MMA Strength Training

Published: 27th August 2009
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As you've probably already discovered by now, mma strength training can be quite a complex topic. Here I will break down the basics of what you need to know when training your strength specifically for mixed martial arts.

I will assume that you are training for a fight or competition, and I will address the best way to train in regards to, let's say a 3 to 5 five minute round scenario.

First, let's define what type of "strength" you need for mma when we talk about mma strength training.

There are many different types of strength, but the most important types of strength for mma are strength endurance and power endurance. Keep in mind that strength endurance is different then muscle endurance. Strength endurance implies how long you can exert maximum force, whereas muscle endurance is how long you can exert your muscles regardless of how much force you are producing.

Here's an example of the two. Let's say you can bench press for a 1 rep maximum (RM) of 225 lbs. This is an example of your absolute strength. Strength endurance means how many times you can continue to do single reps with short rest periods (10-30 seconds) before you can no longer perform a rep with that weight. Muscle endurance, however, would be more like how many push-ups you can do. In other words, muscle endurance doesn't really have the strength component to it.

As you can see, it is not enough to just have a lot of relative strength, simply because if you don't have strength endurance then your strength will be rendered useless after you tire. Furthermore, it's also not enough just to have a lot of muscle endurance, because even if your muscles don't tire if you can't move an opponent because of lack of strength, well, that won't be much good either. The key, as you can see, is to be able to be as strong as you can and to be able to continuously use that level of strength throughout the fight.

The other main factor in mma strength training is power endurance. Power is similar to strength except there is a time or speed component to it. So if bench pressing 225 for a 1RM is your level of absolute strength, then power would be how fast you can perform that rep. An example of an increase in power then would be if it took you 2.5 seconds to lift the weight, then later on it took you 1.5 seconds to lift the weight, that would be an increase in power. However, if you increase your bench 10 pounds, but it took you longer then 2.5 seconds to lift the weight, that wouldn't be an increase in power, only strength. You follow me so far?

So power endurance, as you can probably figure out now, is the ability to continuously be able to move a certain weight at a certain speed throughout the fight.

Always keep these two forms of strength in mind for your mma strength training workouts. Increase your relative strength, and then increase your strength endurance. Then increase your power, and then increase your power endurance. Continue to cycle through this and you will be right on track to develop mma specific strength.

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