Get in Fighting Shape With This MMA-Style Workout

The growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has sparked the interest of fitness enthusiasts, who are looking for new, interesting ways to workout. The majority of MMA fighters have amazing physiques, it's no wonder people want to train like they do in hopes of getting their own set of six-pack abs.

More: Boxing for Fitness: Knock Out the Pounds

Please note that we are discussing the strength and conditioning component of an MMA athlete's program. They have other coaches to help them develop their skill-specific training such as jiu-jitsu, wrestling and kickboxing.

I can say with confidence that 99 percent of us don't have the same schedule as a professional athlete. Instead of a 10 a.m. marketing meeting, professional fighters start their morning with the first of two daily training sessions. Their afternoon may consist of interviews, an appointment with the physical therapist, lunch, a nap, and then they're back in the gym for their second training session.

Knowing that a client's fitness level and lifestyle will most likely differ from that of a professional athlete, it's important to make the necessary adjustments to a training routine. Are these big adjustments? Absolutely not. Professionals in many ways are like the rest of us: their bodies can get better and stronger with squats, deadlifts, push-ups and pull-ups.

The variations and progressions in a routine may vary, but the fundamental movements will remain consistent.

Sample MMA Training Session

Circuit training is very effective, especially if you're pressed for time and just want to get in and out of the gym. I'm also a big fan of bodyweight exercises for both the MMA athlete and the general population.

Benefits of bodyweight exercises:

  1. No equipment necessary.
  2. Movements are easy to learn.
  3. No gym membership required—bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere, anytime.
  4. Movements and workouts are easy to adjust or scale depending on your athletic ability.

Here's a circuit workout that will strengthen your entire body and help you get into fighting shape.

More: Slim Down and Tone Up With This 20-Minute Bodyweight Workout

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About the Author

Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC

Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is a fitness professional and the founder of DB Strength in San Diego. He is also the head strength and conditioning coach for Alliance Training Center where he works many with top professional MMA athletes. Visit for more information.

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