How To Train Like An MMA Athlete

By Jim Waterhouse

Whether your goal is fat loss, muscle gain, power, strength, improving fitness, flexibility or all of the above - there is one type of training that suits every aspect of health and fitness…

Enter…(dramatic drum roll)…the MMA Athlete!

Mixed martial art fighters who star in competitions such as the UFC are regarded as some of the fittest people on the planet.

With a complete fitness profile comes a high intensity training regime that demands 100% from the athlete, enabling them to build muscle and and develop strength and power, whilst maintaining flexibility and stability through the joints, mastering hand-eye coordination and agility, maximising their V02 Max potential and keeping their body fat down to a minimum.

If this sounds like something that would be ideal for you - read on!

MMA and the wider branch-off of UFC is a sport like no other. Competitors are pitted against each other in the cage to fight until knockout, submission or an overall winner can be decided upon by points and judges' decision.

These matches take fighters from any style of combat system, ranging from the traditional striking forms of Kickboxing, Karate and Boxing, to the more close-range martial art of Muay Thai, into the grappling and takedown specialists of Judo, Jujitsu, and Greco-Roman Wrestling, and finally into the ground fighting arts of Catch Wrestling and Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ).

While most MMA athletes do tend to have a stand-out preference in their style, all competitors must master the five main areas of fighting if they ever want to have a chance of succeeding: striking, clinch work, takedowns, submissions, and finally ground and pound.

Now, I’m not suggesting you don a pair of lycra trunks and dive into the nearest cage, but just take a moment to consider how each combat style has a corresponding area of fitness that must be developed to perfect that skill:


This obviously requires a lot of power but is also dependant on hand-eye coordination, speed, and flexibility.

Clinch Work

A combination of upper body strength and balance.

Takedowns and Throws

These require impeccable timing, core strength and the ability to control and manipulate your centre of gravity.

Ground Work and Submissions

Mainly a strength game but grappling is also reliant upon muscular endurance, isometric holds, and joint stability.