A well-rounded training program can help you build strength, power, explosiveness and conditioning. You need all of these abilities and more to succeed as a fighter, whether it is in boxing or mixed martial arts. Build strength, learn to generate explosive power and improve your ability to stay strong through the final stages of the fight. Consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.
You need a strong foundation on which to build your other skills, and this starts with the compound lifts. Exercises such as the squat and deadlift strengthen your legs and core, and the deadlift works your upper back as well. The chin-up, bench press, military press and barbell row work nearly every muscle of your upper body. Train your entire body three times a week; this will give you plenty of time to train for fighting. Train with at least 75 percent of your one-repetition maximum, and keep your rest periods short. Not only does this build strength and conditioning for fighting, it improves your production of testosterone, which helps you build muscle and recover from training. Shorter rest periods also keep the hormone cortisol under control, as high levels of cortisol can cause fat storage and muscle wasting.
Do extra conditioning work on your non-lifting days. At first, your goal is just to improve your tolerance for training volume, so body-weight exercises can be performed, such as extra pushups, squats or jumping jacks. Start slowly, and gradually increase your training volume on conditioning days. After a month, increase the intensity by dragging a weighted sled. This will not only improve the overall conditioning of your legs, it will give you extra cardiovascular exercise and help strengthen your joints to prepare you for additional training.
While learning weightlifting can sometimes take a bit of time and focus, some of the basic exercises, such as the power snatch and power clean, are great for building explosive power. By executing both of these exercises, you improve your ability to explode from a crouched position, which is vital when closing the gap with your opponent as well as assisting you in generating power in your throws. Squatting can also be done in a dynamic manner to improve the stretch reflex and the power your legs generate, but this should only be done after you have developed your strength, technique and conditioning.
Plyometric training, or rebound training, is a specific method of improving not only your stretch reflex, but your ability to quickly generate power. These are the last elements to add into your program, as your body must be properly prepared to tolerate them. Start with explosive pushups, where you push yourself away from the ground as explosively as possible and get as much air time as you can before landing. Depths jumps are next, where you jump backward off of a short platform, land on your toes, and use the stretch reflex to launch yourself back up onto the platform. Start slowly, and make sure you follow the steps in order.
- "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise"; Biomechanics of the Knee During Closed Kinetic Chain and Open Kinetic Chain Exercises; Rafael F. Escamilla et. al.; April 1998
- "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise"; A Three-dimensional Biomechanical Analysis of Sumo and Conventional Style Deadlifts; Rafael F. Escamilla et. al.; July 2000
- "European Journal of Applied Physiology"; Acute Hormonal and Neuromuscular Responses to Hypertrophy, Strength and Power Type Resistance Exercise; George O. McCaulley et. al., March 2009
- "Fiziol Cheloveka"; Acute Testosterone and Cortisol Responses to High Power Resistance Exercise; Andrew Fry & Charles Lohnes; July-August 2010