MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting is extremely popular these days. Fight revenues from television pay-per-view are through the roof, and it seems MMA-style gyms are popping up all over the country. Many athletes from the fields of wrestling, football, and yes, even bodybuilding, and throwing their hats into the MMA ring. Professional bodybuilder Chris Cook moved from a mediocre rookie year in the IFBB to more success in the amateur MMA ranks, where is currently a rising star. If you are a bodybuilder looking into MMA training, or an MMA fighter looking to bring up your strength and power, you are in the right place. Here is a sample weightlifting routine for MMA fighters.
Chest & Triceps
- Flat bench press 6 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions
- Incline DB Press 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Flat DB Flyes 3 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions
- Skull crushers 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Triceps bench dips 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions
Back & Biceps
- Wide grip pull ups 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Barbell rowing 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Lat pulldowns 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Barbell curls 4 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions
- Dumbbell preacher curls 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions
Shoulders & Traps
- Seated military press 5 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Seated DB press 4 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- DB side raises 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Barbell shrugs 5 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Barbell squats 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Hack squats 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions
- Leg extensions 3 sets of 15 to 25 repetitions
- Leg curls 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
- Leg press calf raises 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions
You should be training with weights four days per week, with a session of running following each weight training session. If you wish to gain muscular weight and size, then you should eat an additional 500 to 800 calories per day while training in this manner. If you want to remain in the same weight class, simply keep your calories constant. You cannot gain weight if you are not eating a surplus of calories!
MMA athletes benefit most from the use of a split schedule which lets them train twice per day. The morning session is dedicated to takedowns, grappling, striking, and other fighting skills. Human beings are often much more alert in the morning, and using this time period to focus upon the mental aspects of fighting make the most sense. Weight training and running is relegated to the afternoon or evening session. By then, after a training session and a work day, the fighter probably doesn’t have much left in the tank, mentally.
However, it should be easy to close out the world and just crush the weights for an hour. In fact, by this point it the day, lifting may be an escape. Remember that skill set work, weight training, and running all play key roles in the development of complete fighters. Take each area of your training seriously, and you will reach your potential in the cage or ring!