MMA, or mixed martial arts, is a combat sport based on the Brazilian full-contact sport of Vale Tudo. Make no mistake about it -- mental toughness and a keen sense of strategy are vital. But the combat element makes physical fitness crucial as well, so bodybuilding workouts are crucial for MMA training programs. Always consult your doctor before starting any workout plan, and exercise with proper supervision. With the right training plan, your opponent won't know what hit her.
Seek out a fitness assessment from a fitness professional. You can't tell how much progress you've made if you don't know where you started, so initial evaluations are very helpful. Such assessments will not only help identify your current strengths but can also indicate areas of improvement. The fitness assessment will provide you with a baseline by which you can measure your progress and can assist in the identification of appropriate weights and exercises to employ in your program. Comparing your progress to your initial assessment can help provide motivation as you see how far you've come.
Choose a training split, or schedule, to use for your workouts. The two major types of splits are full-body workouts and body-part workouts. The former involves a few workouts each week, each of which includes exercises for your entire body, while the latter features more frequent workouts in which just one body part is the focus of each. Both setups have benefits, so base your choice on your goals and your schedule. Full-body workouts can provide an intense cardio workout in addition to muscle building, while body-part splits give you more control over what muscles you're working each day.
Strengthen your upper body with exercises such as the bench press, military press, lat pulldown and barbell row. These exercises will help strengthen your chest, arms and back to provide force to your punches. Include explosive exercises, such as the clean and press, to train your body to produce quick, powerful motions. Quick strikes can surprise your opponent and give you the upper hand.
Perform exercises for your lower body such as squats, deadlifts and leg presses. Such exercises will help you maintain leg endurance when darting around the MMA ring, and can enhance your leg strength for kicking. Include explosive exercises such as jump squats and rope jumping to improve your speed and agility. Your opponent can't hit you if she can't catch you, so speed is of the essence.
Include core exercises such as planks, trunk rotation, weighted crunches and hanging leg raises in your MMA workout routine. Your core muscles are crucial for MMA performance, as they help provide balance and can encourage improved stability, precision and control of your limbs. This will help you achieve more powerful and accurate strikes. These exercises can also help tighten your stomach, so you can turn heads outside the fighting ring as well.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.