Guide To Staying Ripped For MMA

Rest periods as you get closer to your competitions should mimic the rest periods in a MMA competition. Is it like wrestling where you have 3 minute rounds then take a 1 minute break or so? Whatever the fighting:rest period is should be about what your lifting splits are. Taking wrestling as an example, you would lift with almost no rest periods for about 3 minutes straight, then 1 minute of active rest (water, explosive stretching, jog in place or somethin if you wanted to) then go right back to 3 minutes balls to the wall lifting. Keep in mind that this 3 minutes straight will be tiring so you might not be able to use the heavy weights your used to and you want to make sure you're using excellent form. In the beginning of the 3 minutes do the most difficult exercises (Olympic Lifts, Squats, chest/shoulder presses, Deadlifts, pushups, pullups, Rows, etc). This way you will have the most energy and then you can move on to less exhausting exercises (core, bi's, tri's, calves, shrugs, etc) for the remainder of the 3 minutes or however long a round lasts.

As for exercises, you're going to need a mixture of Power exercises (olympic lifts or plyometrics done extremely quickly) such as power clean, hang clean, snatches, Push Presses, or push jerks that involve the whole body (builds power, speed, coordination, burns tons of fuckin calories, and does not add tons of muscle bulk). Also very useful include box jumps, frog jumps, and medicine ball throws (sideways, chest passes, overhead passes, downwar d throws). Check out this link for any exercises such as the Olympic Lifts that require good technique:

When it comes to staples like Bench, squats, and deadlifts, you will need to make them more specific to your sport. Do some regular bench and incline but also throw in alternating dumbell presses for more balance, coordination, and core work. Try to explode up during the upward phase of the squat. You can also do various lunges or jump squats/jump lunges. Try some single leg deadlifts (knee slightly bend, other leg behind you, holding dumbbell or bar in front of you) for excellent balance work especially since you may not always be on 2 feet during a fight. One arm and bent over rows are great as well.

Bodyweight exercises are huge so throw in pushups, clap pushups, pullups/chinups of various grips, weighted pullups, reverse pushups, weighted dips, unweighted dips, etc.

Also don't forget to do lots of core exercises and injurying preventing exercises. Stretch and strengthen the neck, build it up with shrugs, upward rows, partner neck exercises or the neck attachment on the cable machine or a plate against your head (both sides, head forward, and head back). Do external rotation exercises for your shoulder to keep it stable and strong! Do tons of different core exercises, lower back, abs, obliques, glutes, hip flexors, everything to keep your midsection strong, quick and mobile and your lower back/spine protected. Stretch a shit load!!!!! During and after workouts, after a warmup, etc. Not when you are cold before a workout has begun.

Other great exercises to throw in for some cardio benefit are jump rope obviously, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, stair runs, or 1-5 minutes of the row machine or exercise bike at all out effort.

I would go for about 3-4 days of lifting like described as above (you can do 2 days focusing on muscle group splits if you want (1 day upper, 1 day lower for example) and 2 days of total body. I would also do 2 days of just core exercises, stretching and cardio (do interval training for cardio, 3 minutes hard, one minute light, etc.) Cardio done in this interval method only needs to last 25-30 minutes and you'll burn a fuck load of calories and get a little endurance/better oxygen flow/lower heart rate which can help during the end of long fights or if you are in a choke hold etc.

That means 5-6 days a week, lots of stretching.

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