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What is MMA conditioning?

Long before I talk about what MMA conditioning is. First I have to talk about what conditioning is in general. The best definition I can find related to the word conditioning is:

“Repeated use of a specific stimulus to create a predictable and controlled response in an individual”

It may sound a bit deep, but it sums up exactly what conditioning is that controlled response that is being talked about is the added ability to proceed under pressure. Or have that little bit of extra gas in your tank. Once you understand this generic definition of conditioning, you will see that it applies to all sports.

Nevertheless; The MMA conditioning is quite intense. As mixed martial arts is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, so must the level of conditioning that the fighters will have to perform. With runners or soccer players, their conditioning focuses on particular parts of their bodies, but for mixed martial artists, their MMA conditioning training should be targeted at each part of their bodies.

Why is having a solid MMA conditioning program so important?

When the UFC first started, it was easier to win fights based on technical skill alone, but as times have progressed, the level of technical skill in the sport far exceeds the early days of the UFC and Toughman contest. Fighters are no longer tied to a discipline and have a variety of tools at their disposal.

Don’t get me wrong, conditioning has always been an important aspect of the fighting game. Nevertheless; This has become even more important in recent years as fighters have become more strategic. Sometimes; It is the level of conditioning that a fighter has that separates the winners from the losers, the champions from the mere contenders. Something that many fighters don’t realize is how difficult it can be to achieve good MMA conditioning.

Think how difficult it is for you to box or fight for a full 15 minutes. This is extremely physically taxing and highlights how physically demanding mixed martial arts are and how important a good MMA conditioning routine is to being successful.

Another reason conditioning is important is not just because of the physical effect of the fight, but also because of the mental element. Like I said before, the fight has gotten a lot more strategic than the “I’m going to punch him in the face,” the Chris Leben type attitude.

This is something that is not talked about often, but it is even more important. Think of it this way. If I asked you to keep your hands up and sing the main theme of … let’s say “the fresh prince of the bell air” (almost everyone knows that song). It is not so difficult. Objective; if you have had your hands raised for a few minutes and they start to hurt. Your shoulders burn and you want to rest them, every second you hold them is another second of agony and all you really want to do is put them down and rest. Imagine this point where, even though you try not to think about how tired your arms are, you think and focus on how tired your arms are. Now imagine at this point when all you want to do is lower your hands because the lactic acid in and around your arms and shoulders has built up to a level where every second is agony, and every second of agony seems to be 10 times longer.

Imagine … Imagine that at this stage I asked you to sing the same theme song … Or any song for that matter … I think you will notice that it is not that easy. No matter how disciplined and mentally strong you are, you will find that your attention is now divided between your aching arms and the words of the song. This is the problem in fighting game, your attention will shift from what you need to be aware of, such as particular movements or defenses, and there is a tendency to start concentrating on things that you shouldn’t be thinking about, like being tired, keep your hands up and don’t want your opponent to know how tired you are. Basically, you will start to focus on things that will not serve you and that will not serve you as well.

How do we prevent that from happening? Through a full MMA conditioning program, that’s the answer.

The program must be developed …

  • Aerobic capacity
  • Anaerobic capacity
  • Strength
  • Functional strength
  • Can
  • Muscle stiffening

The main ways to develop these attributes is through …

  • In a hurry
  • Sprint
  • Weightlifting
  • Functional exercises
  • Plyometry

Where to start? The best place is where you are the weakest

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