Here is an article I wrote for another site on conditioning for MMA. I thought some people here might be interested. MMA CONDITIONING BASICS MMA fighters have to be ready to go all out for 5 straight minutes without gassing. With only a minutes rest between rounds this may be repeated 5 times for a championship fight. Now conventional wisdom is: spar and hit the bag to get in shape to fight and run for cardio. I mean throw in a bunch of situps and pushups and thats got everything covered right? Boxers have trained that way for years. That's how rocky did it-lol! Wrong. The difference is boxing is a very specific sport. You float around and throw punches. Other than a tie up here and there you are not really exherrting full body maximal muscle contractions and even in a tie up your basically just buying time. In MMA you could be in any one of a thousand tied up postitions trying to wriggle your arms or legs free as soemone is raining down elbows on your head. Now this isnt meant to take anything away from the sweet science. Boxers are exceptionally well trained athletes with devastating knowckout ability. I'm just saying MMA is a different animal with different training needs. So if you fight MMA style wont that prepare you physically? Well, yes and no. Of course sparring no holds barred style would prepare you for fighting better than running or punching the bag and doing situps but depending on who your training partner is you may not hit every muscle group/movement pattern with power and/or often enough to get an adaptive response. Also, other than increasing your time sparring it is impossible to program any type of progressive overload into your workouts. Now, sure, you could spar, run and lift weights and those 3 things go along way into developing the total package but I think there is a better way. Here is a workout I gave one of my MMA guys. It works total body power, multiple muscles and movement patterns. Devolps a high level of muscular endurance and is readily able to apply progressive overload to. We didnt neglect maximum effort exercise once a week to increase overall strength and plenty of sparring was done also. Warm up: 3 non stop circuits of 25 calf raises/25 squats/15 pushups/15 dumbell rows with 50lb db's. Once warmed up and stretched out he did 4 minutes and 30 seconds of as many rounds as he could of: Viking press with 50-60% of max single plus blue mini bands pulling down x3 explosive rep. 63lb KB front squat to a 12" box x 10 reps. Renegade/pushup rows 50lbsx10reps each arm. (one pushup was done after each arm had completed a rep or rows) Stone load over bar 115 stone x 10 reps over nipple height bar. -At 4:30 he was told "30 seconds remaining" and he dropped what ever he was doing and immediately went to the heavy bag and threw 30 seconds of all out punches. After one minutes rest he was at it again for 5 rounds total. NOW THE WHY?'s 1. Viking Press: works total body explosion teaching the fighter how to put his entire body behind the extension of his arms. The multiple sets of low reps with 50-60% is also known as dynamic effort training. 2. KB Front Squat: works the legs and lungs while giving the upper body a bit of a break on subsequent rounds. Takes balance and coordination and if the fighter gets tired he can bail the bells forward and doesnt have to worry about getting out from under a bar on his back. Also repeatedly sitting on the box and exploding off each rep will help witht he fighters ability to explode with his legs even when fatigued. 3. Renegade Pushup/rows: Works all the muscles in your body a little especially those of the "core" done heavy enough they simulate the struggle of trying to hold an opponent down with one hand while working at grabbing an arm with the other. After rowing each dumbell you do one pushup. Always do the pushup as explosively as possible. 4. Stone load over bar: Squeezing the stone to keep it from slipping out of your hands works the pecs and biceps in a way they would be used in a fight: to hold on to a slippery sweaty body. The triple extension it takes to clear the bar is the same movement pattern one would use in any number of wrestling and judo throws. The amount of effort full body effort it takes is exhausting but the feeling of accomplishment watching the stone go over is one of extreme satisfaction. NOTES: -Reps or weights can be slowly increased depending on the athlete/coaches goals. -The fighter must be constantly encouraged to use explosive movement keeping good bodymechanics. -There must be a sense of "urgency" to get more rounds done as this will simulate what I like to call the "holy crap" response that dumps adrenalin in truckloads during a fight and sucks up a fighters energy before he can figure out where it went. -The "30 seconds remaining" call is crucial to condition a fighter to be able to kick it in to high gear no matter how tired. If the response to this becomes automatic enough his mind will override the fatigue of his body (provided he's done his conditioning homework) allowing him the advantage over another fighter who just me be content holding on till the bell. -The heavy bag should be put in a different position each round or workout. One round hanging, one round ground and pound and another holding it in the guard. The coach should be watching the athlete constantly encouraging crisper, more explosive movements and calling out harder punches, faster hands! Alterations: -Viking press can be sustituted with pushpress with a barbell or using the old universal machines. Dumbell or kettlebell thrusters could also be used but will tend to add more to conditioning and less to knockout power. -Front squat could be done with a barbell or 2 dumbells if KB's arent available. -Rengade rows can be done with hex shaped dumbells for wrist safety or round dumbells to strengthen the wrist. Also Kettlebells can be used for these and add a different feel. -Stone over bar: a keg or sandbag can be used for these but the stone is preffered because it is slippery and will work the grip more but a keg or sandbag will still work wonders. The keys: -Keep a detailed log. -Increase the weight or reps very little each time so the athlete can still complete more rounds. -The goal is more rounds with more weight and stronger finishes. -Always emphasize good technique no matter how tired the athlete is. If his mind starts to get lazy his technique will fall apart in the ring. Part of conditioning is to teach them to think clearly while tired If you try it please post here and let me know what you think! Good luck!