Do MMA Fighters Lift Weights? Why Are they Skinny?

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Some of the weight training you see on social media by elite MMA fighters is appalling. Like other martial arts, lifting weights is an afterthought and is often regarded as such. Is lifting weights something you should do for MMA since many fighters believe it isn’t necessary?

So, Do MMA Fighters Lift Weights?

Yes, MMA fighters do weight training 2 to 3 times every week.

Weightlifting is done by MMA fighters 2-3 times a week, depending on whether they are in or out of fight camp. These weightlifting workouts may emphasize strength or speed development, depending on the MMA fighter.

MMA fighters weight training focuses on agility, reflexes, and speed.

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Should MMA Fighters Lift Weights?

MMA fighters must lift weights. But not in the usual sense of a bodybuilder or strength athlete. Lifting weights for MMA entails focusing on certain attributes required for MMA performance

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MMA fighters lift weight 2 to 3 times per week
MMA fighters lift weight 2 to 3 times per week

MMA fighters must be swift, powerful, and strong to cover the many athletic demands in the cage. Maximal strength, for example, is needed in a grappling scenario, while reactive and explosive strength and power are required for striking.

As essential strength criteria for MMA, the UFC Performance Institute has specified a reactive strength index larger than 2.6 and a vertical leap greater than 50 cm.

These attributes and many more are developed in the gym as part of an MMA strength training regimen. Reactive strength boosts the capacity to throw rapid, forceful striking combinations, and explosive strength and power translate to finishers.

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Do MMA Fighters Workout with Heavy Weights?

MMA fighters do lift high weights depending on how close a battle is. MMA athletes will not lift heavy if they are close to a bout and trying to drop weight. Speed and power are emphasized instead.

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To handle the force end of the force-velocity continuum, you would normally raise heavier weights farther away from a conflict. That is, increasing your capacity to generate maximum force. Lifting heavy also desensitizes the Golgi tendon organ (GTO), which restricts high-force behaviors, particularly in less-trained fighters.

Essentially, the GTO will pump the brakes if it detects excessive muscular force, lowering the force production of the muscles. Lifting big weights may cause this brake to be delayed and reduced in magnitude, allowing you to create greater force.

MMA fighters avoid heavy lifting as that can limit their range of motion
MMA fighters avoid heavy lifting as that can limit their range of motion

As a result, lifting hard at precise times throughout your fight preparation is critical for your athletic growth.

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Furthermore, lifting weights may minimize your chance of injury, and being stronger usually implies being able to tolerate heavier training loads.

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How Often Do MMA Fighters Workout?

MMA athletes will typically lift 2-3 times each week. Lifting weights outside of fight camp may be planned three times each week, depending on your strengths and limitations. In this case, it would be for a warrior who lacks maximum strength or size.

When you go to fight camp, you just need two strength workouts each week. There is no need to add additional training and tiredness as the intensity and volume of technical training increases, particularly when fighting is the most important element of your preparation.

How Do MMA Athletes Perform Weight Training?

I’ve written about how MMA fighters lift weights in my MMA strength training post. But, in a nutshell, forget about Powerlifting and bodybuilding. MMA weight training entails building speed, strength, and power in numerous directions.

A common technique may be to emphasize heavier weights farther out from a fight with a low amount of speed and power exercises. As you approach closer to a bout, reduce your strength training and concentrate on speed and power drills. These might include different leaps, throws, and Olympic lifts.

Lifting weights for MMA is best approached with descriptive physical performance assessments that identify your weaknesses, so you may improve them outside of fight camp. This strategy is covered in full in my Warrior Strength Training Course, which entails doing a force-velocity profile test to discover if you are force or velocity deficient.

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If you lack velocity, the focus will be on leaps, throws, and plyometrics with a dash of heavy lifting. If you lack force, the focus will be on heavy lifts and powerful jumps with a dash of throws and plyometrics.

As you approach fight camp, you may conduct a more well-balanced strength program or double down on your strengths within reason.

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Is weightlifting bad for MMA fighters?

No weightlifting is not bad for MMA fighters. However, lifting more weights can lead to muscle-build up. This makes them slow in their range of motions.

The majority of MMA and boxers will steer clear of heavy weightlifting since it not only restricts their range of motion.

That being said, MMA fighters do weight training on a regular basis to stay fit, agile, and fast.

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Why Are MMA fighters Skinny?

  • Since their training mostly consists of high-repetition exercises, MMA fighters are lean and agile. For instance, rather exercising bench pressing 400 lbs, MMA fighters do 100 pushups. High-repetition exercises do not result in significant muscle gain, but they do protect MMA athletes from becoming too fatigued.
  • Because they must have strength, flexibility, agility, and endurance, MMA fighters must be lean to take down their opponent.
  • Moreover, large muscles should be avoided by fighters since they accelerate oxygen loss and cause fatigue more quickly.

We hope this article has answered your question ‘Do MMA Fighters Lift Weights?’ in detail.

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