8weeksout.com

I'm not advertising, he just has a lot of good ideas and it's worth a look for anyone trying to improve their conditioning.


I get annoyed when people deal in absolutes, saying: 'you must only do anaerobic conditioning if you are in combat sports.'


Guess Ali, Tyson, De la Hoya, Jones and every other boxer was wasting his time with running a few miles a day. Just think, if they had done sprints, they would've been great!

Now, I'm not saying that sprints don't have a place in training; they do. It's just that sprints, or anaerobic conditioning, shouldn't be the sole focus.

Aerobic conditioning certainly has a place and can be an effective tool in training.

But really, at the end of the day, if you don't have the in-ring (or cage) skills then all the conditioning in the world won't make you a better fighter.


Yup, like dnbjoe said, you need both.


So the 45 or so other threads on this arent relevant?

Both have their place, in teh 80's and 90s when I competed- you did distance every day,
cause every one did then. every college wrestler ran , and ran and ran.

and those same wrestlers also did plenty of sprints, hills, stairs, jumps and other plyometrics.

As newer and other methods became more popular
long distance fell a little in popularity.

really its a moot point.
both are needed.


LOL. What an original thread!

Food for thought: Compare what people who train UFC champions say with what Internet gurus say.

People who actually train champions use a lot of aerobic conditioning. People who are Internet gurus but have never trained a champion claim HIIT works.

Success leaves a trail. It's not too hard to figure out which one to follow.


I know aerobic exercise is important for my fat ass...I'd be dead without it.


I have said the same thing since the beginning- when I see Pretty Boy Floyd doing barbell complexes instead of running 10 miles every day, then I'll think that there's something to it.

But there's a reason why every boxing trainer in the world says if you can't do anything else that day, at least run.


I always felt I benefitted more psychologically from running than physically per se.

There's just something about that moment when your running and you don't want to do another hill, and you do it anyway.

You can not tell me that doesn't help your mental state when your in the deep water in a match. I mean wrestling, Muay Thai, whatever, it helps.

And yes, I also do interval work to.


yep, roadwork has it's merits.
Sprints, intervals, HIT and whatnot also have their definite place (especially a month before a fight), but I'd say when it comes to secondary and assistance training, you can rarely beat straight running.

I also think the main reasons are not fully understood yet. As already said, roadwork helps mentally as well. Xen Nova calls it "cruise mode".

The only beef is the knees' lament.


I suppose it's kind of obvious that T-Nation is a bodybuilding forum. :slightly_smiling:

We have a combat sports section but half of the threads are about lifting weights, cardio and steroids!

It's pretty obvious that fighters should try such a widespread method of conditioning and judge it on its merits. I've always been a proponent of aerobic training personally, and most studies on the aerobic threshold that support HIIT have NOT impressed me, given that they are based on cyclists and non combat sports.


The thing is, if you look at the facts behind it, MMA is NOT an anaerobic sport like many would have you believe.


A basketball game is 48 minutes...
A football game is 60 minutes...
A baseball game can go on for hours...

Would you call these sports aerobic or anaerobic in nature?

There are few sports that are entirely aerobic or anaerobic.

Shuffling around for 5 minutes rounds, 1 minute rest, then repeat 3-5 times. That's 15-25 minutes of activity. Your body must be conditioned to last, the muscles must be conditioned to contract over sporadic bursts for 15-25 minutes.

There are many ways to do this. You only have one cardiovascular system and many ways to train it. Hell, Leg Press drop sets is a good cardiovascular workout.

Aerobic runs have their place, such as general aerobic conditioning and immediate fat loss. But like all aspects of training your cardiovascular workout should progress over the course of your training. Over the course of 3 months you may do something like the following:

Weeks 1-4: 15-30min run 3-5 days per week
Weeks 5-8: 15-30min run 2x a week; 400m intervals with limited rest (same time or less) 2x a week.
Weeks 9-12: 15-30MIN RUN 1x a week; 400m intervals 1x a week. 20-40m sprints 2x a week.

Anyway, those are just some ideas. You can further be even more specific to your fight:

5 minutes of running stairs. 1 minute rest. Repeat 5 times.


5 minutes of light squat presses relaxed tempo. 1 minute rest. Repeat 5 times.

There are many different ways to go about it. As a sidenote, on the GSP vs BJ Penn training shows you saw BJ jogging around like the fat fool he is but I never saw GSP do much running and he is a cut up freak.


I don't run, usually use a commercial stepper or eliptical to save my knees, but the only thing I use it for is keeping my weight down and that is usually first thing in the morning, my best conditioning usually comes from sparring and then throw in like 2-3 days of explosive training with weights in some fashion. like the art forms you need to mix it all together so all energy systems and neurological systems integrate and work together.