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MMA Conditioning Workout

Updated on May 25, 2014

MMA Conditioning

Conditioning has always been an important aspect of the fight game, but it has become increasingly important lately. As fighters become more and more well rounded, there has to be something that separates the champions from the contenders and gatekeepers. That something is good conditioning.

What a lot of fighters don't realize, however, is that good MMA conditioning is very difficult to get. This is because it takes a good routine and a lot of dedication. Wrestling or boxing for fifteen minutes is difficult, so just imagine how much harder it is to do both.

Good conditioning will also reduce your risk of injury and allow you to power through your opponent more effective. Why did BJ Penn separate his rib in the second Matt Hughes fight? Bad conditioning is the answer. Since the GSP fight, BJ has just started training strength and conditioning. You could see the difference in the Kenny Florian fight. He looked more dangerous than ever.

What Will Having Good Conditioning Do For Me?

Having good conditioning has a load of benefits that'll help you both inside and outside of the ring, whether fighting or training for a fight. Here are some of the most obvious benefits.

  • You dictate the pace of the fight.  You'll be able to continue at a relentless pace while your opponent is helpless to stop you.
  • You will be able to win the fight anywhere. With good conditioning comes good power throughout the fight. You'll have more power in your punches and more effective sweeps and escapes due to increased core strength and more consistency.
  • You'll be able to train longer and harder because you'll recover more quickly. This will allow you to grow more quickly as a fighter and exceed your opponents skill level.
  • You will recover more quickly from getting hit. Notice how difficult a lot of well-conditioned athletes are to put to sleep? They can get hurt, sure. Anyone can. But these exceptional athletes are able to recover more quickly due to their fantastic conditioning base.
  • Improve your balance. You'll be harder to take down and will be able to more easily take other people down. You'll also be able to work your angles more effectively in the stand up and remain more active throughout the fight.
  • You will be more healthy overall. Good MMA conditioning means that you'll be in great shape for no matter what you do. Want to play football with the guys? You'll dominate! Good cardiovascular health has been linked to longer lifespans and fewer chronic diseases.
  • You will become smarter, believe it or not. You will be able to get more oxygen to your brain, which'll help you stay focused and motivated in a fight. It'll also help you come up with better game plans.
  • You will be more confident. This goes without saying. If you know you can win the fight anywhere at anytime, you will be more confident than your opponent. The mental game is incredibly important in MMA and you'll be at the top of it.

How To Get Good MMA Conditioning

There are a few key things that you need to do to be well conditioned and ready to destroy your opponent in the ring. These are not actual routines, just things you need to realize and be ready to do when training for MMA conditioning.

First, you'll need to build a good core. This means you'll want to stick to heavy compound lifts and difficult cardio. Olympic lifts are very well-suited for MMA because they teach you how to use all of your muscles in unison. If you can learn how to do a clean and jerk or power snatch, then you'll be well on your way to dominating the octagon (or ring).

Make sure you get plenty of rest. If you train too hard for too long then you're going to overtrain yourself and you'll actually gas in the fight. You might notice that a lot of fighters look like they are in great shape or say that they just started a new training regime, but they gas out in the fight. This is because they didn't rest enough and completely overworked their body. When they finally go to the cage, they were so depleted that they gassed out early.

Understand that you are an individual and that each person has different training needs. You have your own strengths and weaknesses and your MMA program may need to be tweaked to suit you best. You need to gather as much information about conditioning training as possible and then use that knowledge to further yourself.

Examples of Fighters With Great Conditioning

Here are some fighters that have fantastic MMA conditioning that lets them win fights and dominate their division. You'll realize that a lot of these fighters are champions or contenders. This is because so many people overlook the importance of conditioning in mma that it become easy to dominate your opponent if he has such a major disadvantage. It's like Royce Gracie in the original UFC. He was good at something that no one else was so he had a huge advantage. Conditioning is the same way.

  1. Georges St. Pierre has some of the best conditioning in MMA. He has shown this time and time again as he wears down his opponents and grinds them into a pulp on the floor. He is so fast and explosive from his conditioning program that he's able to outstrike the best MMA strikers, Thiago Alves and BJ Penn, and outwrestle NCAA Div 1 champion, Josh Koscheck.
  2. Fedor Emelianenko, while not ripped or big, also has fantastic conditioning. He also has phenomenal strength and some of the most powerful hips in MMA. How do you think he was able to buck both Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman off of him and then submit them right after? All of that power came from his hips. He has shown great recovery ability too, as when he was almost knocked out by Fujita and then managed to choke him out about a minute later.
  3. Jon Fitch is the clear #2 at welterweight and has shown consistently good conditioning. He has walked through almost all of his opponents aside from GSP, who was stronger and better conditioned. Fitch's fantastic MMA conditioning did, however, allow him to survive an entire five rounds and showed that he is one of the toughest dudes around.
  4. Minotauro Nogueira's legendary chin is a direct effect of his good conditioning. He has survived countless blows and has been knocked down numerous times, but has only been finished once. In fact, the only time he has been finished was against Frank Mir when he was sick and unable to train his conditioning. This shows how important conditioning is for MMA.

Randy Couture's MMA conditioning workout

This is just an example of an MMA training circuit. You have to remember that each person is different and you'll need to tailor your routine for yourself. Randy is a great fighter, but this isn't the only routine he does. Check out the MMA conditioning guide above.


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    • profile image

      Martial Arts Liniment 

      7 years ago

      Great hub. MMA got me into insane shape about 2 years ago, and it's stayed with me ever since.

    • TheMMAZone profile image


      7 years ago from Kansas

      Getting into MMA conditioning is hard to start but once you start it is easy to keep up with. Great and useful hub..

    • homeremedies4u profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I've been looking for a way to improve my conditioning. I'm currently doing the insanity workout which has really helped but I need something that's more MMA specific. I checked out your link above and it looks very interesting.

    • Michael122 profile image


      8 years ago from Pleasant Grove

      That hub was awesome. Who do you think would win Forrest Griffin or Tito Ortiz?

    • profile image

      Fedor Emelianenko 

      8 years ago

      Fedor's training involves the 6-8 weeks of preparations for the next match, where he tries to reveal the weak points of the opponent and use them wisely in the fight...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      When it comes to Intensity, Coal Akida has taken it to new combat training levels


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