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How to Create The Perfect MMA Home Training Program (For Beginners)

Posted by Jacob Edwards-Bytom on 4th Sep 2020

Which one of these statements sounds familiar? You have the best intentions to workout regularly, but the busyness of life makes it impossible to hit the gym for your mixed martial arts (MMA) weekly routine. You are looking for a variety of home workouts that are fun and motivate you to keep exercising. You’re curious and wonder, what is MMA fitness? Whatever your reason to want to learn more about a MMA home training program, keep reading!

We’ve put together a comprehensive overview on MMA exercise programs that cover the different types of martial arts workouts and how to decide which one is best for you, what type of equipment you need, tips on doing MMA training at home for free and even advice on what to eat to enhance your home workouts.

The Benefits of an MMA Exercise Program

Just like any other type of exercise plan, mixed martial arts can improve your overall health.

As Webmd explains, any training program that’s practiced regularly will reduce anxiety, boost immunity, improve body image, help you sleep better, lower the risk of erectile dysfunction, decrease PMS and strengthen the brain. Plus, exercising, improves your cardiovascular health, and helps people lose weight.

The additional benefits of MMA training include:

  • Increased self-confidence. When you realize you have the power to defend yourself, it helps you in all aspects of your life.
  • Increased ability to focus. Knowing that you must react instantly to your opponent’s next move forces you to be disciplined and focused.
  • Improved coordination. Practicing mixed martial arts helps you develop strong reflexes and coordination.

A writer from Men’s Health spent three months training five times a week. He wrote about the experience in the article, I Trained like a MMA Fighter for 3 Months. Here’s What Happened, where he made this observation; “I was the fittest, strongest and most physically well-conditioned I’ve ever been.”

How do I get in shape for MMA?

If you haven’t exercised regularly, you should first check with your health care practitioner to see if you have any limitations. Once you have the green light, start doing cardio exercises—riding a bike, jogging, or swimming—and some core strengthening exercises to warm up your muscles and build endurance. Adding some resistance training exercises to your workout can be beneficial before you start MMM workout drills.

Before you jump into an MMA home workout plan you need to set your goals and evaluate your eating habits.

Decide on your goals.

Did you know there are over 180 different types of martial arts? Some, but not all, incorporate weapons into the MMA conditioning. The common denominator among all of them is their ability to strengthen both your physical and your mental muscles.

  • Are you’re looking for a good full-body workout? Doing boxing training at home can help you achieve this goal.
  • Do you want to build muscle? You might want to start a MMA strength training workout.
  • Do you want to reduce stress and improve your flexibility, strength, agility, and aerobic capacity? If yes, Tai Chi would be the perfect home workout plan.

If you are still unsure what type of MMA home training program you would like to pursue, check out this guide that explains the various types of fighting sports.

Analyze your diet.

You’ve probably have been told that the food you put into your body plays a key role in how well your body can perform.

We previously wrote about the eating habits of Bruce Lee, an actor and martial artist admired by many for his muscular strength. Bruce preferred 5 smaller meals a day, focused on energy-boosting foods and usually avoided sweets and refined carbs.

In this video, Kron Grace, an MMA fighter from Brazil explains why he follows a pescatarian diet.

If you were to ask what’s the best MMA fighter workout and diet to get results, you’ll find there is no one answer. Just as there are a variety of ways you can do martial arts workouts at home, there are different diets you can follow. However, when you start to think about food as fuel, it has a positive impact on your results. One thing is certain; you will not be in your top form if you consume lots of beer and fried food!

Starting Your MMA Home Training Program

All you need to begin is comfortable clothes, enough room to move and if possible, a mirror so you can see your form. Some people find it helpful to record their workouts, then they can play the video back and compare their movements to whatever online video or article they are using.

As with any type of exercise, remember to warm up first. If you want to follow the footsteps of professional UFC fighters, make jumping rope part of your warmup routine. Depending on your current physical condition and the exact type of MMA program you decide to follow, you might need a pair of dumbbells and/or kettle bells.

Online MMA Workout Exercises

It’s amazing the number of highly skilled trainers and other experts willing to share MMA conditioning training workouts online. The plan below gives different MMA workout exercises for specific types of martial arts. It also specifies muscle groups that are used in the exercises.

By following this training routine, you rotate the muscles you use and at the end of the week, you’ll have done a mix of may thai, grappling, boxing, taekwondo, and full-body conditioning. Follow this for 30 days and you’ll be impressed with the results.

The complete week of MMA workout drills includes:

Day 1 - Muay Thai, balance, back and core

Day 2 - Grappling & leg power/endurance

Day 3 - Bxing and punch speed/endurance

Day 4 - Taekwondo, hip mobility and flexibility

Day 5 - Boxing, footwork and agility

Day 6 - MMA and full body conditioning

Day 7 - Rest

Here’s the first day’s training program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px-C4Jhg3DM

Step by Step UFC workout program

Wondering if you can do a MMA strength training program at home? Here’s proof that you can! This workout plan includes five rounds. Do the exercises in each round continuously for five minutes. Rest for 60 seconds, then do the next round.

It’s important to really push yourself hard to get the maximum benefit from these MAM workout drills.

Round 1

10 reps of alternating dumbbell press

10 reps of leg lifts

10 reps of goblet squat with kettlebells

Round 2

10 pushups

10 reps of one-arm dumbbell row

10 reps of rear-delt flye

Round 3

10 reps of shoulder press (While standing, press a pair of dumbbells overhead, alternating with each arm.)

