I recently got into MMA training, so I figured that I’d share with you, my dear readers, one of the routines I like doing when I’m in the cross-training mood.
But before I do that, let me first express my admiration to the whole MMA fighting community. I have been a UFC fan since forever, and I consider MMA fighters to be some of the best and fittest athletes on the planet.
Why? Well, it’s obvious. To excel in the MMA professional fighting world, one has to develop and build some badass conditioning level, improving on all facets of fitness, including, endurance, strength, power, agility, balance, coordination, flexibility and an unbreakable mental game.
And don’t get me started on the martial arts practice and discipline required to be on top of this game.
In other words, an MMA fighter is a well-rounded athlete per excellence.
By the same token, and as a runner, if you are looking to improve on all facets of fitness, then taking a page from an MMA training routine can surely help.
MMA Inspired Workout Routine
Yes, it’s tough. Yes, it’s intense. But don’t fret yet.
You don’t need some coach yelling at you instructions. No need to special equipment –expect for some weights, a med ball, some space and your own body weight.
Also, you don’t need a partner—although having one to keep the time and give you a little push can surely help.
Without further ado, here is the 30-minute total body conditioning that will put you on par with some of the fittest athletes on the planet
I have designed this workout to target your entire body in one session, in a fast-paced, high-intensity circuit that leaves no muscle untouched.
The 30-minute routine includes five 5-minute routes of intense work. So do your best to push to the max on each round—leaving nothing in the tank.
Perform as many reps as possible with good form on each exercise for one full minute. Rest for one full minute between each round. And remember to keep good form the entire time. That’s why I’m providing with the YouTube form tutorials and the written instructions.
Proper form is non-negotiable.
Also, you don’t need to have a background in martial arts, Jiu-jitsu or anything like that. The routine is about helping you boost your overall fitness and conditioning level. It’s not about teaching you some boxing or kicking moves.
You’ll need a real class with a competent coach to learn that. Otherwise, if you try that by yourself, you’ll learn the moves the wrong way and end up yourself in the process. And you don’t want that.
So are you ready?
Then here we go…
Round 1: Five Minutes Total
Side Push-ups – One Minute (right side)
Assume a pushup position with the core engaged, back flat, gazing straight ahead.
Next, while keeping the whole body engaged, take your right hand and move it out wide to the right side, lowering your chest to the ground. Then press back up to the pushup position to complete one rep.
Do as many reps as possible in under one minute.
Side Push-ups – One Minute (left side)
Repeat the same exercise on the left side this time.
Box Jumps – one minute
Assume an athletic position while standing in front of a jump box of a challenging height.
Next, brace your core, slightly squat down, then jump onto the box, landing on it as softly as you can.
Then jump back to starting position and jump again immediately.
Perform as many box jumps as possible with good form.
Weighted Swiss Ball Crunch – one minute
Grab a weight plate or a set of light dumbbells then lay on a Swiss ball with your core engaged and lower back tightly pressed against the surface of the ball.
Next, while holding the weight across your chest, start performing crunches by flexing your waist and raising your upper torso up slightly forward.
Hold for a moment, then slowly return to starting position.
Sprawls – one minute
This is a classic MMA fighting move.
Assume an athletic stand with feet about hip-width apart, and core engaged.
Next, drop down vertically and place both of your hands on the floor on either side of the toes. Then, in one explosive motion, kick your feet back until you end up in a plank position with the leg straight and back flat.
Hold for a moment, then bring your feet back and immediately explode up back up to the starting position to complete one rep.
Round 2: Five Minutes Total
Barbell Push Press – one minute
Grab a set of dumbbells or a barbell of a challenging weight with an overhand grip.
Next, slightly bend your knees, drop down, then, to drive the weight overhead, pressing up through your heels and extending both arms until they are both straight overhead.
Hold for a moment, then slowly lower the weight to your chest before exploding up again.
Whatever you do, make sure to keep your core engaged and a neutral arch in the spine the entire time. This will protect your back from strain and injury.
Plyo Push-ups – one minute
Assume a classic push-up position with the arms straight, core engaged and legs straight.
Next, while keeping your body in a straight line, lower your chest to the floor, then explode up as hard as you can, aiming for the hands to briefly leave the ground.
The, drop down and immediately perform the next explosive pushup without much delay.
Wall Sits – one minute
Assume an athletic position with your back flat against a wall.
Next, while bracing the core and holding your arms across your chest, bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and/or both thighs are parallel to the ground.
Breathe deep and hold the position for one full minute.
Medicine Ball Sprawls – one minute
Grab a medicine ball and assume a pushup position with your hands on the med ball.
