A very common question that comes up in the gym is whether or not weight training is necessary for MMA, BJJ or any combat sport. I think at this point most people will agree that strength and physical conditioning cannot make up for a severe lack of technical ability but when combined with solid fundamentals in the particular art. An added boost of strength and power can go a long way.
All you have to do is take a look at the top competitors in any combat sport and it becomes very apparent that they all do some sort of weight based training. Some prefer Crossfit style workouts while others focus on heavy power lifting, I’ve even seen some use strongman style training, but they all lift. You might say to yourself that the top level guys do this for a living and can devote huge amounts of time to their conditioning and that you being a normal person with a job and other responsibilities cannot. Of course you are completely right. You cannot devote the same amount of time to your training, so in turn, you must be smart with how you plan to use the precious bit you do have.
“Is strength training necessary for combat sports?”
My answer to the question is no, it’s not necessarily needed for combat sports. You can still become very skilled without the addition of weight training. However, if you want to be as successful as possible it’s definitely helpful and something I would recommend. I would also like to add that having a strength or conditioning advantage over my opponents has come in incredibly handy over the years. Many times during a match or an MMA fight, I’ve felt my opponents fading and a hard push forward was all that was needed to seal the deal and leave me with my hand raised.
Here are my tips to anyone who is interested in adding a weight training regime to their schedule.
- Focus on strength training. Developing your strength and power are huge. First off you can develop weaker areas of your body and help prevent injury. Secondly. Think about someone you’ve trained with that was strong or powerful, maybe a wrestler. Who wouldn’t want a little of that? Added strength and power will give you an added umph to your game.
- Don’t get carried away with cardio. A little extra running, biking or rowing is fine. A circuit or WOD style workout from time to time is fine as well. But remember that the bulk of your cardio should come from the mats. If you want to push yourself and your cardio, increase the rounds or the intensity of the rounds you do during training. Added cardio should be a compliment not a replacement. Too much extra cardio work will just run down your body and make your time on the mats or in the weight room less productive.
- You don’t need to be in the gym every day for 3 hours doing curls. Make sure you get a good routine built that will help develop the whole body. Don’t get too hung up on your t shirt muscles and lose sight of developing far more important areas like your lower back and legs.
- Find a coach that is willing to help you. There are plenty of coaches out there these days. Find one that is knowledgeable and one that is willing to work with you. Be sure that the coach understands your goals, is willing to take the time to identify your weaknesses and meshes well with your personality.
- Stay consistent. Weight lifting is just like any other skill. It takes time and consistency to improve. Make sure to make a commitment that you can stick with. This may be 2-3 days a week which is fine. Even 1-2 days a week is better than nothing.
If you are a student at Derby City MMA and are in search of a strength training routine to boost your abilities on the mats, be sure to talk to Joe Clark for assistance.
Thanks for reading,