Fighters are the best conditioned athletes in the world – and they have to be! The nature of their sport offers no forgiveness. If they fatigue, they get knocked out. If they do not get knocked out, they may end up with a broken limb. Both options are not very appealing so you can bet that the MMA workouts these guys go through are as intense as it gets.
So how do you go about training for such a demanding sport? Well, first things first – you need to analyze the demands. Fighting occurs at a high intensity – or at least it should. Of course, every now and then you get a "snooze fest" where the fighters are timid to engage. A high intensity sport requires high intensity training. You need to increase your lactate threshold because if you're unable to deal with the accumulation of lactic acid – you'll likely end up puking in your spit bucket between rounds.
Interval training is a must for your MMA workouts because that's exactly what the rounds are – high intensity intervals. Of course, well structured MMA workouts should include pretty much everything. You need to work on flexibility, increasing your lactate threshold, increasing your aerobic capacity, increasing your strength, your power and your strength endurance (all different). You have to work on your speed and of course, your MMA workouts also have to include the technique work and the "in the trenches" sparring and grappling against resisting opponents.
There's a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to designing MMA workouts and it goes well beyond the scope of a single article. However, that being said, here's one of my MMA workouts that I was doing in order to prepare myself before coming to Thailand.
Sample MMA Workouts – Workout # 1 – Intermediate Circuit
* Can be performed in the aerobics room at your gym *
1. Skipping (medium-to-fast pace) for 2 minutes.
2. Box Jumps (5 boxes) for 2 minutes (lateral movement)
3. "Burpies" for 25 repetitions
Rest for 1 minute
4. Sprints (wall-to-wall) for 2 minutes
5. Shadow boxing for 2 minutes
6. push up plyometrics onto aerobic steps
Rest for 1 minute
7. Jumping lunges (30 repetitions)
8. Medicine ball rotary tosses (done with partner)
9. Hammer slams. Usually done with a sledgehammer and a tire but you substitute for a small barbell a pile of mats.