Next, jump both knees your chest, then explode off the ground, lifting the ball overhead. Then squat down, place the ball on the ground and explosively kick your legs back to return to the starting position.
Hold a Bosu or medicine ball in both hands and get into a fighting stance . Explosively shoot your legs back and drop to the floor, placing all your weight on the ball and spreading your feet out wide . Stand up again as quickly as possible, and repeat for 30 seconds.
Russian Twists – one minute
Grasp the med ball and sit on the floor with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees., heels touching the ground.
To perform the Russian twists, lean back, active your core, then rotate your torso to the right as far as you can and tap the ball to the floor, hold for a moment, then twist back to the other side.
Do this in a non-stop fashion and manner.
Round 3: Five Minutes Total
Spiderman Push-ups – one minute
Again, assume a push-up position.
Next, as you perform the push-up, bring your right knee to the right elbow, keeping it off the floor the entire time. Then, push your knee back to starting position and alternate sides to complete one rep.
Front Squat – one minute
Assume an athletic position with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly while resting a barbell or a set of dumbbells of challenging weight on the front of your shoulders.
Next, squat down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, then push back up through the heel to the standing position.
Please, keep your knees tracking over your toes, core engaged, and back straight throughout the movement.
Medicine Ball Slams – one minute
Hold a med ball of challenging weight overhead with both hands with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Then, while reaching back as far as possible, and using your entire body, slam the ball in front of you by driving ball downward as hard as you can.
Single-leg Sprawls (burpees) on the Right Side – one minute
Stand tall on the right foot, with the back flat and core engaged.
Next, while keeping the right foot off the floor the entire time, lower down by being your left knee then place your hands on either side of the toes. Then, kick your left leg back and assume a plank position, pause, then, bring your left foot back to starting position and stand up.
Single-leg sprawl – one minute
Repeat the same exercise on the left foot this time.
Round 4: Five Minutes Total
Burpee With Jump – one minute
standing straight with feet shoulder-width apart, then lower down and place both hands on the ground.
Next, kick your legs back straight, perform a push-up, then jump your knees toward your chest, and jump in the air the air as high as you can, landing softly in a standing position.
Pistol Squat – one minute
Assume an athletic position with your arms straight out in front at shoulder level, parallel to the ground.
Next, shift your weight to your left foot and raise the right leg six to ten inches off the floor. Then squat down by pushing your hips back as far as possible without losing form.
Hold for a moment, then push back up to starting position.
Please make sure to keep your core engaged and right leg off the floor the entire time. If it’s too much, then feel free to modify the pose by using a chair.
Pistol Squat – one minute
Repeat the same exercise on the left foot this time.
Bear Crawl – one minute
Get on all four with your knees off the floor and bent at 90-degree angle and hips ups and core engaged.
Next, crawl forward on your hands for at least 20 to 25 yards, hold for a moment, then, crawl back to the starting point.
Alternating Medicine Ball Push-ups – one minute
This exercise is going to require a bit of coordination on your part. So go slow. No need to rush.
Place a med ball under your right hand, lower your chest down until your start feeling a stretch in your chest, then press back up.
Next, roll the med ball to your left side and repeat the push-up.
Keep on alternating sides as fast as possible without losing form
Round 5: Five Minutes Total
One Armed Sprawls – one minute
Stand tall and raise your left arm out to the side at should height.
Next, bend your knees and lower down, placing your right hand on the ground just under the center of your chest. Next, kick your legs back and assume a one-armed plank position.
Last up, kick your legs back and press back up to the standing position to complete one rep.
One Armed Sprawls – one minute
Repeat the same exercise on the left side.
Jumping Lunges – one minute
Assume a lunge position with your right leg forward, knee bent at 90-degree angle, with left knee almost touching the floor.
Next, while bracing your core, jump up as high as you can, then swap your leg mid-air.
As soon as you land in the lunge with the left leg forward, go immediately into the next jump and repeat.
Dive Bombers– one minute
Begin this exercise with your hands on the ground wider than shoulder-width apart with the hips elevated, so your body is forming an inverted “V” shape.
Next, while lowering your shoulders, slide your chest forward, then bring it between your hands and up toward the ceiling.
Hold for a moment, then lower back and bring your hips back to the starting position toward the ceiling, ending up forming the inverted “V” shape.
One Armed Single Leg Sprawls – one minute
This is the closing move. So do your best here and leave nothing in the tank.
Do as many single-leg with one arm sprawls as possible to conclude this tough and gut-busting MMA workout routine.