MMA athletes are among the best-conditioned combat sports athletes in the world. Training skill and technique is important, but if you lack the proper strength and conditioning that is required to put these skills into practice, your technique won’t get you far.
Metabolic conditioning workouts are a great way to get your body into the shape it needs to be for fighting. These workouts are great at building functional, full-body strength, explosiveness, and the endurance you need to maintain your performance over the length of a fight.
Keep in mind, these exercises are not just beneficial for MMA fighters. If you want the body of a fighter, without the risk of being punched in the face, metabolic conditioning is perfect for you.
Read on and we’ll show you several metabolic conditioning exercises to help you reach peak physical performance.
What Are Metabolic Conditioning Exercises?
Metabolic conditioning workouts are designed not only to burn calories and build strength, but to kick your metabolism into gear. This means your body will be in a state where it continues to burn calories and level up, even when the workout is over.
Ever feel like, however much you work out, your body returns to step one after you’re done? This is probably because you’re not properly stimulating your metabolism.
These workouts hit your whole body and/or your core – unlike other exercises which may only target a small part of the body (such as biceps or lats). They also simultaneously build strength and tone your muscles, which is important for MMA fighters or combat sports athletes, who need maximum power while keeping their weight low.
Metabolic conditioning workouts make for some of the most challenging workout plans according to fitness news. Such metabolic circuits usually include power training, strength and conditioning, cardio, power, muscular endurance and core development.
All these things make metabolic conditioning workouts great for not only MMA conditioning, but also overall fitness and wellbeing.
Metabolic Conditioning Exercise Instructions
To get the most out of your metabolic conditioning workouts, and to do your best to avoid injuries, follow these tips.
- Stretch and warm up before jumping in.
- For each exercise, do as many reps as you can within 60 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
- Don’t rest between reps.
- After completing all exercises, take 2 minutes rest, and repeat the workout 3 times.
These workouts are designed to test and improve your mental strength, as well as physical strength. Even though you may want to quit, try and push through to finish the workout. However, pay attention to your body, and don’t work yourself to the point where you injure yourself.
MMA Metabolic Conditioning Workout
Here’s a simple metabolic conditioning workout routine to get you started.
1. Side-to-Side Kettlebell Swings
The Kettlebell Side Swing is a more difficult variation of the standard kettlebell swing.
Start this workout with your shoulders bent slightly and your back upright straight as you grab the kettlebell by its handle. Bring the kettlebell next to your knee, keep both of your arms straight, slowly extend the hips out and hold the kettlebell while crossing your torso.
Do this in a way that it finishes above your opposite shoulder from the position where you started. Then bring the kettlebell back in the opposite motion, returning to the same side.
Once you’re done with your set, take a break and bring the kettlebell to the other side, and do the same number on the other side.
2. Single-Leg Burpees
The burpee exercise is more than enough to make a lifter sweat. It has a reputation for being a full-body conditioner that seriously boosts your energy systems and muscles.
In your workout clothes, start this workout by standing on one leg. Drop down, making one foot touch the floor. Then hop back, and try performing a push-up, and hop forward. Then regain your balance, and explode straight upright, while landing on the same foot.
A great way to perform this exercise is to pick a spot on the wall ahead of you, and stare at it. This will help you maintain your balance as you move.
3. Zercher Forward Lunges
Zerchers are among great conditioning exercises, which are particularly effective for MMA fighters. This exercise targets your legs, hips and glutes, while simultaneously activating your upper back and lats.
For this exercise you’ll hold a barbell in front of you, like a cradle. You’ll then perform a lunge, keeping the spine straight and the core engaged. Stay completely vertical, forming a right angle to the floor with weight in your elbows that pulls you forward, and tighten core and arm muscles.
This workout is fantastic for building explosive lower body power, which benefits many more sports than just MMA. As well as targeting your lower body, Zerchers also strengthen the core and many more stabilizing muscles.
4. Barbell High Pulls
This workout is excellent for strengthening your upper body. It’s a plyometric full-body exercise, though primarily targets the shoulders and back.
Take the barbell and grip it a little wider than your shoulder width, overhand grip. Slightly lean your upper body forward, while your hips are pushed back. Lift the barbell up to around chin height, before returning it back to the bottom. The weight should be at your front, your back remaining straight upright.
5. Dumbbell Punches
Dumbell punches (or shadowboxing with dumbells) is super effective for building upper body and arm strength, as well as improving the speed and power of your punches.
Start this workout by holding a pair of dumbbells at the level of your shoulder in a boxing stance – your arms bent, and palms facing inwards. Use a weight that’s manageable for you; 3-5 pound dumbells will work much of the time.
Slowly perform a 1-2 combination; punch with your left hand crossing your body slightly to the right, keeping at the level of your shoulder. Then repeat, with your right hand crossing to the left side.
While allowing your upper body to rotate as you punch, make sure you keep your lower body still. Then return to the starting position, and total 20 total rep (10 with each arm in 3 sets).
Fighters may also want to practice simple combinations or do shadowboxing rounds with dumbells. Focus on maintaining proper form – it will be difficult with the added weight. For hooks, keep your elbow up, and always return to your guard after throwing a strike.
MMA Metabolic Conditioning Workouts – In Summary
This metabolic conditioning workout is your secret weapon to getting in fighting shape. Full-body exercises, working strength, cardio and endurance, are fantastic for building functional strength, power and explosiveness.
Even if you don’t want to fight, you can use this workout to build strength and tone your body in a much more efficient manner than traditional lifting or cardio. Doing so will let you rock the body of an MMA fighter, without the bruises and black eyes.