If you’re interested in MMA training, then this is the article that you need to read. Today, we’re going to be talking about how to train and workout for MMA. After you’ve got your basic gear, you’ll be ready to take your first steps into the brutal, yet rewarding world of MMA fighting.
Essential MMA Gear
Before you sign up for you first MMA training class, you’re going to need some basic equipment for personal protection and sparring. MMA is one of the most violent sports on the face of the planet, and if you’re not properly protected during a sparring match, you could stand to lose your teeth, break your bones, get a concussion, or worse. Here’s the shortlist of all the basics that you need to start your MMA career.
MMA gloves are quite unlike any other combat gloves that you’ll find. They are extremely lightweight gloves that often feature open fingers and palm, providing only an inch or two of padding over the knuckles. The open design is built to give your hands more flexibility to account for all of the grappling maneuvers that you’re going to performing during MMA training or an actual fight.
When you’re sparring, most coaches will require you to wear padded shin guards. This is both for your own protection and the person who you’re fighting. While you won’t be required to wear shin guards during a regulation fight, it’s best to save the danger for the fight itself. Few things are as disappointing as getting disqualified for a fight because of a training injury.
MMA is most definitely a contact sport. You’re going to get punched and kicked in the face more times than you can count over the course of the next year. It’s an unavoidable fact of the sport. However, what you can do is protect your teeth by wearing an inexpensive mouth guard. Trust us, you’ll be glad that you did.
When you’re sparring heavy at full force, you’ll need to wear some head protection. MMA headgear will feature a chin strap to hold your jaw in place, and padded straps which encircle the sides of your head and face. This helps to absorb the impact of hits and prevents your facial bones from cracking or your head from sustaining a concussion.
If you watch any professional UFC fight, you’ll notice that all of the fighters usually wear tight, short to mid-length shorts. These are known as grappling shorts and are designed to make it harder for your opponent to grab onto your legs and put you in a match-ending hold.
Hand wraps/Foot wraps
Like any other combat sport, you’re going to make sure that you have proper hand and foot wraps. These are by far the cheapest thing that you’ll purchase, but they’re arguably one of the most important pieces of your get up. Hand and foot wraps keep your wrist and ankles tightly bound and prevent them from snapping and bending when you land those heavy hits.
You’ve never known true pain until you get kicked, punched, or grappled at full force in your nuts. Aside from permanently damaging your reproductive organs, a strike (accidental or planned) to this area can temporarily paralyze you and leave you open to a brutal string of strikes.
The Importance of Warm Up
We cannot understate how important that it is to properly warm up before you begin your MMA workouts. One of the stupidest thing that any fighter can do is jump straight into a fight or a heavy workout when they aren’t properly stretched out and warmed up. When you put cold muscles under this sudden strain, then you’re likely to strain or tear your them in addition to causing damage to your connective tissue and ligaments.
Here’s how to go about your MMA warm up routine.
Light Cardio - Get the Blood Pumping
Before we start our stretches, we’re going to need to get our blood pumping. This will help your muscles to stretch properly as they’ll be getting proper blood flow and oxygen delivery. The best way to achieve this is through performing some light cardio in the form of jogging, jumping rope, jumping jacks, push ups, or any other light cardio that doesn’t involve strenuous activity.
Stretch That Body
Once you start sweating, you’re ready to begin your stretches. As a fighter, the best stretches that you can perform are dynamic stretches. Traditional static stretches which require you to hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds at a time can actually do more harm than benefit.
When you hold stretches for this long, you’re risking the muscles and ligaments snapping back in a condition known as “rebound tightness.” Imagine a rubber band. If you push its limits too far, then it will just snap.
Instead, we recommend that you perform dynamic stretches. These stretches involve motion and multiple repetitions of stretches. This is better for your muscles and allows them to stretch without overworking them.
MMA Training - Workouts and Drills
Now that you’re all warmed up and have your gear ready to go, let’s take a few minutes to go over some basic MMA workouts and drills designed to take you to the next level. As a fighter, you’re going to need to develop your personal strength and power along with your technique and fighting skills. As long as you are able to maintain a healthy balance, there’s no reason why you can’t be successful in the sport.
Strength And Power Building Workouts for Conditioning
When it comes to fighting, your power and strength levels are going to determine how hard your hits are when they land. When combined with speed, the strength behind your punches, jabs, and kicks can easily upset a match and take you from losing to winning in a matter of seconds. Here are some basic strength and power building workouts you can do at your gym.
Take a large truck tire and flip it for 100 yards at a time without stopping. This will build your lower back, abdomen, and shoulder strength.
Squats are one of the best full-body workouts that you can add to your workouts. They actively engage your legs, abs, back, and arms all in one powerful exercise. Use a weight that you can perform 8 to 10 reps per set with, and remember to keep your back straight.
One of the most common exercises that you’ll see famous MMA fighters performing is box jumps. These exercises help to build the explosive power in your legs which will help you to deliver more powerful kicks and increase your defensive reaction speed.
Burpees are another great full-body workout that engage your entire body. You’re combining a squat, push up, and jump all into one exercise that will not only increase your cardiovascular endurance, but build strength and coordination throughout your body.
Pull Ups are another great exercise to add to your routine. These exercises will help you increase your upper body strength and add to the explosiveness of your punches, swings, and grappling takedowns.
Stand up Striking
Kicks are some of the most powerful moves to have in your arsenal. They take a while to master, but with the right amount of time, you can learn to deliver bone-shattering kicks. Make sure that you’re practicing front kicks, push kicks, low kicks, and roundhouse kicks designed to destabilize your opponent. Make sure that you keep one foot firmly planted and aimed towards your target while throwing your shoulders, hips, and legs into each strike.
While you shouldn’t rely solely on your fists, they’re going to be the most consistent weapon at your disposal. Get used to combining jabs, uppercuts, and hooks in various different combinations to confuse your opponent and try to land some heavy hits as their defense breaks down.
Fighting off the Cage
At some point, you’re going to find yourself with your back to the cage. This can be a hard position to escape from, but if you work the angles right and find a window through the onslaught of attacks coming your direction, then it is achievable.
Your best bet is to go for your target’s neck and try to put them into a lock and drag them to the ground when they least expect it. From here, you should be able to put them into a submission hold.
Since we mentioned ground fighting, let’s take a minute to discuss it. Most of the ground fighting in MMA is either a form of Jiu Jitsu or Wrestling. Here are some tips to help you the next time that you’re grappling on the mat during your training routine.
Experienced grapplers and Jiu Jitsu professionals will aim for your legs and try to get you on the ground where they know they can win. Be on the lookout for leg grabs, neck holds, and trip moves designed to make you fall. If you keep your eyes open, you should be able to identify and counter these attacks with your 360-degree defense movements.
When you do find yourself on the ground, the worst thing you can do is stress out, overexert yourself, and lose your cool. Make sure that you’re breathing steady and deep, and have your mind focused purely on technique and predicting your opponent’s next moves.
Keep Your Elbows Close
Always keep your elbows close to your body. As soon as you let your arms flail to the side or stretch above your head, then your opponent will start leveraging you and putting you into holds that you won’t be able to escape. As long as your elbows and arms are close to your torso, you’ll retain control of them.
MMA is a hard sport that’s going to require a lot of your time and energy. However, if you’re willing to give the sport these two things, you’ll be rewarded with fighting skills and personal confidence that will take you to the next level as a person and a fighter.