In order to get the most out of your strength and conditioning program, every fighter must be consistent. Without consistency, you will never develop into the powerful athlete that you desire to be. Once you are committed, then its time to start working in the gym. Lets start with a basic template to use for each workout.
MMA Strength and Conditioning Workout Template
Mobility and SMR – 5 minutes
Got a few minor aches & pains? Maybe its from sitting too long, training or just plain sore… either way, in order to combat this tightness and prepare for the workout, we start each session with a variety of mobility drills and soft tissue work. Soft tissue work is basically a fancy word for foam rolling. This trigger point work, combined with mobility drills, helps loosen up overactive muscles, lube up the joints and avoid injury.
Activation – 5 minutes
Our warm up is just an extension of the mobility and SMR work, but this section focuses more on movement, raising the core body temperature, and further preparing the body for the workout. Typically we will do a variety of isometric exercises, crawling, animal drills, running drills and a variety of other things to get the athlete prepped.
Speed, Agility and Quickness 5-10 minutes
This section of the workout is designed to ‘light up’ the nervous system. This can include things like movement drills at speed, speed ladders, cone drills, plyometrics, medicine ball work and more. We categorize these movements into sprints, jumps and throws. Short doses of explosive drills to wake up the body and prepare it for the work coming up.
Strength 20-40 minutes
This is the meat and potatoes of the workout. At this point the body is warm, fired up and ready to work hard. Depending on the ability level and goal for each athlete, we tailor make each workout to help them GET STRONG in every direction. We squat, lunge, push, pull, bend, and carry using a variety of tools. Barbells, kettlebells, sandbags, chains, bands, dumbbells, and many other pieces of equipment are used to challenge each athlete. While many programs strictly focus on basic gym lifts, we also use a lot of unconventional lifts that challenge each fighter from head to toe.
Once the strength work is completed, then its time to make the heart beat and open up the lungs. Many sports, like football, rely on short, quick bursts of effort, with lots of time to rest. MMA is a different beast. Fighters need to have speed, strength, power and the ability to endure for up to 25 minutes. Because of this, fighters must do a variety of conditioning drills that challenge each the three energy systems. In our program we basically do 3 types of conditioning work: 5-12 sec bursts of effort, 20sec-1 minute grinder splits and 2 minute + duration sessions. Depending on the goal for that day and the needs of the athlete, we adjust accordingly.
Today, many coaches and athletes believe that they need to be exhausted after every workout, but nothing could be further from the truth. The goal with each workout should be to stimulate, not annihilate the athlete. Sure they can work hard, but they must get better, not just tired.
Having a template for each workout helps an athlete make progress over time, develops a well rounded fighter and helps avoid overtraining and injury.
You may not follow this template for every workout, but having this to fall back on will bring some structure to your plans.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.