Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most popular sports out there today. With plenty of TV time, pay-per-view success, major partnerships and sponsorships in place, the MMA “fad” isn’t going away and it’s developed quite a following. Due to this rise in popularity, we are seeing it spill over into the fitness industry as well. From the professional fighter to the casual fight fan, more and more people are looking for MMA-inspired fitness workouts.
Want vs. Need
If a “general population” client tells you they want to incorporate some MMA-type training into their workouts, what do we do? Explain to them that they came to you because you’re an experienced fitness professional and you know what’s best for them? Change up the whole program because you want to make them happy? How about a little of both? While it may not be absolutely necessary, will it do them any harm? As long as you have a balanced plan in place, let’s give them a little of what they want with a little of what they need. At the end of the day, if clients and members are not enjoying their workouts then they won’t continue to come to you for training.
We must keep injury prevention and their fitness goals the top priorities. Keeping that in mind, adding some movements in that elevate the heart rate, alleviate stress levels, and provides an element of fun will typically align with their goals. And that’s exactly what certain martial arts-inspired movements will do.
Method To The Madness
So we understand it’s perfectly acceptable, and probably a smart move from a retention standpoint, to blend some of the movements that you know will help them with their goals along with some movements that they want to try out. How should we put it all together?
Workouts don’t need to be complex programs with percentages and variable tempos to be effective. For many folks who want to “get fit”, incorporate full-body routines that alternate between lower body and upper body movements and you’re on your way to a successful game-plan. Add in some goal-specific movements (mobility, strength, fat loss, etc.) and you’ve got a great workout. Here’s a 4-movement circuit that will target your entire body, build strength, burn fat, challenge your conditioning, and includes both the “want” and the “need”.
Side note – If you’re interested in actually strapping on some gloves and learning a specific martial art, reach out to a local facility in your area. Improper form and technique could lead to injuries so it’s always best to learn from a qualified professional.
Treat this session as a 4-movement circuit. Complete the first movement, then move on to the second movement, then the third, etc. Once you complete all four exercises, go back and complete the first movement to begin set #2. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets. Complete 3 sets to start and then as you get more experienced you can work up to 5-6 sets.
1. Total Gym
2. Heavy Bag
A1. Lower body – Total Gym Hop Overs – 6 reps/side
A2. Upper body – Total Gym 1-Arm Pull-ups – 6 reps/side
A3. Midsection – Torso Rotations – 12 reps/side
A4. MMA-inspired – Heavy Bag Work – 30 seconds
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is a trainer, coach, presenter, and the founder of DB Strength. He is the co-owner of a fitness facility outside of Boston called, “Iron Village Strength & Conditioning”. He was the head strength and conditioning coach for the Alliance Training Center where he worked with many top professional MMA athletes. Visit www.DBStrength.com or www.IronVillageSC.com for more information.