Top 10 Aspects To A Successful MMA Strength and Conditioning Plan

by Corey Beasley

Creating a MMA strength and conditioning plan is never black and white. Some people rely on drills or exercises that they've learned over the years, while others simply do whatever they feel like doing that day. In order to perform at the highest levels, improve every week, stay energetic, and avoid injuries, there are certain principles that should be followed. The principles listed below have been tested under fire and used to help some of the world's best fighters grow, change and adapt under stress.

  1. Develop a plan.  I've seen a ton of guys that just wanna work hard, bang everyday and hope for the best, but that approach never ends well.  In order to get the most out of  strength and conditioning plan or your regular mma training, you've got to have some sort of a plan of attack.  You can start by laying out your weekly schedule.  Plan out your mma training, strength work, conditioning, rest, nutrition, recovery strategies, etc.  Ideally, your plan will address all of these areas. Here's an example: Fight Crew System
  2. Attitude.  Your attitude affects everything and when it comes to training, you've got to have a good attitude.  A bad attitude will cause you to sleep in, miss training sessions, cause stress in your relationships and eventually affects your performance.  Your thoughts, words and actions create your attitude, so get them on track with your goals.  Click here to learn more:  What Needs to Be Done
  3. Motivation.  What do you want, why do you want it and what's in your way?  Its easy to think about goals when everything is going our way, but the reason I have people write their goals down is because when 'life' hits us, we've got to stay on track.  People that do NOT have this stuff solidified tend to get knocked around by life's bumps and have a hard time staying consistent.  Get this stuff on paper today! 
  4. Support.  Your environment, your coaches and your family/friends can have an enormous impact on your success.  Take a look around and see who's really helping your improve and move forward.  This isn't always an easy subject to deal with, but it is vital if you want to excel as a fighter or athlete.  Surround yourself with the best people you can find.  Eventually you will reduce to the 3 people you spend the most time with.  Who are you spending your time with this week? Read more about how the people around you affect your level of here to read more.
  5. Use a variety of movements.  MMA is an incredibly demanding sport that requires an equally diverse amount of strength and conditioning.  Standing, clinches, transitions, takedowns, scrambling, holding, pressure and more.  Once you combine all of these aspects, it can be overwhelming to an unprepared fighter.  So, in order to train correctly, you must use a variety of movements to become prepared.  Make sure you hit the basics (squat, hinge, push, pull, carry) and address any weak links (feet, glutes, abs, shoulders, grip and neck) This will MMA strengthen you from head to toe, help you avoid injury and will prepare you for any crazy position that you encounter.  Try some of these exercises: Unconventional Exercises to Build Strength
  6. Vary your intensity during the week.  Any fool can make you tired, but only the best coaches can help you get better.  The goal is to improve and the key to improving is consistency over time.  If you want to stay consistent, healthy and improve every week, then you must vary the intensity of your workouts every week.  If you do everything at 100%, then you will eventually fall apart, burn out and get injured.   Try rotating the intensity of your workouts and listen to your body.  Overtraining is a big issue that will sap your energy and kill your performance. Learn how to avoid it here.
  7. Leave your ego at the door.  Everybody these days wants to be an mma fighter, right until they start training.  If you want to survive as a fighter, last over time and continue improving, leave your ego at the door.  Listen to your coaches, do what you're told and realize that they have your best interest at heart.  I've seen fighters come and go and its usually their own ego that puts them out the game.
  8. Rest.  From my experience, this is one of the most important topics on this page.  Most good fighters always want to push hard, bust their ass and put in work.  That mentality is what makes them great fighters, but in order to stay alert, healthy and improve, you must take some time off.  More is not always better.  Make sure that you get 6-8 hours of sleep every night and take at least one day completely off each week.
  9. Eat better quality foods.  The worlds best athletes understand that the fuel they put in their body has a direct correlation to their performance.  If you want to recover faster, increase your energy, get stronger, increase your cardio, easily make weight and blow past the competition, then you must eat higher quality foods.  Think of it this way:  If God made it, eat it.  Eat natural foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, meats, etc.  Good quality food will improve every aspect of your game. Click here to learn more about proper nutrition.
  10. Recover faster. Sleep, varying intensities, days off and food all play a BIG roll in your recovery, but there are some other strategies that will speed your recovery between tough workouts.  Ice baths, contrast showers, massages, trigger point therapy, foam rollers and other techniques can help you immensely!  Since most of these create some discomfort, they are not always the most popular activities, but I assure you that the pain is worth it.  These techniques are the only reason some fighters and athletes are still competing. Check out 7 Tips for Recovering Faster
Hopefully these tips, articles and resources will help you develop a better plan of attack.  It will take some trial and error, but over time, you will get more results in a shorter amount of time.
Work hard and stay consistent my friends!