8 Points for a Better MMA Performance Programme

This post is a list of the points I made to a group of MMA coaches at my last performance camp with Danny Mitchell on the 15th Jan. We had 12 coaches in on the day, Danny went through some of the technical aspects of preparation while I covered the physical side.  If you like this list you should definitely watch the FREE webinar I did on the subject earlier this year. If you are interested in learning more about MMA strength and conditioning I am doing a 1 day workshop March 17th this year in Leeds. You can read more about it HERE.

I ended my talk with this list, which is a summary of some of the observations I have made over the years.

1. Quality VS Quantity: I wrote a blog post about this some time ago now and its highly relevant. Less is more, don’t pad your programme out with unnecessary volume and sessions that really don’t add anything to your game.

2. Add something in: Take something out! This links in with the first point nicely. If you are training hard in a finely balanced programme which pretty much any MMA fighter in my experience is doing, you need to take a session out before you add a session in to avoid overtraining/long term burnout.

3. Prioritise Recovery: Level 1 is getting 8-10 hours sleep a day, quality nutrition and a good warm-up and cool down post training. Level 2 is your active recovery, foam rolling etc and Level 3 is your more advanced methods of recovery such as ice baths, compression clothing etc. Here’s a tip, don’t think about level 2 or 3 until you’ve got level 1 sorted!

4. You can’t train when you’re injured! Do your injury preventative work which includes stretching, core training, mobility, and most importantly specific work that should improve your movement, and address any imbalances you have as an athlete.

5. Develop a High Level of Strength: I’ve written before about the importance of strength for MMA fighters, in fact i wrote a whole series of articles for fighting fit magazine on the subject! You need to work towards 2x bodyweight back squat, 1.5x BW press and pull amongst other strengths that need to be developed. This doesn’t happen overnight it takes commitment and dedication.

6. Think long term: Don’t just think of your next fight, think about this next year as a medium term plan, and the next 3-5 years as a long term plan. This way you can set goals for your technical and physical development and make plans to achieve them. The same for your strength and conditioning.

7. Joined up approach to training: How many coaches do most fighters have? Do they all know what each other is doing and the plans for development? It’s your job to link them up and make that clear. As a strength and conditioning coach I need to know what the technical goals are as it will affect the programme I put in place.

8. Get the basics right: The best way to conserve energy and have great endurance in fights is by having excellent technique. Commit to making it excellent. Efficient technique means you use less energy to execute movements and you will execute your technique on better guys with this improvement. The same goes for your S&C. Do you have great mobility so you can get into deep squat positions, lunge perfectly, press and pull with efficient and controlled shoulder movement? If not you need to work to get excellent technique in the basic movements in the gym. In doing this you become more loadable which means its far easier for someone like me to develop high levels of strength and power and rounded athletisicm.

Thats the list folks, let me know your thoughts on it by leaving a comment below.

Don’t forget, if you enjoyed this post and want to learn more about MMA S&C i’m doing a 1 day workshop on the 17th March. You can still take advantage of the early bird price too, so check out the link HERE.

PS On the subject of recovery, I have elite nutritionalist Matt Lovell coming to Leeds to do a 1 day workshop on performance nutrition. Its going to be a great event, with Matt begin right on the cutting edge in his field. All the details can be found HERE.

All the best,


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