Discover the 5 reasons virtually anyone should work out like a pro MMA fighter…even if you’re just a “regular guy”. I’ve been working out, studying strength & conditioning, training others, and putting workout programs together for MMA fighters, law enforcement/military, athletes, and “regular guys” for well over two decades now. (I’ve been around the block…twice.) In all that time, the question I’ve probably been asked the most often is: “Wiggy, I want to *insert goal here*. What kinda workout should I do?” Chances are, you’ve asked that question yourself a time or twelve. I know I certainly have! Well, I’m about to give you the answer you’ve been looking for…once and for all: Unless you train for a very specific activity or sport (you play baseball, you’re a competitive powerlifter, you’re preparing for a bodybuilding show, etc), I pretty much ALWAYS recommend an MMA-style workout.
Even if you’re NOT a fighter. Hell, especially if you’re not a fighter and here’s five reasons why:
Reason #1 – Being a weakling sucks
Highly popular and well-respected strength coach Mark Rippetoe was once quoted as saying
Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and are more useful in general.
Macho statement, but very true nonetheless. Remember the old Charles Atlas ad with the skinny weakling getting sand kicked in his face? This didn’t happen just because he wasn’t muscular. It was because he was too weak to fight back. You don’t want that. Anyone that says they don’t care about how strong they are is lying.
Nobody says you have to be in the running for the World’s Strongest Man, but if you can’t crank out a bunch of pushups or do physical labor without it kicking the hell out of you, then you better up your game.
A stronger fighter is always a better fighter – no exceptions. Yes, they still have to have good technique in order to win. But I’ll take strength + technique over technique alone anyday.
You should, too.
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Reason #2 – Get explosive and be athletic
Now, we already know that being strong is something you want. But it’s not enough to just be strong – you have to be fast. You know those crazy knockouts, amazing takedowns, and quick submissions you see in the cage? It’s all because a guy combined good technique with insane explosive power. Besides, getting fast is the next step after getting strong. After you build the strength, you learn to apply it quickly and as forcefully as possible (which is the technical definition of “power”). We’ve all seen the guys that concentrated on getting strong as hell, but never worried about being quick and explosive. They’re slow, lumbering, not athletic, and usually fat.
TIP – One of the easiest ways to get fast is to get strong without putting on bodyweight. Just like you can bench a light barbell faster when you’re strong, you can move your body around faster when you’re strong, but don’t put on weight.
This is especially important for fighters that compete in weight classes. If you can weigh the same as the guy across the cage, but be faster and stronger, you have the advantage. You show me the guy that’s fast & explosive, and I’ll show you the guy that’s generally lighter, leaner, and more athletic.
Yes. You want all of that.
Reason #3 – Never suck wind again
It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever stepped into the cage or not, you know that one of the top physical qualities a fighter needs is cardio.The better heart and lungs a fighter has, the less chance of sucking wind and gassing out he has. (Which is uber-important, because when a fighter gasses out is when he’s most vulnerable to getting knocked out or submitted…i.e. – hurt.)
Legendary catch-wrestler Karl Gotch once said,
Conditioning is the greatest hold.
By this, he meant that if you could out-work your opponent, you’d always have an advantage. In fact, multiple UFC Champions have lost title fights (I can think of three off the top of my head) simply because their cardio wasn’t up to par. And all of them were actually winning their fights until they gassed out. As far as having good cardio as well as healthy heart and lungs for everyday life…do I really need to explain why that’s important?
Reason #4 – Out-work everybody you know
Remember how we said that strength was necessary, but it was ultimately a stepping stone to explosive power, which was even more critical? Well, cardio is kinda like that with work capacity. You need the good cardio – but it’s just the beginning. Watch a guy that has good cardio (but only ever does cardio) hit the heavy bag, grapple on the mat, or even just shadow box. Chances are he’ll be sucking wind in as little as just a couple minutes. (I’ve seen it happen too many times.)
This is because these activites require so much more than cardio – they need muscular-endurance, strength-endurance, explosive power, and more…plus the cardio.
There’s just a HELL of a lot of movement going on. And if you’re not used to moving…to working…that much, you’ll be sucking wind just as bad as if you had lousy cardio. This is what truly keeps a fighter from gassing in the cage. Start with great cardio, then use that to be able to do a lot of work in general. Think of it like this – you know that guy that it doesn’t matter if you’re in the gym, playing a pickup game of basketball, or stacking firewood, he can just work circles around everyone else?
That’s work capacity. And that’s what you want.
Reason #5 – The fighters physique
Building strength and explosive power will build muscle. Developing awesome cardio & non-stop work capacity will burn bodyfat. Add in a decent diet, and you’ve got a lean, muscular, aesthetic, and athletic physique that most fitness magazine cover dudes wish they had. Put it this way…
I’ve known a lot of women that liked watching Georges St. Pierre fight. And pretty much none of them cared about what kind of fighter he was.
HINT – It’s all about the physique, baby.
“BUT I’M NOT A FIGHTER” So you’re just a “regular guy”, and not quite convinced that you should be doing an MMA workout? Well, let’s look at what we’ve said so far: Brute strength. Incredible explosive power. Insane endurance. Awesome athleticism. Never-ending work capacity. Mix it with a good diet, and you get the physique of an adonis.
Is there anything there you WOULDN’T want? Didn’t think so. Start an MMA workout today, and see just how much your outlook on training changes…
Author: Matt “Wiggy” Wiggins
Owner of WorkingClassFitness.com, Matt “Wiggy” Wiggins is a self-taught, 20+ year veteran of the “Iron Game” that focuses on helping MMA fighters, military/law enforcement, and “regular guys” all over the world get in “fighting shape”. TheGymLifestyle.com members can Click Here Now to get the workout he created for a Top-10 MMA fighter.