How To Train Like An MMA Fighter (With Conditioning Routines)

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A quick search on the internet for ‘MMA training’ will lead you to thousands of results from trainers and wannabes with their proven methods for success.

Although there are some helpful resources out there, it can be hard to determine what MMA training will be useful for you, and which will be a waste of your time.

Having a well-developed conditioning routine is essential when you’re training for MMA, and this is true no matter how you rank as a fighter.

Even in the beginning, there’ll be a conditioning schedule right for you, but it depends on a whole range of factors to determine what that is.

How do you train like an MMA fighter, then?

There’s no specific training schedule that can get you as fit and strong as a professional MMA fighter, so you’ll need to see a trainer in addition to your coach or instructor to develop one.

Learning martial arts is just one part of being a fighter, but without the strength and conditioning to deliver those skills, they’ll be useless.

If you’re in the training stages of becoming an MMA fighter and are looking to gain this extra strength, we can help you out.

We’ve got some basic conditioning routines you can add to your daily workout to use alongside your martial arts training that’ll get you fit and fighting, making you the fiercest competitor around.

The Focus of an MMA Trainee

The Focus of an MMA Trainee

When you’re training to be an MMA fighter, you’ll want to work with a coach who can show you a specific routine to follow. As there are so many different systems of combat, techniques, and skills being used in MMA, there’s no set routine that will work for every trainee.

The focus of anyone training to become an MMA fighter should be building strength, agility, speed, endurance, and flexibility.

Although part of your training will be learning the techniques and moves of a martial art form, the other part is about conditioning your body to be able to deliver them and to improve on all of these areas.

Metabolic conditioning is the term used to describe this type of workout and it’s a staple in the MMA fighter’s routine. These workouts will burn a lot of calories while you’re doing them, and continue when you’re done, and they put the entire body to use to get the most benefits.

Known as some of the most physically challenging workouts, they are so because they deliver results, and will allow you to build as much strength and endurance as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Whether you come up with your own metabolic conditioning routine or see a personal trainer to develop one, you won’t get far without it, and won’t have the goods to last even one round in the cage.

4 Conditioning Routines for MMA

A conditioning routine doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed nor does it require a lot of fancy equipment to be effective.

These are just some of the short workout routines you can perform to strengthen and condition your body and prepare it for the rigors of professional fighting and MMA.

Burpees Marathon

Burpees are one of the most effective exercises that an MMA trainee can do, as it provides a metabolic workout, and gives you experience in something you’ll be doing a lot of in the cage.

This up and down movement builds speed and muscle and burns a whole lot of fat in the process.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then go down into a squat.
  2. Place your hands on the floor in front of you but in between your feet and then put your body weight onto them.
  3. Jump your feet so you land in a plank position, with your body in a straight line.
  4. Jump your feet back to the position just outside of your hands once more.
  5. Jump explosively into the air and put your hands up above your head as you do.
  6. As you land, go back into the squatting position at the start again.

Repeat this with no breaks in between for three minutes at first, adding a minute every few days as your stamina improves. The end goal is to be able to do seven minutes of burpees without stopping.

Man Makers

A Manmaker is a popular exercise for fighters as it conditions your muscles but also gives your heart and lungs a workout, and it’s known as serious business.

Depending on your strength, you can use dumbells of varying sizes, and as you get better and find it less challenging, increase the weight. The goal is to perform this for five minutes repetitively, but you can start at smaller intervals if you need it.

  1. Start in a standing position and drop the two dumbells onto the floor while you jump your feet back behind you.
  2. When you’re done, do a pushup, and when you come back up, perform a plank dumbbell row on the right side.
  3. Do another pushup, and this time do a plank dumbbell row on the left side.
  4. Complete one final pushup and then jump back up to standing position, then finish off by standing in a squat with the dumbells position at your shoulders.
  5. Perform a double shoulder press and push through your thighs to gain momentum.
  6. Go back to standing position and drop the dumbells to start again.



Tabata is another term for high-intensity interval training and it involves sharp and intense bursts of exercise followed by a short rest period.

When you’re trying to condition your body for a fight, having the stamina that this builds will be paramount to your success. The best thing about Tabata is you can mix it up with exercise, like jump rope, burpees, or sprints.

  1. Download a Tabata app that can help you with timing. You’ll be doing eight 20 second high-speed intervals and then a 10-second break follows. The rest will usually be a slowed-down version of the exercise, and not necessarily a total break.
  2. Perform 20 seconds of jumping rope at the highest speed.
  3. Have 10 seconds of rest by continuing to jump but doing it slowly.
  4. Continue for eight minutes of continuous exercise.



One of the simplest (and cheapest) ways to get a cardiovascular workout in with no equipment is to go for a run. Running has loads of benefits on the body but it’s especially good for building stamina and improving your heart and lung capacity.

For this workout, all you have to do is pick a track and run for at least three miles. If you’re new to running, you can start with just half of that and aim to do a little more each day.

Running will help you in the cage as well, giving you speed and agility over your competitor that can allow you to escape their blows, and ensuring you have what it takes to last.

Related Questions

MMA training is one of the most challenging parts of being involved in this combat sport, and without the excitement of a fight to get you going, it can also be hard to find the motivation to do.

If you’re about to start training for MMA and want to learn everything you can about the process, we’ve answered some more questions to help you out.

What Kind of Cardio Workouts Do MMA Fighters Do?

Cardio is an important type of exercise to do each day as an MMA fighter but to make the most use of your time, you should be doing workouts that mirror the moves in the cage.

For example, drills that include burpees and sprints, or training sessions of sparring and shadowboxing will improve your skills and also give you a cardiovascular workout.

What Foods Increase Stamina?

If you want to last longer in a fight and already have a good strength and conditioning routine, you can add foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates to your diet for further stamina.

Good carbs like brown rice and whole-grain pasta, and protein sources of lean chicken, fish, eggs, almonds, and peanut butter are good foods for building stamina.

What is the Best Age to Start MMA Training?

There’s no perfect age to start mixed martial arts training, and it’s something you can do at any time in life, but if you want to be a professional fighter then your young adult years are ideal.

As soon as someone’s body is fully developed it’s ideal to start some form of serious mixed martial arts to get a head start on the training and conditioning needed to be a professional fighter.

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