ultimate mma strength and conditioning program

Creating an MMA Workout Program

By Eric Wong, BSc, CSCS

If you want to setup your own MMA workout program, then this article will definitely help you out. I’m going to take you through my thought process when it comes to creating a program if I were to meet a fighter for the first time. By answering these questions yourself, you can come up with your own program that fits your situation.

Let’s get started:

  • question mark

    Do I have any injuries, pain, or movement limitations to address? These things should be worked on first before trying to build.

  • Do I have a fight coming up? If so, how many weeks do I have? If not, just pick 12 weeks as a nice amount of time to program for. Work backwards from the date, setting up 2-4 week blocks to focus on one area of improvement at a time.

  • What areas do I need the most work - body composition, strength, power, or endurance? If you've got a fight coming up, power-endurance will be the main focus in the 4 weeks leading up to the fight, aside from that it depends on your situation.

  • How many days a week can I commit to strength and conditioning for MMA? For most fighters, 2-3 days a week is sufficient to get good results.

  • What aspect of my mixed-martial arts technique training do I need to focus on the most? Whatever this aspect is, you want to be fresh for it, so you don't want to do strength and conditioning on the same day.

  • What exercises do I hate, that I should probably do more often? Most athletes stick to their favourite exercises, neglecting those that would probably give them the most improvement.

Now when it comes to choosing actual exercises, make sure you include ALL of the following:

  • A dynamic warmup to improve your mobility before your workout

  • The big compond exercises to build your general strength (squats, deadlifts, lunges, chinups, bench press)

  • Unilateral exercises to develop your stabilizer muscles and maintain muscular balance (1-arm rows, 1-arm presses, 1-leg stiff-leg deadlifts)

  • Static core stability exercises (planks)

  • Dynamic core stability exercises (woodchops)

  • Rotational power exercises (medicine ball throws)

  • Injury prevention exercises for the shoulder (cuban press, external rotations)

When you're putting these exercises together into a workout, ensure that you're hitting the full body in your workouts, since you'll only have 2-3 sessions to do. If you do a body part split, you just won't have enough stimulus to cause adaptation.

Rep ranges, rest, and sets are beyond the scope of this article, because there is an entire science to choosing the proper schemes, depending on your situation and what you need.

So hopefully this has shed some light on the thought process going in to creating an MMA workout program for yourself.

If you want to save time and follow a program that's been proven in the ocatagon that's already done for you so you can hit the gym today, check out the Ultimate MMA workout program.

Here's what one fighter had to say about training on this program:


Best Shape Ever!

Having completed Eric's 17 week programme, I can safely say that I am in the best shape that I have ever been. In other programmes, I only ever developed one aspect of fitness, but with Eric's periodised approach I have developed a well balanced body and improved my strength, power and cardio. Furthermore, I have not needed to train more than 3-4 times a week, I have not recieved any injuries and most importantly, I have not felt too tired/sore for when I hit my technical training. The NRG complexes were my favourite part of the programme. These tough circuits are designed to  develop power endurance, which is most important attribute for a mixed martial artist. Thanks again Eric!

Subaig Singh, UK Mixed Martial Artist


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