MMA Drills – 3 Basic Uses of Circuit Training in an MMA Workout Program

| April 16, 2011

Regardless of how much or how little time you have to train for MMA you should be doing circuit training. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is simply a way of structuring your MMA Workout. Traditional weightlifting tends to have breaks between each set. Circuit training differs in that you train many different parts of your body in a contiguous chain (or circuit) before you rest or restart the circuit.


There are many advantages to incorporating circuit training in your MMA program, but I cover those in another article. Simply put though, circuit training allows you to intensely condition your muscles for MMA competition, while also building strength and even cardio.


Here are three basic ways that circuit training is used in MMA workouts:


1. Weight Training Circuit

2. Resistance Circuit

3. MMA Drills Circuit


1. Alright, you caught me, weight training is of course a type of resistance training; however, I want to distinguish traditional weight training from more sport specific resistance training and strength building. As I am sure you are aware, when training for MMA you MUST use weights. You do not want to overdo it with weights.  Fortunately, using circuit training will help you to not just building cumbersome and draining bulk.


When creating or using a weight training circuit for MMA you will want to give the different parts of your body some break between the times that you use them. That simply means that you should not just do your shoulders and arms in your circuit. Many MMA athletes train their whole bodies when they do circuit training. Whether or not you take a break at the end of each circuit is up to you however. 60 seconds or shorter is probably the best choice, as it simulates your recovery time between rounds.


2. Resistance training for MMA can go beyond using just weights. Some fighters use heavy bags for various purposes, kettlebells, sandbags, etc. The most important point of using different tools, not just weights, is to attempt to cover wider ranges of motion and different types of stress on your muscles. Remember that you always want to train what you need. This means that you do not necessarily need to be a beast on the bench press (or be able to run a marathon) when power cleans, kettlebells, etc. will help achieve a more explosive and sport relevant power.


3. Finally, many mixed martial artists do their MMA drills in a circuit. This can include elements as intense as sparring, but generally it focuses on grappling elements, striking heavy bags (from various positions), sprawling, some cardio, etc. This is not a time to learn new techniques but a time to hone old ones and condition your body to do what it needs to be able to do when you are in a match.  That should always be the goal of your conditioning.


Circuit training is a tough way to train; however, as MMA proliferates training techniques and fighting styles do as well.  If you want to compete circuit training is simply essential.  Remember that you should always have some focus on technique, regardless of what type of circuit training you are doing. A poorly performed power clean (set or rep) could cost you weeks out of the gym.  Getting yourself injured will not help anything or anyone, and it will drain you and aggravate you like nothing else.

I hope this helps you to incorporate circuit training into your MMA conditioning and training regimen. If you are still a bit lost as to how to set up your circuit training for MMA then watch videos, read more, and perhaps think about buying a program online (if you cannot afford or do not have time for a coach), such as Eric Wong’s: . His is probably the best program that you will find on the Internet. All the best in your future training and matches.



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