I often say that much like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Muay Thai and Boxing are the mandatory ”arts” in mixed martial arts, so too is strength and conditioning.

But why?

Because you are preparing yourself for an unpredictable war that can tax your body in SOOO many different ways.

And in order to ready yourself for all those situations you need to develop almost EVERY physical attribute of an athlete.

You have to have flexibility, stability, cardiovascular endurance, maximum strength, muscular endurance, strength endurance, power, and power endurance… for starters.

Athletes from any sport can benefit from any or all of these attributes, but not to the degree that an MMA fighter must develop them.

MMA fighters have to continuously strive to reach the highest levels of conditioning if they want to be a complete fighter.

In fact, not properly developing any one of these attributes can be your weakest link and make the difference between victory or defeat in a fight.

So if it’s that important where do you begin?

By Understanding the Different Types of S & C Attributes you’ll Need as a Fighter

1. Flexibility

A fighter should work to develop his flexibility right from the beginning. The benefit of flexibility goes far beyond just being able to kick a 7 foot opponent in the head with ease.

By continuously improving your flexibility you reduce risk of injury, increase range of motion (important foundation for strength and speed), and improve your posture—which helps produce high levels of functional strength.

2. Stability Training

Many athletes never give this type of training much attention, but for MMA fighters, it’s absolutely essential.

While you are straightening your posture and improving your neuromuscular efficiency (a fancy term for your body’s ability to coordinate movement) with flexibility, it is also important for fighters to train for stability, which is essentially strengthening your core muscles and improving your balance.

Having strong core muscles go way beyond having six pack abs.

A strong core is where your draw the center of power for your punches, kicks, and throws.

Having good balance is vital for fighters since 9 out of 10 positions mma fighters find themselves in requires a strong sense of balance: whether you are on one leg defending a takedown, throwing powerful kicks and punches, or pushing/pulling your opponent in the clinch.

Developing strong stabilization muscles will set the foundation from which you can develop elite levels of strength and conditioning as a fighter.

3. Cardiovascular Conditioning

For beginners in MMA, it is always good to start off building a strong foundation of aerobic conditioning.

Aerobic conditioning includes any low intensity, long distance/time period types of conditioning, such as jogging or bicycling at a slow pace for several miles.

This type of conditioning is great for recovering your ”wind” quickly by improving your lungs oxygen capacity, preparing yourself for going the distance, and building a very base level of cardio endurance.

Anaerobic conditioning, however, is essentially the type of conditioning you’ll want to develop to the highest level, simply because this is what will be taxed the heaviest in an intense mma battle, PLUS it carries over to aerobic conditioning as well.

So if aerobic conditioning is low intensity for long distances, you can guess that anaerobic is high intensity for short distances/intervals.

By first developing a base of aerobic conditioning, followed by more and more intense anaerobic conditioning, you will be on the right track to developing a strong cardiovascular system that can keep your breathing evenly throughout a MMA fight.

4. Maximum Strength

We all know this one. It’s basically your one rep max in a given exercise. Though many people chastise maximum strength like it isn’t important in mma and some even say it can work against you as a mixed martial artist, this simply isn’t true.

Having “big muscles” may hurt your cause, but being as strong as possible can really only enhance your ability as a fighter, provided you balance out the rest of your strength and conditioning.

The one thing beginners should know about maximum strength is this: this is something that you should constantly be increasing, throughout your whole career as a fighter.

Maximum strength serves as the foundation for all other types of muscular conditioning, so it is something that you should strive to continuously improve upon.

The best time to improve your maximum strength is right in the beginning, before you do any other type of muscular conditioning and as far out from your fights as possible.

This is because when it comes time to train specifically for a scheduled fight, you’re going to want to spend all your time and energy taking that new strength and developing the rest of the types of muscular conditioning.

5. Muscular Endurance

After building a solid foundation of strength, you’ll want to begin to develop your muscular endurance, which is your ability to contract your muscles with light resistance or body weight over and over as long as possible without fatiguing.

6. Strength Endurance

Strength endurance is the same as muscular endurance except that instead of exerting against light resistance, you are exerting maximum strength—one to three reps max—over and over in a given period of time.

In other words, how many times can you squat your 1-3 rep maximum in a five minute time period? The more reps you can squeeze in, the better your strength endurance.

7. Power

Power is simply strength x speed. So once you develop a solid level of maximum strength, you’ll want to train your muscles to move that resistance quickly and explosively. The faster you can move heavier weight, the more powerful you become.

8. Power Endurance

Like strength endurance, power endurance is the ability to execute powerful movements over and over in a relatively long period of time with minimal fatigue.

If you can develop a high level of maximum strength, then condition your muscles to endure long periods of both light resistance and near maximum resistance, then turn that strength into power, then finally develop your muscles so you can continuously perform powerful movements over and over without fatiguing, then you’ve reached an elite level of mma strength and conditioning.

The End Goal when Preparing for a Fight

Essentially when you end up with a well developed level of strength and power endurance in the form of relative strength – which is your strength to weight ratio – a foundational base of aerobic endurance, and a very high level of anaerobic endurance…then you’ll be off to a good start.

About the Author
Derek Manuel is a personal trainer specializing on strength and conditioning for mma fighters. Check out his reviews of complete, comprehensive, and step-by-step mma workouts on the web today at BestMMATrainingWorkouts.com

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