Train Like A Modern Gladiator
Use the tools and concepts from Mixed Martial Arts help spice up your training routine.
by Sifu Dan & Simo Dasha Anderson
Mixed martial artists are known as modern day Gladiators; tales of their strength and conditioning routines are talked about in gym locker rooms across the country. But these myths of peak physical shape really go back to the basics of the sport’s many demands including: strength, endurance, agility, balance, power, reaction, timing and flexibility. Utilizing the concepts mixed martial artists use to prepare for their time in the cage can help bring your conditioning routine to a new level, not to mention help create a new challenge and spice up a tired routine.
The uniqueness of MMA’s conditioning comes from its use of sport specific drills, time intervals and exercise choices. All three concepts are brought together to create a training session that can closely mimic the variables a fighter will face in the ring. Adding these concepts in your lifting and cardio routine once or twice a week can help get you out of a stale routine, creating excitement as well as a new physical challenge, additionally helping the body get rid of the natural plateaus even the most dedicated fitness buffs face.
I. Use the intervals of MMA to create an endurance, strength and cardio session like no other!
Often in MMA (mixed martial arts) the athlete must go through a maximum level of exertion for a full five minute round. The fighter gets only one minute breaks in-between each round and championship bouts last 5 rounds (or twenty-five grueling minutes).
To mimic the level of exertion a mixed martial artist will go through we must mimic the time intervals and the elements the athlete will face in the ring.
Since martial arts utilizes both aerobic and anaerobic pathways, uses strength and endurance, requires high amounts of power exertion and additionally require a high level of balance, reaction, stability, quickness and agility the ‘circuit rounds’ below will incorporate all of those elements.
Like A Fighter:
Use the exercises listed below and feel free to add in some of your own challenging variations. The main goal is to keep up strength, balance and power output through out each round. Take the rest between rounds as recovery and then jump back into the exercises with virtually no stop in between each. Typically it would be ideal to maintain each exercise for a minute before switching to the next, but for tougher versions and longer rounds feel free to switch every thirty seconds. In general including plyometrics, stability endurance, ropes, kettle bells, sprints and free weights is ideal.
* Take 2 minute rests in between each round
Round 1 ‘warm up round’ 3 minutes
1 minute of kettle bell double handed swing / 1 minute of wall ball toss / 30 seconds of burpies / 30 seconds of bosu ball stability
Round 2 ‘intensify’ 4 minutes
1 minute of kettle bell double handed swing / 1 minute of wall ball toss / 30 seconds of burpies / 30 seconds of bosu ball stability/ 1 minute sprints (do short sprints if you are limited on space)
Round 3 ‘goal time’ 5 minutes
1 minute of kettle bell double handed swing / 30 sec of wall ball toss / 1 minute burpies / 30 seconds of plyometrics (any jumping variation) / 1 mute of bosu ball push-ups / 1 minute of sprints / 1 minute hold plank
Round 4 ‘maintain the goal’ 5 minutes
1 minute of kettle bell double handed swing / 30 seconds of wall ball toss / 30 seconds of burpies / 30 seconds of bosu ball stability / 30 second of plyometrics of choice/ 30 seconds of push-ups/ 30 seconds of sprints / 30 seconds bosu ball plank /30 seconds of jump squats /
Round 5 ‘the push’ 5 minutes
30 seconds of jump squats / 30 seconds push ups/ 30 seconds burpies/ 30 seconds wall ball toss/ 30 second sprints/ 30 seconds bosu ball stability/ 30 kettle bell swings/ 30 seconds pull ups/ 1 minute hold plank
• Take 1 minute rests in between each round
Round 1 ‘warm up round’ 3 minutes
Round 2 ‘intensify’ 5 minutes
Round 3 ‘goal time’ 6 minutes
Round 4 ‘maintain the goal’ 7 minutes
II. Bring in MMA drills to recruit new muscles
The motions that are involved in martial arts are an incredible way to include multi joint, functional exercises into your routine. Every time a kick or punch is thrown the entire body is working to create the motion, build muscle, burn calories and deliver the blow. Use some of the most common MMA drills to wake new muscles and functionalize your training.
Solo MMA training:
All you need is 5-pound weights:
1. Grab a 5 pound weight and work your punching:
Include 50 jab –cross combinations, followed by 50 high hook motions and then 50 upper cuts.
2. Holding the 5-pound weights, with your hand directly in front of your face (boxing stance), throw 50 high straight kicks each leg (aiming the touch the top of your head with your toe). Then follow up with 50 cresent kicks each leg (the cresent kick is virtually the same as the straight kick, but as you kick up you also make a large circle with the leg right in front of your body).
All you need is 16-ounce boxing gloves and a heavy bag:
1. Throw on a pair of 16-ounce boxing gloves and work five three-minute rounds of straight punches.
• Stay away from hooks and upper cuts unless you have had formal training (the motions are more likely to cause wrist injury if not done correctly). Your straight punches will include the jab-cross combination.
2. Staying with the heavy bag, keeping your hands up and from boxing stance throw a straight kick that will push the heavy bag back with the ball of your foot. Do 100 kicks each leg, pushing the bag back in one swift motion. Once 100 kicks is easy, do timed rounds (2-5 minutes of kicking for a total of five rounds).
• This ‘push kick’ kick is ideal for beginners because it requires the least amount of training, yet still provides a great calorie burn and strength training workout.
3. Knee skips are one of the best, and toughest conditioning tools around. To add this motion to your heavy bag routine, first hug the bag with both hands, clenching the hands on the other side of the bag. Once you have a firm grip, skip alternate knees into the bag, striking with the tip of your knee. Try to develop a fast paced rhythm once you get the hang of it and do not stop until your count or round are up.
• Do 100 straight or opt for tougher timed round of two minutes of continuous hitting.
Hit the mat:
MMA groundwork requires a mat, or a padded floor
Aim for fifty consecutive repetitions of each exercise
• Laying on your back, bridge up and reach your hand to touch the opposite side of the floor, go left to right with out stopping
2. Crab walk
• First, sit on your butt, placing the arms right behind you, then lift your body up with your hands and legs, butt suspended off of the ground, then just crawl backward and forward
3. Spiderman crawl
• Get into push up position and start to crawl forward, like Spiderman does when he is climbing the side of a building
4. Monkey walk
• Picture a big gorilla jumping around, then hunch down and bend the knees, touching your knuckles to the ground, start to laterally jump to the left or right side in a continuous, hunched over, legs bent ‘gorilla’ style motion
• From standing, jump down and lightly thrust your hips to the ground while spreading your legs wide, then, jump right back up to standing in one swift motion