When it's time to think of examples of impressive physicality, it's hard to come up with a better example than an MMA fighter. They have strength, endurance, flexibility, and everything else one could hope to achieve with their body. So how do they do it? In this post, we'll take a look at some of the ways MMA fighters train, and how you can use them to take your workout routine to the next level.
Start Training in Martial Arts
Unfortunately, punching a bag in your local gym alone isn't going to make you an MMA-worthy fighter, nor will it give you the same level of workout and discipline training that the best fitness buffs want to achieve. On the plus side, however, it's not hard to find a gym or dojo that offers classes in Brazilian jujitsu, taekwondo, judo, or one of the other popular martial arts. Taking martial arts lessons will give you practice at punching, kicking, and blocking with a partner, not to mention get you in touch with an instructor who can teach you proper technique and exercise discipline.
Increase Your Endurance Training
MMA fighters don't just train to grow big showy muscles – they train to use those muscles for extended periods of intense physical activity. A good MMA fighter can punch and kick at near-maximum exertion for up to five minutes at a time. That takes both training for power endurance and aerobic endurance. To build up muscle power, adopt a routine of doing explosive exercises in intervals of 15-20 reps (or 30-45 seconds) for five rounds, with only 30 second rest times in between. Building aerobic endurance, on the other hand, means increasing the length of time you spend on cardio and/or integrating long runs into your exercise regimen.
Build Your Core
Having the strength to deliver a good, hard kick or punch comes from your core. If you want to get MMA fit, you're going to have to go beyond just sit ups. Fit as many core-strengthening exercises as you can into your routine, with a focus on doing fewer reps with more weight. The more weight you lift, the stronger your muscles will get, even if you're doing fewer reps than you were before.
Go for Strength over Bulk
If you put a bodybuilder next to an MMA fighter, chances are the MMA guy is going to look less bulky. Don't let that fool you, though – MMA fighters may not always have the physique of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that's because they know that muscle size and muscle strength do not always have a 1:1 correlation. Your muscles will grow bigger as you exercise them, but following an MMA regimen focuses on strength, endurance, and overall muscle development, rather than just achieving maximum muscle tone. Stick to exercises that are about building strength, not the ones that just puff you up.
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