Every guy wants to be an MMA Legend. It’s instinctual, the alpha-males are the strong ones, able to defeat other men. We all want to be able to face another man in a ring (or octagon) and stand victorious when all is said and done. Fighters have very specialized training regiments that hone all the perfect muscles for their particular style of fighting. Regular guys simply can’t do most of these workouts without proper prep. Here are 6 workouts that combine the MMA techniques with some simpler routines that will transform you from that flabby guy at work to your city’s very own mixed martial arts fighter.
1. Shadow Cardio: One thing a lot of people who watch MMA don’t realize is how much it takes out of you. Fighting for 5 minute intervals is equivalent to doing wind sprints for that amount of time. That’s why cardio (namely running) is one thing every fighter has to do. But running is way too boring to make this list, so let’s look into a more enticing version. There are 3 ways to do “Shadow Cardio.” No Contact Sparring is a good way if you have another wannabe MMA’er around. Also, hitting a heavy bag can run up your punch strength while you knock out some cardio. And lastly, good ol’ fashion shadow boxing if you don’t want to risk hurting yourself or a friend. The only requirement is that you know your patterns and punches — you can’t just flail about. Do 3 – 5 minute sessions and try to work your way up to doing 5 sessions a set. Keep your punches fast and efficient, and after some time, you won’t need to worry about tiring yourself out in the ring.
2. Weight Burnouts: Cardio is good and all, but your muscles are still gonna tire and weaken over time, even though your breath may stay calm and your heart rate may remain as though you were sitting still. It is essentially using so little weight that you can do tons of reps before your muscles tire. They work on muscle stamina and the unnecessary “fat” thing. A good example is the Bench Press Burnout. It consists either of lifting only the bar (45 lbs.) for as many reps as you can before your arms give out. Another form is to start with 10 lbs. on either side, do 10 reps, then down to 5 lbs., then just the bar, then back up, and so on and so forth until your arms are mush. You can come up with your own burnouts for whichever workouts you enjoy doing most, or whatever muscles you need to become well-oiled machines. I suggest avoiding leg workouts (jelly legs are probable.) Burnouts will ensure that your last punch, elbow, kick, is just as strong as your first.
3. An Uphill Struggle: Enough of these lightweight and cardio shenanigans! “An Uphill Struggle” will build all the muscles necessary to have people fearing your feet. One of the workouts used at the legendary MMA training facility “The Pit.” It involves a wheelbarrow and weights (plates, gravel, dirt, anything heavy) and a hill, obviously. After that, it is pretty much what you would expect, take the heavy stuff up the hill with the wheelbarrow, and feel the burn. One thing you might not expect is how much more dreadful the downhill can become. It’s a great way to work the leg muscles, as well as your core, and in a lesser way, even your arm muscles will feel the pain.
4. The Tire Swing: Another lovely “Pit” workout, the Tire Swing will turn you into a “cannon-wielding” menace able to destroy something with a single strike. You will need a large tire (Something 30″ or more off a construction vehicle is best) and a sledgehammer. Take big overhead swings, putting as much into each swing as you can down onto the edge of the tire. Another important aspect is to control the bounce of the hammer, both for safety, and to work “both sides” of your muscles. I’ve heard people use mauls in place of a sledgehammer, but I can’t suggest this since bounce is a factor, and the dangerous side of the maul is what would be bouncing towards your face. The Tire Swing is the feeling and action of throwing a right or left hook. Which reminds me, make sure to work both sides, you don’t want to have one monster sized arm, and one regular one (I hope.) Also, if you can’t find a tire to use, a similar workout is chopping wood.
5. Iron Body Training: So you’re probably thinking “where’s all the crazy on this list?” Well here you go. Iron Body Training is used by Shaolin Monks to make their bodies “impervious” to pain. The way they do it is with bamboo staffs, striking someone repeatedly on various parts of the body other than the neck and joints for safety reasons. Eventually the pain (which is substantial) is no longer felt. This occurs through a mixture of physical and mental responses. Skin and muscles will adapt to better withstand the blows, and stop sending pain signals to the brain so the mind will “get used to” the pain levels, and in a way “reset” what constitutes pain. Now, having someone hit you repeatedly with a bamboo staff, or even a bag or rocks, can be quite dangerous. A better idea has been light punches, and even a lightly thrown medicine ball. If you really want to, you can work your way up to the crazy stuff.
6. Stretching!?: I know it sounds stupid, but stretching is one simple thing that so few people do properly. It can really enhance one’s ability to fight. I doubt most people have the flexibility to kick someone in the head, or pull off a chimera submission, but just about every MMA fighter, regardless of whether they use it or not, do. Any kind of ground game (offensive or defensive) is going to require very high flexibility in all your joints. A good stretching routine not only before, but also after workouts, is a good way to prevent injury — and also promote muscle growth.
So go now, and enjoy some new workouts, but remember, all things in moderation, even exercise. Don’t jump into a workout you feel uncomfortable with, and don’t hurt yourself. UFC, here we come.