Unleashing the Power: A Comprehensive Guide to MMA Strength and Conditioning Periodization

Are you tired of random workouts with no clear purpose or direction? Are you looking to optimize your performance in mixed martial arts and achieve peak physical condition? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, Phil Daru, an esteemed MMA strength and conditioning coach, will walk you through the process of periodization and how to structure an effective training program tailored to MMA.

Gone are the days of throwing exercises together without a plan. It's time to embrace the power of structured training and periodization, which involves dividing your training into specific phases to ensure progressive improvement and peak performance at the right time. Whether you have a set fight date or need to be ready for short notice fights, the strategies outlined in this article will help you excel in the cage.

I. Evaluating Circumstances: Setting the Foundation

When designing an MMA strength and conditioning program, it's crucial to consider the individual circumstances of each fighter. Factors such as training camp length, outside commitments, and career stage play a vital role in determining the appropriate programming approach. By understanding these circumstances, you can tailor the program to optimize performance and minimize the risk of injury.

II. Conjugate Method for Short Notice Fights

For fighters who need to be ready at all times, the Conjugate Method is an optimal choice. This method focuses on maintaining physical readiness throughout the year, ensuring the fighter is prepared for short notice fights. By incorporating maximal, submaximal, and explosive power days into the weekly training schedule, the body has the opportunity to adapt to various stimuli and maintain strength year-round.

III. Combat Block Periodization: Phasing for Fight Performance

One notable approach to MMA strength and conditioning is the Combat Block Periodization. This method involves taking blocks of training modalities that have the highest transferability to the sport and phasing them to lead into a fight performance peak. Each phase of training leads into the next, forming a process called phase potentiation. This enables the nervous and muscular systems to adapt to the demands of the subsequent phases.

IV. Phase One: Building a Solid Base

In Phase One of the Combat Block Periodization, the focus is on developing strength endurance, joint integrity, and overall balance in the body. This phase typically begins eight weeks out from a fight and involves exercises that enhance the ability to be strong in situations that carry over into the cage. The volume and intensity gradually increase, leading to a deload week where the body can heal and experience super-compensation.

V. Phase Two: Intensity and Sport-Specific Conditioning

As the fight approaches, Phase Two prioritizes high intensity while reducing volume. This phase aims to enhance explosive power, speed strength, and anaerobic conditioning. By incorporating contrast training, rate of force development exercises, and sport-specific conditioning circuits, fighters can further enhance their performance and improve their ability to withstand the demands of MMA bouts.

VI. Exercise Selection for Maximum Performance

The exercises chosen for an MMA strength and conditioning program should prioritize functionality and carry-over to the fight. Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls, and weighted carries are highly beneficial. Unilateral exercises with a focus on core balance and stabilization are also crucial. This article provides a comprehensive list of exercises to enhance performance in mixed martial arts.

VII. Monitoring Fatigue and Adapting Training

Monitoring fatigue is essential in maintaining optimal performance and preventing overtraining. Coaches can utilize various tools such as heart rate variability, velocity-based testing, and resting heart rate calculations to assess potential risks. Additionally, communication with the athlete and observing their demeanor, motivation, coordination, and grip strength can provide valuable insights into their fatigue levels.

VIII. Embrace Structure for Success

In MMA, structure is key to achieving peak performance. By evaluating, identifying, indicating, formulating, and executing a well-structured program, fighters can enhance their performance in the cage. Take advantage of the resources provided by MMA strength and conditioning experts like Phil Daru to guide you on your journey to success.


With the guidance of Phil Daru, an experienced MMA strength and conditioning coach, you can revolutionize your training approach. By embracing structured programming, block periodization, and exercise selection tailored to MMA, you'll experience significant improvements in your performance. Remember to monitor fatigue, adapt training based on individual circumstances, and maintain open communication with your coach. Start implementing these strategies today and witness the transformation of your MMA skills and physical capabilities!


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