Mixed Martial Arts HIIT – Train Like a MMA Fighter

Workout Details

In the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) being fast and strong is just as important as having stamina and the ability to recover quickly. When many people train for boxing or martial arts fights getting stronger is often the main focus in hopes that an increase in strength alone will help land harder punches. This is true in a sense, however, being able to place multiple medium strength hits will always be better then landing that one “golden” punch or kick, as each hit you land opens up another opportunity to place another strategic punch or kick. The only time you want to focus on strength is if you are aiming for explosion strength (think plyometrics) which also equally focuses on speed, strength and endurance. It does not matter how strong you are if you are slow and tire easily, you will be beat every time.

With that said, this program is specifically designed to target multiple aspects of the physical abilities need by a MMA fighter; explosion strength, endurance, speed, and coordination. The routine is set up in two main groups with a short break in between. In each main group there are two subgroups consisting of a one-minute cardio section (we use jumping rope but any bodyweight cardio will do) one-plyometric exercise followed by one-functional strength exercise that targets a similar muscle group. We feel that by combining these aspects into one workout rather than focusing on each individually it most closely represents the demands of a real fight without having to actually fight or do bag work. Keep in mind that this is only one workout and is definitely not all you need to do to get ready for a fight, however it is definitely a good start.

Now for all of you out there that are not necessarily looking to train like a boxer and the closest you have come to a mixed martial arts match is kicking someone in the shins during a slap fight in the 5th grade, have no fear; you can still use this workout to focus on weight loss, toning, strength building, cardiovascular endurance, and coordination. Just because you don’t want to get in a chain link octagon and pummel an opponent into oblivion does not mean that training like someone who does, is not going to be beneficial for you, let alone a whole lot of fun.

For this MMA training routine you will need any kind of weight (a dumbbell, kettlebell, etc), and a sturdy chair. We use a jump rope all through the routine but if you don’t have one you can easily sub out a bodyweight exercise – think something as demanding as burpees, or high knees, or as easy as jogging in place.

Workout Structure
4 Segments consisting of 1 minute jumping rope (or similar bodyweight cardio), followed by 2 rounds of 25 seconds of challenging exercises meant to build explosive strength and speed. There are only 5 seconds in between the 25-second intervals, meaning that you have to be able to transition from one move to the other very quickly. There is a one minute break halfway through the routine.

Printable Routine
1 Minute Jump Rope
25 Seconds Explosive Push Ups
25 Seconds Single Leg Shoulder Bridge + Single Arm Press (repeat interval on both sides of the body)

1 Minute Jump Rope
25 Seconds Knee Tuck Jumps
25 Seconds Plank Knees (repeat on each side)

1 Minute Break

1 Minute Jump Rope
25 Seconds Alternating Jump Presses (switch sides halfway through the interval)
25 Seconds Turkish Get Ups (repeat interval on each side)

1 Minute Jump Rope
25 Seconds Step Jump Cross
25 Seconds Squat Ups

There is no warm up or cool down or stretch in this video; both are recommended and you can find multiple options for each in our collection of free workout videos.

Calories burned
We estimate that this MMA workout can burn up to 9-15 calories a minute. We know that is a huge window of variance but that’s the nature of the beast with caloric expenditure; it’s a very individualized number for each person. Factors like bodyweight, gender, muscle mass, baseline level of fitness, and effort put forth will drastically influence the actual number that you end up burning.

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