Build Strength and Increase Work Capacity in the MMA Off-Season
The off season is coming soon, which means it’s time to start preparing for your next fight! If you’re like most athletes, then you’ve probably been doing some form of weight lifting during this period. Whether its running or cycling, there are plenty of ways to get fit while still keeping busy.
However, if you want to really maximize your potential as an athlete, you need to focus on building up your muscle mass. While cardio will certainly help with this goal, it won’t build the kind of size that comes from proper strength training. And while strength training will definitely improve your endurance (and thus increase your ability to perform at a higher level), it’s not going to make up for all the lost work done when you lift weights.
So what exactly does building up muscle mass entail?
Well, let’s break it down:
Muscle Building Exercise – There are many different types of exercises that can be used to build up muscle mass. Some involve just bodyweight movements; others require equipment such as dumbbells or kettle bells. Regardless of how they’re performed, however, these exercises will help you build up your muscles.
Sets and Repetition – There are also different schools of thought when it comes to how many times you should do each exercise. Some coaches swear by high reps (15-20), while others feel that you’ll get better results from doing just 6-12 reps per set. Either way, if you’re looking to build up your muscles, this is the way to go.
Rest Periods – In between your sets, you should be resting anywhere from 1-5 minutes. The longer you rest, the more time your muscles have to recuperate, and the more strength you’ll have for the next set. It’s important, however, that you don’t overdo it. While resting for too long will weaken your muscles, resting too short of a time period won’t give them time to recover at all—thus defeating the purpose.
Again, like sets and repetition, there’s no one “right” way to go about building up your muscles. Some people prefer high reps with short rest periods in between, while others prefer low reps with long rest periods. It’s all a matter of what your body responds best to. What is important, however, is that you DO respond well, otherwise you’ll have no chance of getting bigger.
But Muscles Don’t Just Happen!
Of course, building muscle mass isn’t something that can just happen overnight. It takes time, dedication, and a hardcore workout routine. But if you follow the steps laid out above, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start to see some serious results after a few months. And when that happens, you’ll be happy you put in the work!
So what are you waiting for?
Back to Basics: Getting Back to the Basics in the Off-Season
You made it through your first fight. Now it’s time to train for your next one.
Hopefully, you took my advice and started getting into a workout routine during your last fight preparation period. If so, that’s great! But even if you did, there’s still room for improvement.
As I’ve said before, there’s no one “right” way to prepare for a fight. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and you’ll eventually find yours. But, that doesn’t mean other peoples’ methods are wrong. If someone has gotten the best of you in the ring thus far, it doesn’t mean that you should disregard their methods.
Sometimes it just takes a different approach to reach the same results.
So if someone who’s been fighting a lot longer than you happens to have a good method, why not take it?
That being said, you don’t want to overdo it. If someone has been fighting for a very long time and has a very complicated method of training, you might want to disregard that as well. Keep it simple. In the off-season (the time between fights), you really only need to be doing two things: lifting and stretching.
As I’ve said before, you don’t need to be spending all your time at the gym. If you’re doing too many activities and exercises, you’re probably over-training. And no matter how in shape you are, if you over-train, you can get hurt. So keep it simple.
If you want to jog a little, that’s fine. But there’s no need to sign up for a 5k run or anything. The same goes for lifting weights. If you feel like doing some dead lifts, then do them. Don’t sign up for a weight-training class or try to re-create the entire workout program that Rocky used.
As far as what exercises you should be doing, I’m sure you can figure that out on your own. Just remember, your primary focus should be on muscle groups that will help you in a fight. So more upper body work is probably in order.
Of course, you also need to stretch. Don’t let your fighting muscles get tight and locked up on you by stretching before and after every workout. Make sure you’re keeping yourself loose and limber.
And that’s pretty much it as far as off-season training goes. It’s really pretty simple. Get a few workouts in, stretch a lot, and you’ll be set to go by fight night!
Okay, it’s fight night. You made it. Now it’s time to put everything you’ve learned into practice. And when I say “everything”, I mean that literally.
In addition to all of your normal training, you need to remember everything about your opponent as well.
Yes, I’m talking about scouting your opponent.
