Best Ways To Get In MMA Shape

March 13, 2020

MMA fighters are some of the healthiest in shape people on the planet. Because in mixed martial arts or Muay Thai, generally combat sports places a lot of demands on your body. You need to be a mix of physically strong, while also being cardiovascularly fit and flexible.

The good thing is that there are an endless amount of ways to get in MMA shape. You can have the same physical fitness as a fighter without ever actually having to fight in the cage. Below is a list of the best ways to get in MMA shape with examples of workouts.

These training methods will help get you in shape before MMA training. Or if you already train, these workouts will help benefit your health and MMA skills.

Best ways to get in MMA shape - running


Running has always been a big part of combat sports. It is often referred to as road work by those that compete in combat sports. For MMA especially, you need to build up your legs for the cardiovascular demand that training places on your body.

If you’re serious about wanting to get in shape, you will make running part of your weekly training routine. Start with 2-3 days a week at an amount you can handle. After that try extending your running to 3-5 days a week.

Running between 3-5 miles will be an optimal amount to keep your leg strength and cardio for MMA. If you're not a big runner, then sprints would be a good addition to your training. Sprints mimic the quick explosive movements you’d do in MMA.

It also doesn’t take up a lot of time and it’s a great workout. An example of a quick workout would be 5-10 20-30 yard sprints with a minute rest in between. You can add variations of push-ups or sit-ups at the end of each sprint to add to the difficulty.

Not mentioning that also running/sprinting helps with losing weight if you have weight issues and struggling to lose weight.


Swimming is an excellent choice to help get you in MMA shape. It provides a blend of cardio and physical strength while burning a lot of calories. The best part about swimming is that it puts zero impact on your body to do the workouts.

Many fighters with knee or back problems have resorted to swimming and training in water to help their physical conditions. Two notable people that do this are current welterweight champ Kamaru Usman and 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu creator Eddie Bravo.

Usman has terrible knees from years of wrestling training, so he resorts to swimming to help his cardio for MMA. Bravo also has a litany of injuries from BJJ and used swimming in his training camp to rematch Royler Gracie.

There are also different zero impact workouts in pools constantly being created. Do a little research and consider adding swimming to help get you in MMA shape.

Best ways to get in MMA shape - Strength Training

Strength Training

All of the professional MMA fighters have strength and conditioning coaches that help them reach peak strength for their MMA fights. You need to be strong to be able to grapple, get people to the ground, and keep them there. This is where strength training comes in to get you in MMA shape and help your skills.

The great thing about strength training for MMA is there are a lot of options to choose from. Everything from kettlebell and resistance band training will benefit your MMA training. These types of training methods help give you explosive strength you need for MMA and help build muscle.

You will see noticeable benefits and get in better MMA shape with just 1-2 days of strength training a week.

Best ways to get in MMA shape - Flexibility Training

Flexibility Training

Having flexibility is a must for MMA. You need to be limber and be able to flow with the techniques. Every fighter goes through some type of stretching regime for MMA.

You don’t have to take yoga classes, but you need to take time out of every day to stretch. Do the same stretches you do in class or work on the parts of your body that aren’t as flexible.

If you’re an older person stretching needs to be part of your daily routine whether you do MMA or not. Stretching will help relax tight muscles and fend off injuries and also help keep you training, also try to have training partners to boost your confidence and become more motivated, the other reason is that it's just more fun than training alone :)

Best ways to get in MMA shape - Diet & Weight Issues

Check all articles related to MMA Diet and Nutrition

Diet & Weight Issues

If you want to get in MMA shape, then you’re going to need to make tweaks to your diet. A good diet is vital to your physical fitness. Any fitness expert will tell you how you look and feel all comes down to what you’re eating.

Your body is a machine and if you feed it garbage, then it will perform like garbage. Everyone’s body is different, so there isn’t one type of diet that will help you get in MMA shape. You have to find out what your body’s nutritional needs are and meet them.

A good thing to remember is to stay away from processed foods and try to stick to natural foods. Your body is designed to eat to digest organic foods, so be sure to nurture it with natural carbs and proteins. Consult a health professional to find out what your nutritional needs are.

Best ways to get in MMA shape - Hydrate


To get in good MMA shape, you’re going to need to hydrate. You’re going to have to up your water intake and only drink water. Maybe coffee if you need it, but absolutely no sodas if you are serious about getting in MMA shape.

Most people are under-hydrated and it has negative physical effects on them. A serious MMA practitioner can go through 1-3 gallons(3.5-7 Litres) a day. When you meet your hydration needs, you are able to work out at an optimal level.

There are two general rules you can follow for hydration. Drink enough water until your urine is clear or the 8x8 rule, but there’s no science behind either. Consult a physician to know for sure what your hydration needs are and try to hit that number every day.

MMA Training

I know! Training MMA to get in MMA shape. What a novel concept.

MMA training can help you get in the best physical shape of your life. If you’re a hobbyist that just enjoys training, then you probably don’t need to do any other type of training. Just doing MMA training alone can get you in the best physical shape in your life.

Training MMA is one of the most diverse workouts you can participate in. MMA workouts deliver a mix of physical and cardiovascular that leaves you drenched in sweat while learning new skills. There’s nothing in the world quite like an MMA workout.

You can also make infinite strength and conditioning workouts based on your MMA training. Something like mixing hitting bags with weights and cardio activities will push your physical limits. You’re always able to mix up your training and never get bored.


Here’s a quick recap of the best ways to get in MMA shape.

●     Running/Sprinting: It has always been a go-to for fighters to get in shape because it works. It builds up your cardio and will help your MMA game.

●     Swimming: Another way of helping you get in shape for MMA with little to no impact on your joints. Your cardio and physical strength will improve while benefiting your MMA training.

●     Strength Training: Implementing a strength training program will add more power to your striking and stronger on the ground. Think of implementing something such as a program with kettlebells or resistance bands to get stronger for MMA.

●     Flexibility Training: You need flexibility for MMA to remember to stretch every day to avoid injury and improve overall health.

●     Diet: Avoid eating garbage and eating natural foods to meet your nutritional needs. You’ll notice a difference in your training.

●     Hydration: You got to hydrate properly if you want to get in the best shape. Drink plenty of water and feel better.

●     MMA Train: Of course, train MMA to get in the best shape for MMA. It’s a great activity to get in your best physical shape.

Follow these recommendations and you will definitely see vast improvements to your overall health.

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