Weight/Strength for Fighters

i was wondering what some fighters out there do for their weight and or strength training....i had a month off from my MMA training while the club was being renovated....i really got into weight training and started to make some good gains in the weights I was lifting....last week I began my MMA traing again and after a few classes of heavy sparring I find I don't have the stregth or energy to lift much weight....training in MMA 3-4 times a week takes its toll on my body....what do some of you guys do???? should I go for more bodyweight excersises and just do deadlifts and squats for weights??? any suggestions would be great....thank you

The ideal environment in your body for building muscle is an anaerobic, high calorie, sedentary, low volume, and absolutely low activity state. Which was probably close to what you were doing while off MMA training. MMA training and the like completely contradicts an anabolic training environment. Thus when you weren't training in MMA, your body was primed anabolically and you were adding muscle to your frame. It's going to be very difficult (naturally, I mean) for your body to have an anabolic environment to thrive off of, when it is constantly in a catabolic stage 3 to 4 times a week. My suggestion if you want to add muscle, go on a bulking program of say a 4 to 8 week cycle, while dropping down the volume and intensity of your MMA training. Maybe spend more time instructing and helping out rather than actively participating. Then return to your MMA higher volume and intensity as sort of a cutting stage to the bodybuilding in order to complement the added muscle. In my experience, if you try to do heavy weightlifting in conjunction with high intensity MMA training the catabolic effect will soon become counterproductive and you will be knocking on the door of good old mr. injury. And he's no fun at all to be with. Have fun train hard.


I notice the same effect too. My training focus is triathlon, but I also do weightlifting and Muay Thai. I have learned that I get the best results by doing the heavy weight lifting later in the day several hours (and at least 1 meal) after my cardio training (Muay Thai or long slow endurance).

Also sleep and proper nutrition are very important. You need to calculate what your caloric needs are for the activities you participate in. If you do 3 hours of MMA and an hour of serious lifting you must increase your food intake, shoot for 12-15 times your body weight in calories. If you train hard in a single day you also have to make up for it by sleeping for a decent time. My rule is if I train for longer than 3 hours in a day I must get at least 10 hours of sleep.

Glutamine, Accelerade, CytoGainer, and Muscle Milk are your friends, if you have a hard time getting a good diet. Also Costco sells salmon, tuna, and chicken in cans, which is good cause you can easily store and track what you need to eat.

thanks for the info guys....

I agree with everything said so far. Main things is that doing other type of activites is going to take away from your weight training. Your going to have to overcome that with extra food/sleep and make sure you know what your doing when it comes to the weight training program. Good luck, I struggled with gaining any weight for 3 years when I was taking MA.


If I were you, I'd focus more on BWE/interval training for your first couple of weeks back. Take 4-5 minute rests between sets, so that you don't overload your system, and be fried for you MMA sessions. And try to keep you total BWE session relatively short, about 20-30 minutes tops.

Once your body adjusts to the MMA/BWE schedule, you can switch back to the weights. I found that when I switched from my specific BWE/interval workouts to a more "traditional" weight training scheme, I was pushing around more weight.

4 ranges,
i have started to do BWE this week and have found them much less stessful on my body....i will continue with the BWE for a while and then try to hit some weights again....actually i am planning on buying a weighted vest so I can replace some of my weight excersises with BWE's....

I train grappling MMA four times a week also. I usually have one off day a week with the other 2, sometimes 3 days going to mainly bodyweight excersizes and I feel stronger on the mat then ever. I was doing allot of freeweight excersizes but now when I use freeweights its typically deads/squats/cleans.

I also do four days on the mat, 2 days in the gym and one day grace.

The biggest difficult I find is the unpredicable nature of MA training: it is difficult to manage intensity during a session and if I have four high intensity sessions in a week, my gym work suffers. Like all things, it is largely a question of balance and goal setting.

A question I continually ask myself is why am I doing the gym work and what am I trying to get out of it?

Four heavy sparring days leave my energy levels etc for the gym totally shot and I find there is little point trying to increase strength, mass etc in a exhausted state. As I am doing gym work as an adjunct to my MA training, the MA training takes priority, everything else is performed on a "best endevours" basis.