Now some fighters prefer to find out as little about their opponent as possible. They say that it just causes them to over-think things, and they’d rather just go into the match with a “blank slate”. And that’s fine if that’s their mentality, but I’m pretty sure you’re like me and want to know EVERYTHING you can about your opponent before you step into the ring (or octagon in your case).
Now obviously, we’re not talking about some high tech surveillance operation. This is just you gathering information as you can from whatever sources are available to you. The main two you’ll be concerned with are your own eyes and the words of your opponent’s previous opponents.
Whether it’s watching them in the ring or watching a video, seeing your opponent in person or on film is vital. You need to see how they move, how aggressive they are, what their fighting style looks like, and what types of punches and kicks they use. If you can, try to figure out what their favorite attacks are (i.e.
a right cross, a front kick to the face, etc.)
As for words of past opponents, well, you won’t have too many options there. Unless your opponent has a lengthy fighting resume or has fought several people that you know, you probably won’t have too much to go on. Just do the best you can and ask around if possible.
Of course, you could (and should) always do a little of both. Watch some films and then see them yourself to confirm what you think you know about them.
However you go about it, just make sure that come fight night, you know everything about your opponent that you can. You never know when it’s going to give you that little extra edge to help tip the scales in your favor.
And that’s about it. It seems like a lot, but really it’s just a simple process of practicing over and over again until fight night arrives. And trust me, if you’ve been following the Zen of Fighting lessons so far, then fight night should be a breeze for you.
Now let’s go over the steps one more time:
Train hard! But don’t overdo it. Stretch those muscles and joints! Learn everything you possibly can about your opponent.
The more you know, the more you can adapt and react to them. Get plenty of rest and eat well. You don’t want to go into this tired and hungry. It’s not going to end well for you.
And that’s it. If you follow these steps, I promise you’ll have a solid chance against whatever opponent you may face.
Now it’s time to move on to the next section where we start learning some new techniques and tactics. But if you want to return to the Table of Contents and look over any sections you may have missed, feel free to do so.
The next part of the guide is brand new and contains descriptions of all the techniques you’ve learned up to this point. I highly recommend reading through them, even if you think you already know them. New information has also been added that you’ll need to know.
SECTION 5: THE MARTIAL ARTS YOU HAVE LEARNED
Now that you’ve reached this point in the guide, you have truly been learning the martial arts. Up to this point, you’ve been learning the very basics, the child’s play of this ancient fighting style. Now it is time to move on to the more intermediate techniques.
This next section of the guide contains detailed instructions on how to perform all of the moves and fighting techniques that you have learned so far. In order to progress past this point in your training, you must be able to perform every technique described here flawlessly. Practice each move until you don’t have to think about how to do it anymore, until it becomes natural to you. Only then will you be prepared for the next section of your training.
There are several different types of blocks that can be used to defend against armed or unarmed attacks: high block, middle block, low block and reverse punch block.
The high block deflects a strike from a weapon or the arm downward. The middle block deflects a strike from a weapon or the arm horizontally away from the center of your body. The low block deflects a limb-attack downward, preventing the attacker from reaching your body. The reverse punch block is used when the opponents back is facing you; it blocks an attack by reversing your grip on your weapon and thrusting your opponent’s limb away from you.
All blocks utilize the same principles of moving the attackers limb out of position via taking advantage of the angles of their attack. The angle between your arm and your body is much smaller than the angle between your opponents arm and your body. By placing your arm in front of their attack, you can shorten that distance and put your arm at an angle that leaves them wide open to a redirecting counter-attack.
Sources & references used in this article:
Workouts for MMA Fighters, BJJ, Boxing, Wrestling and other Combat Sports by P Daru – fightcampconditioning.com
Hydration status of youth Judo athletes during an off-season training camp by C Beasley – fightcampconditioning.com
Workouts for MMA Fighters, BJJ, Boxing, Wrestling and other Combat Sports by M Stefanovsky, P Clarys, D Cierna… – Ido Movement for …, 2019 – cejsh.icm.edu.pl
Workouts for MMA Fighters, BJJ, Boxing, Wrestling and other Combat Sports by W Wayland – fightcampconditioning.com