Are You Fighting Fit?

With the current popularity of the fighting arts in general and the explosion of interest in MMA in particular, I have had a lot of people asking for the best way to train to improve strength and fitness for these arts.

Now while each system has it’s own particular demands and there is not enough space in this post to cover each system in detail, there are some things that can be of benefit to practitioners of all styles and some things that should be avoided.

You don’t need to be a marathon runner
Long training runs can be boring especially if you are forced for whatever reason to run indoors on a treadmill or spend an hour on one of the other cardiovascular machines.  Thankfully you do not need to spend hours on slow boring cardio to improve your VO2 max, or burn unwanted body fat for that matter.

Two very effective methods for improving your cardiovascular fitness and torching fat are, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and metabolic conditioning (MetCon)

HIIT
Basically, HIIT also known as sprint interval training entails short bursts of high-intensity effort CV exercise such as sprinting interspersed with less intense recovery periods. For example, you could sprint for 30  seconds then jog for  20 seconds, and repeat this for six to ten repetitions.

MetCon
I covered this system of training in depth in my last post. You can read it here.

Explosive strength
Power can be expressed as force x velocity, or in terms relevant to this post, strength x speed.  The faster you can lift, push, pull or throw a given weight the more powerful you are.  We may both be able to lift the same amount of weight overhead but if you can move it quicker than me you are more powerful than I am and can move more explosively.

Punching, kicking, throwing your opponent and bucking to get out from under the mount are all explosive moves and rely on your muscle’s ability to contract explosively.  Slow heavy weight training will build strength, but it will not build this type of explosive power.

Movements such as power cleans, power snatches, jump squats, explosive lunges, medicine ball throws and slams, kettlebell swings, band work, and sprints are all great ways to develop power and make your movements more explosive.

Isometric strength
Many of us have gone to our first grappling class believing ourselves to be in great shape only to find ourselves exhausted after only a few minutes of effort on the mat.

Static holds against resistance are called isometric contractions and are a great way to develop isometric strength and endurance for trapping and grappling.

There is far more to training a fighter than what I have covered here but incorporating these movements and training modalities into your training will go a long way to making you fighting fit.

Till next time, Train hard and train smart.