Beginners guide to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

How to be an MMA fighter

If you have watched a nail-biting MMA fight featuring some of the best like Jon Jones, Khabib Nurmagomedov, or Connor McGregor, the thought probably occurred to you that these people must be "really, really fit to fight like that” And you are absolutely right, MMA fighters need to be in amazing shape to be able to fight against one another and it can even sometimes be the very reason for winning or losing. 

What is MMA?

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is described as a combat sport in which two competitors "fight". These competitors attempt to achieve dominance over one another by making use of the following three general tactics: Striking, finishing holds, and control. The two contenders may punch, kick, joint-lock, choke, takedown, or throw their opponent. Winning is achieved through knock-out, submission( a fighter declares submission by tapping the mat or his component with his hand), or stoppage by the referee, fight doctor, or the competitor's cornerman. The rules of combat include no eye-gouging, fish-hooking, or biting your opponent. Although this form of combat can be quite intense, it is often extremely entertaining to watch. 

How to train like an MMA fighter

Focus on one martial art

Like we explained earlier, MMA combines a mixture of different martial arts. You cannot simply start training to be an MMA fighter, it often takes professionals decades to master each combination of martial arts that they utilise in a match. So we recommend focusing on one to start off with. For beginners, we suggest starting with cardio kickboxing. Boxing is an excellent place to start since it gets you into great shape, trains your agility and endurance. Once you feel like you have mastered kickboxing, we suggest switching over to Muay Thai. Muay Thai is also a form of boxing with the principle of using your whole body as a weapon. Here you will not only learn how to combat, but you will also learn techniques like shielding, improved agility, focus, and stamina. The more you practice the easier it will get for you to go from strength to strength and soon you will find yourself in exceptional shape with much more endurance than aver before.

Hit the gym

Visit Fitness Fables for your best chance at hitting your MMA goals. Not only does the gym allow you to utilize machinery and equipment, but it also offers training support to ensure that you do not stagnate. While MMA fighting requires you to have very high fitness levels, it also requires you to be in the best physical shape. At Fitness Fables, we offer all you need to get yourself in the right shape for MMA fighting. What we are typically aiming for is a lean but strong build, and we have the right workout plans and routines for you to get you there.

No heavy punching bags just yet

When people get into MMA fighting they tend to forget that it is a sport that requires extreme endurance. Endurance is the single most important factor when considering MMA as a sport. So before you put on your gloves and start to punch the heavy bag, we suggest skipping rope first. Starting slow is key in achieving your goals as an MMA fighter. Aside from losing muscles and improving cardio, jumping rope can also help improve eye-coordination and footwork, both crucial skills in MMA fighting. 

Practice shadowboxing

Shadowboxing is when a contender moves around the room and throws punches at the air in a way that mimics fighting or sparring. Shadowboxing is easy and can be done anywhere without the need for equipment or gear. Shadowboxing is something all professional MMA fighters do and will continue to do. It can loosen stiff muscles, improve your technique, and is great for some cardio exercise. We recommend shadowboxing for about 5 minutes before training for a few weeks and gradually increasing the duration as you start getting better. Another great benefit to shadowboxing is that you can do it while standing in front of a mirror. This way you will be able to develop better form, new combinations, and fighting techniques that you would otherwise not have discovered.

Get out that heavy bag

After hard cardio and endurance training and you feel like you are ready, it is time to start with heavy bag punching. All and we do mean all MMA fighter incorporate heavy bag punching into their routines. Punching and kicking the heavy bag can be very daunting at first and it truly is not considered to be "fun" but it is necessary. At first, you will find that your knuckles start to hurt and your shins are taking some serious shots. But that is all part of the game. Soon will start to notice that your body, muscles, and nerves around the areas are starting to get used to this form of training and will compensate for it making it less painful over time.

Work your core

Last but certainly not least, you need to make sure that your core is in great shape. Since we use our core and back muscles to take a swing or to kick, it is important that you focus on your core. Each of your workouts needs to include core exercises. Many Muay Thai and MMA fighters do up to 300 push-ups every single day. The strength or force of your punch, kicks, knees, and elbows all depend on the strength of your core. There are many core workouts you can try, but as a start, we recommend this one

Conor McGregor once said: “There is absolutely no talent here. This is hard work" which just goes to show that great things can only be achieved by extremely hard work, great dedication, and consistency. Talk to your Fitness Fables trainer if you are interested in trying out MMA styled workouts. 

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