Circuit Training for MMA
An Introduction to Circuit Training
Circuit training is high intensity and combines both anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Users will typically move between several stations throughout the circuit, with little break inbetween each exercise. After a circuit is complete, you can restart the same circuit or move on to another one, depending on your routine. There is usually a one minute break inbetween circuits.
Bodyweight exercises are very common in circuit training routines: you'll be hard pressed to find one that doesn't contain push-ups, pull-ups, or dips. With that in mind, resistance bands and weights are sometimes used, but they are not a constant in the world of circuit training.
How Circuit Training is Beneficial to MMA
Many fighters utilize circuit training, as they are drawn to the high intensity workouts and the high levels of endurance that can be had from following a routine. While circuit training is very good for MMA, it does have some limitations. Mainly, it doesn't build up strength as quickly as traditional power exercises do. It is therefore important to utilize both circuit training and traditional strength training if you want to really create a good routine for mixed martial arts.
Below are the benefits of circuit training in regard to MMA:
- One of the best ways to quickly gain muscular and cardiovascular endurance, due to short pauses and high repetitions.
- Relatively easy to do, as many of the exercises only require bodyweight. You can create an effective circuit using simple home gym equipment.
- Exercises can be modified and moved around to "shock" your body out of a plateau, meaning that it's pretty easy to continue improving indefinitely.
- Additional goals can be set, like completing the circuit 10, 15, or even 20 times. This is a good way to sample overall progress over time.
- Relates to the first point, but having good endurance will allow you to dictate where the fight goes and recover more quickly if you get hurt.
Some Training Tips
As I mentioned before, circuit training isn't the end-all training method for mixed martial arts. It's important to combine it with other routines in order to maximize your gains and get the best out of your workouts.
I'd recommend using a 5-day split similar to this:
- Monday: Circuit training + Strength training
- Tuesday: Circuit training
- Wednesday: Strength training
- Thursday: Circuit training
- Friday: Strength training
This will allot you a single day inbetween strength training sessions, which is great if you utilize a traditional three day split. The circuit training is lumped together, with a long break from Thursday to Monday, which'll allow your body to recover from the hard week. This will ensure that you've improved on Monday and will be able to do your best. Using a 5-day split like this, I'd recommend benchmarking yourself on either Monday or Tuesday, which will be the best days to figure out where you stand in regard to your conditioning.
Make sure you eat plenty of food and water while you're working out; nutrients are absolutely essential so that your body can recover after a hard days work. On top of that, I suggest getting at least 8 hours of rest a day. Oversleeping can actually sap your energy, so never sleep more than 10 or you might end up more tired than you were when you went to sleep.
Circuit Training for MMA
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