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Strength and Conditioning for Mixed Martial Arts

I think we can all agree that a number of different elements combine to make someone physically fit. They should have great cardiovascular endurance, as well as muscular power, endurance and flexibility and for this overall fitness, mixed martial arts (MMA) is fantastic. An MMA fighter has to be strong enough to dominate the opponent and throw powerful strikes, flexible enough to avoid injury, and have enough endurance to last five minute rounds while receiving punches and kicks. MMA has been steadily rising in popularity since its inception in the early 1990s and has now become a massive sport practiced all over the world with UFC events being held in such places as Las Vegas, Australia and the UK. MMA combines a combination of different martial arts such as kickboxing for stand-up striking, American wrestling for takedowns and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for submissions and chokes on the ground and all of these require various elements of fitness. Kickboxing is great for agility, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, wrestling is great for strength and endurance and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for flexibility and muscular endurance. This means that those practicing MMA are training all of the necessary components of fitness and so, after time consistently training will develop a strong flexible body, heart and lungs. Many professional MMA fighters now cross train in different strength and conditioning aspects such as ex-welterweight UFC champion Georges St-Pierre who incorporates a lot of gymnastics into his workouts as you can see below. Whole strength and conditioning programs have been dedicated to mixed martial arts, as it is such a well rounded and complete level of fitness once you get to the higher levels of training. Heavy lifting is involved to increase power and strength, but this is combined with heavy setting to ensure muscular endurance, as well as cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and agility to ensure fighters stay quick and fit for purpose. This gym training is then complimented by martial arts training such as boxing or kickboxing rounds, again to build endurance and agility, along with sparring rounds encompassing all elements of MMA from striking to wrestling to groundwork. Even relatively amateur MMA fighters have a very high level of fitness due to their bodies being put under constant stress from strikes, takedowns and submissions and when training MMA you are essentially doing a full body workout. As a result of this, overall fitness needs to be achieved that doesn’t focus on just one element such as strength and power. All the components of fitness (flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and muscular power) must be worked on and this is why strength and conditioning workouts for MMA are some of the hardest, but most effective workouts in the world today.