mma fighters training in gym

How Do MMA Fighters Train

MMA fighters are professional athletes. It’s no secret that being in top physical condition is a huge advantage for an MMA fighter. But, they also need to have a high level of technical skill, so today I will cover how MMA fighters train.

In general, MMA fighters do a mix of cardio exercises and technical drills, and sparring. Most MMA fighters train every day, but some take 1 day off. Many MMA fighters train twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

In this article, I will explain how many hours a day MMA fighters train, if they take any rest days, and provide info on how often and how many hours some of the most well-known MMA fighters train.

How Many Hours a Day Do MMA Fighters Train?

Mimicking the workout routine of MMA fighters will give you the same levels of physical output as an MMA fighter. However, each individual’s body is unique, and some people have different genetics. So, it’s a good idea to see know many hours MMA fighters train every day on average, here’s what I found.

On average, MMA fighters train anywhere from 3 hours per day to 8 hours a day. Many MMA fighters train once in the morning for 1 to 2 hours, and once in the evening for 1 to 2 hours. 

American Top Team, a very well-known MMA affiliation, recommend their MMA fighters train twice a day (source). Once, in the morning for 1 to 3 hours, and once in the evening for one to 3 hours. They have their MMA fighters take one full day of rest off a week.

After a fight, their fighters also take a whole week off for rest and recovery. You may have heard of Dustin Poirier, a very well-known MMA fighter. He is a member of American Top Team. In an interview, he is also quoted as saying he trains 6 times a week twice a day, and takes Sunday off completely. 

Connor Mcgregor is an extremely well-known MMA fighter from Ireland. He typically trains twice a day. Once at 11am in the morning, and again at 7PM at night. For one session he will do cardio and strength training. And in the other session, he will do technical training and or sparring. 

One of the most well-known heavyweight MMA fighters is Francis Ngannou. Francis Ngannou prefers to do bodyweight training type exercises. These are very good because they are easy to do without any equipment. He says he trains every day. 

But, sometimes he will train more especially leading up to a fight. Here’s a video showing one of his home training sessions, where he’s particularly focusing on boxing:

The Gracie family is credited with starting the first UFC. The Gracie family has many fighters who compete in MMA. One of them is Kron Gracie. Here’s a video that shows how he does his typical workouts and his diet routine:

Most MMA fighters lift weights. I explained the training routines of most of the well-known fighters in this article about whether MMA fighters lift weights. The main exercises that are similar are a push press type movement like a press up. A shoulder press, and a squat.

How Do I Train like an MMA Fighter at Home?

MMA fighters typically go to a gym to train. There they have access to everything, and it’s easy to meet with lots of different training partners. But some MMA fighters also train at home, here’s the lowdown on how to train like an MMA fighter at home.

In general, you should do at least one workout a day. This would be 1 to 3 hours and involve cardio and strength training, such as press-ups, and sit-ups variations. As well as, some technical work on a heavy bag, shadow boxing, or doing grappling solo type drills.

The exact makeup of each workout could vary each day. You could also do two workouts a day. But, this is typically not possible for most people. The reason is it would require a big-time commitment. And if you work full time and have other hobbies or like to socialize with friends, it doesn’t leave enough time left over to train MMA twice a day. In general, most people could only fit in one MMA workout.

How Do MMA Fighters Start Training?

You can watch an MMA fighter such as those in the UFC. If you haven’t trained in MMA, it can be a bit confusing how these fighters go to their level of skill. Here’s a rundown of exactly how MMA fighters get into MMA.

MMA fighters begin training by registering at an MMA gym. Or, by first taking one of the main martial arts in MMA such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu or boxing. After that, they will learn the other martial arts involved in MMA.

There are also intensive programs such as the ‘Wimp to Warrior’ program. Which has now been renamed ‘Alta’. This is where people who have never done MMA before train intensively for 5 months or so. 

The schedule involves:

  • Weeks 1 to 6: Foundations and movement
  • Weeks 7 to 13: Techniques
  • Weeks 14 to 20: Pressure and preparation – sparring

There are unique muscles that are used in MMA, that aren’t well developed for a normal person. Therefore, in the first 1 to 6 weeks they focus on movement-specific drills to make these muscles stronger. And develop increased coordination and dexterity.

Then they teach specific movements and incorporate light sparring. Before, transitioning into very realistic sparring in the weeks leading up to the fight.

Then at the end, they have an amateur MMA fight. These programs are widely available within the USA, and internationally. It’s also a good way to see if you like training MMA and if it’s right for you. 

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