MMA Strength Training Tips

MMA strength training has to take into account all the various types of movements and the speed of execution of those movements that you intend to use during your fighting career. If you analyse a fight on video you will see what I mean.

For example, in a contest involving at least one grappler the concept of static strength comes into play. You’ll not often see guys in the gym holding weights in specific positions but rather moving them through a plane of motion.

The mixed martial artist who wish to develops some sports specific strength needs to do both as there is a big difference between the two. My advice for wrestlers and grapplers is to do a lot of work using their own body weight using different positions and grips during pull ups and chin ups. For instance, try holding the ball up bar with one hand on the bar and the other hand around the gripping hands wrist. If you try to raise your body weight in this manner your develop an incredible grip strength and also stimulate the muscles are involved in a submission are wrestling to a great degree. There are limitless variations of chins that you can use to increase your grappling strength.

If you wish to punch and kick with more power then the type of strength that you will have to develop to accomplish this involves training with moderately heavy weights and accelerating them.

What this entails is taking an exercise such as the bench press, and instead of training repetitions of 6 to 12 reps as most people normally do, you instead:

  • limit the reps to about three,
  • select a weight that is about 50% of what you could do for one repetition,
  • and rep it from the chest as fast as you can upwards,
  • and then back down in a controlled manner.

Do this for eight sets of three repetitions each with about 30 to 60 seconds rest in between each set. Power lifters have been using this technique known as dynamic effort method for years to increase their power and speed.

Another important aspect of MMA strength training is to try as much as you can to mimic the plane of movement that occurs in a fight. To give you an example of this, take a left hook.

  • It is delivered not with two hands at once but with just one.
  • It involves the musculature of the chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps and abdominals, especially the obliques, all in one coordinated movement.

The best way to mimic this in strength training would be with unilateral dumbbell presses, i.e. just using one arm at a time. You’ll find this quite difficult at first if you have any weak points in your midsection as it really stresses the same groups of muscles and tendons that are needed to deliver a decent left hook (or right hook). But after several sessions training in this manner you will strengthen your body’s ability to work as a unit. This is key to developing strength for MMA.

Strength Training Tips For the Triathlete

Triathletes are some of the best athletes; they are well-rounded, powerful, have high levels of endurance, and possess extreme mental toughness. As a personal trainer, I have worked with numerous triathletes at all levels. One common theme that I see is that they do not perform enough strength training. This can happen for a few different reasons:

1. They do not believe there is benefit
2. They want to focus on their sports
3. They cannot make time in the training schedule
4. They are afraid to get bulky and slow
5. They do not know how to properly train, so they avoid it

Strength training is a valuable tool in any athlete’s tool box. A properly designed program will promote strength, power, endurance, joint health, mobility, and ultimately improve performance and reduce the risk of injury. With the amount of work and repetitive training that triathletes do, it is important to develop a training program that will incorporate movements that will improve their running, swimming, and biking as well as counteract any repetitive movements that can lead to injury. A good example of this is that swimming and biking both promote a high level of internal shoulder rotation so external shoulder and scapular work is important for the health of these athletes.

Running is a high impact, repetitive exercise so many athletes develop nagging injuries such as knee pain, IT band tightness, and low back pain. A strength training program designed for triathletes is important to develop muscular strength and joint mobility. This will help to reduce the stress on the joints and reduce tightness if all muscles around that joint are balanced (abdominal and lower back strength are equal, quadriceps and hamstring strength are relatively equal).

Here are some quick and easy tips for strength training as a triathlete:

1. Focus on multi-joint lower body movements (squats, dead lifts)
2. Incorporate single leg lower body movements (lunges, step ups, single leg squats)
3. Develop upper back strength and improve posture with rows, pull ups, and body rows
4. Maintain shoulder health with overhead pressing and rotator cuff work (internal and external)
5. Build core strength with standing abdominal training, medicine ball rotations, and hamstring/glute development such as bridging
6. Avoid machines and seated movements
7. Avoid isolation exercises as those can promote muscular imbalances around a joint, lead to decreased performance and wasted time
8. Strength train 2-3 days per week depending on your training cycle
9. Train for 45-60 minutes with superset and circuit formatted workouts
10. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between most major strength movements
11. Develop overall power with box jumps, cleans, kettle bell work, and medicine ball throws
12. Be sure to perform dynamic warm ups prior to training to promote tissue quality, joint health, and overall mobility. This can be done with foam rolling and dynamic stretching
13. Spend 5-7 minutes stretching problem areas after your training session. Areas to focus on are hip flexors, hip rotators, shoulders and chest, and hamstrings.

Incorporate these techniques into your training program and you will see marked improvement in overall speed, power, endurance, and health. Seek the assistance of a qualified personal trainer or strength coach with experience in triathlete training. Programming needs to be specific and well planned to avoid overuse or burn out.