10 reps of alternating lateral lunge with hop (Hold a dumbbell in each hand.)

Round 4

10 burpees

10 single-leg glute bridge

Round 5

Hold a side plank for as long as possible.

Follow this MMA home training program and you will work out your entire body in just 30 minutes. If you have the time and the stamina, do all the rounds a second time. If you can only do the rounds one time, that’s fine. In a few weeks, you should be strong enough to repeat all the rounds for a one-hour workout.

Online BJJ Resources

MMA fighters blend grappling and striking together so that they can fight both on the floor and standing up. One of the most popular grappling martial arts among MMA fighters is BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), but there are many other grappling styles to choose from if you'd prefer not to practice BJJ such as Judo or wrestling.

Here are 17 BJJ drills you can do at home.

Boxing Training at Home 

mma training at home

It’s best to do your boxing training in front of a mirror, which is called shadow boxing. When you’re in front of a mirror, you can imagine there is a person in front of you and watch your style of striking.

There are six basic punches you need to master for an effective boxing workout, they include:

1. Jab: Your front hand will come forward into a straight punch, with your thumb facing the floor. Your back hand will remain up in starting position, with your elbow tucked to your ribcage and your fist near your chin. Reset by returning your front hand to starting position.

2. Cross jab: Like the jab, the cross involves extending your back hand forward in front of your face. This time, twist your body to bring your back hand forward, pivoting your body. Reset by returning your back hand to starting position.

3. Front hook: Bring your front arm around in a hook-like shape. Pivot your front foot as you turn your hips inward and cross your arm over. When your elbow aligns with your shoulder, bring your front arm back to reset.

4. Back hook: Pivot your back foot as you make the same hook-like shape with your back arm. Turn your back hip inward as you flow through the motion; once your elbow aligns with your shoulder, bring your arm back in to reset.

5. Front upper cut: Bring your arm in a similar, hook-like position, but dropping your front arm and bringing it back up towards you, rather than around in front of you. Keep your palm facing your torso.

6. Back upper cut: With the same stance as the front upper cut, bring your back arm down and around. This time, pivot your back foot and twist your hips forward as you send your back arm to the front of the room.

Once you know basic boxing moves, you can follow this level one boxing workout:

  • 1b-3 (jab body-lead hook)
  • 1-3b (jab -lead hook body)
  • 1b-8 (Jab body-back Overhand)
  • 7-2 (lead overhand-cross)
  • 7-4 (lead overhand-back hook)
  • 1b-1-2 (jab body-jab -cross)
  • 1-4-1 (jab-back hook-jab)
  • 1-4-5 (Jab-back Hook-lead upper)
  • 1-6-1 (jab-back upper-jab)
  • 1-6-5 (jab-back upper-lead upper)
  • 2-3-2 (cross-lead hook-cross)
  • 2-3-4 (cross-lead hook-back hook)
  • 2-3-6 (cross-lead hook-back upper)
  • 2-5-2 (cross-lead upper-cross)
  • 2-5-6 (cross-lead upper-back upper)
  • 3-4-5 (Lead Hook-Rear Hook-Lead Upper)
  • 4-3-4 (back hook-lead hook-back hook)
  • 5-4-3(lead upper-back hook-lead hook)
  • 1-2-1-2 (jab-cross-jab-cross)
  • 1-1-2-3 (Jab-Jab-Cross-Lead Hook)

In this example, “lead” means “left” and “rear” means “right”. These words are used so you don’t get confused when you switch your footing. You should be able to box with your left foot first (called Orthodox) and with your right foot first (called Southpaw).

What MMA Home Training Equipment Will I Need?

Everything mentioned in this article—BJJ, boxing, MMA strength training, and the MMA conditioning training—can be done at home without buying anything except some light weights for strength training. So, it’s entirely possible to train for MMA at home, for free if you'd just like to work on your conditioning and learning different combinations. However, you'll be extremely limited in how much you can expand your abilities without using specialized equipment like a punching bag. 

Punching bags help you increase your speed, agility, punching power, accuracy, and they help you learn to execute techniques and combinations at full power. 

However, your muscles might thank you if you purchase a foam roller. This is great to massage your muscles and reduce pain. And, warming up is essential for any type of exercise. Depending on your budget and the amount of space you have in your home, you could choose an inexpensive skipping rope, an elliptical cross trainer, or maybe an exercise bike.

BJJ Equipment

If you already have some basic knowledge of BJJ, you can practice at home even without a grappling partner. At minimum, you'll need a large mat or open floor space. If you're serious about practicing BJJ at home, then you could  purchase a grappling dummy to simulate having a grappling partner.

Boxing Equipment

If you have the room, either a freestanding punching bag or a hanging bag will help you train. When you’re ready to move beyond training at home and head to a boxing rink, you’ll need protection.

The list of protective gear is quite extensive for boxing, but you certainly don’t want to box without it since one study found the majority of boxers (58%) have experienced symptoms related to head injuries.

In addition to purchasing a boxing head guard, anyone serious about following an MMA fighter workout plan considers the following equipment: 

If you're curious about specific martial arts beginner guides, browse the following articles:

Muay Thai for Beginners
Kickboxing for Beginners
Martial Arts Training For Beginners