Many men and women beginning their MMA careers already have some sort of sports background, and therefore have probably already been in the gym for years. Because of this background, many people who begin training for MMA find themselves doing it wrong!
They will get in the gym and train just as they always have and add more cardio, but this will not help them in an MMA fight. Weight lifting is purely anaerobic, and cardio is stricly aerobic. An MMA fight will mix both anaerobic and aerobic conditions at the same time, so combine anaerobic and aerobic exercises for the best training.
A traditional upper body weightlifting routine that you will find in the average weight loss or fitness book will look like this:
* 5 min cardio for warm up
* Bench Press 3×10
* Bent Over Row 3×10
* Bicep Curls 3×10
* Close Grip Bench Press 3×10
* 20-30 minutes cardio
Now this would be a great routine if you were looking to get bigger, as most gym goers are. Here’s the problem with that: You do not want to gain tons and tons of pure mass! Pure mass will only slow you down and tire you more quickly. It also is not combining the aerobic and anaerobic portions, as was mentioned earlier, but separating them into two parts. For anybody who has done MMA sparring before, do you remember how exhausted you got after struggling for a takedown for several seconds? Chances are you were doing a workout like this.
An MMA weight training workout should look different than a traditional workout. The MMA workout must focus on the body as a whole and have a ferocious blend of strength and speed to producepower. Power comes through explosiveness and core strength, so your workouts should mirror those ideas. Here is an example of what an upper body workout for MMA should look like:
* Clap (plyometric) pushups: These are great for improving explosiveness, upper body strength, hand speed, and balance. To perform a clap pushup, simply push with all your strength when at the lowest point in your pushup to propel yourself up. While off the ground, clap your hands together, and return to the originial pushup position.
* Tire Flips: Most gyms should have one of these as part of their training material. Simply bend low at the knees, grip the tire, and lift up and flip the tire over (similar motion to a takedown.) Repeat this action for a given distance.
*Sledgehammer Hit: UFC promos love to show fighters using this move. To perform this move, simply swing the sledgehammer over your head and down onto the tire that is used for the tire flip. Be sure to alternate sides.
* Donkey Kong: This exercise is excellent for training ground and pound again uses the tire. Hold a heavy hammer or mallet in each hand, and kneel on the tire with one knee and swing the hammers at the tire.
* Heavy Bag Slams: Pull out some mats used for throws and a heavy bag equal to your size. Practice lifting the heavy bag and slamming it onto the mat. Again, be sure to alternate sides.
Use the above workout when training for a fight, competition, or even if you want to just increase your power and endurance. Even if you are an experienced weightlifter, it is likely that you have not done many of these exercises before and it will help break a plateau.