How often should MMA fighters lift?

In this article we’re going to cover training frequency; Specifically, we’ll cover how often an MMA fighter should engage in resistance training. But before we get too far into this, you should know that this is a very individualized question and it’s tricky to answer because I don’t know your training status. Despite this, there are several guidelines that will help us zero in on the resistance training frequency that’s right for you.

Read: Essential resistance training exercises for MMA fighters

To put this topic further in context we need to acknowledge that MMA specific skill development is the most important type of training you should be doing as a fighter– This must be done in the gym with your coach and training partners, hitting pads, rolling, and sparing. If you’re starting out in the sport, just fitting in a few MMA sessions per week may be difficult enough. But as your recovery improves you should have a conversation with your coaches about adding endurance and resistance training sessions. If they feel another training slot per week is better dedicated to MMA skill development, then you may need to wait before implementing our resistance and endurance training programs. But when the time comes, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s now assume you’re ready to incorporate resistance training workouts into your overall training program. The main guideline you should follow is this: Avoid training sore muscles. Muscle soreness should be taken as a sign that you’re not fully recovered. Continually training un-recovered muscles will lead to maladaptation and possibly overtraining. Consider taking another day off to give your muscles more time to recover, then hit them with a workout. In general, plan to take 1-3 days between resistance training sessions, but prioritize the first guideline. It’s also important to understand that 1 total body session per week can maintain fitness for short periods, but detraining will occur if that’s all you do. If you’ve been following our recommendations on exercise selection and exercise order, your training frequency should equate to about 2 to 3 whole-body resistance training sessions over 9 or 10 days.  

Read: How to order resistance exercises in a workout

Building an individualized training program from scratch can be daunting. If you’re looking for support, consider The MMA Training Bible’s Peak Performance guide, which removes a lot of the guesswork. We’ll take you through the step-by-step process to create your own plan, and I’ll provide guidance on when you should increase and decrease your training frequency in order to optimize your adaptation to training for fight day.

So, I hope you now have a good understanding of how to schedule your training frequency. Keep your eye out for other articles in our resistance training series – we cover topics ranging from how much weight you should train with, to how much rest you should take between sets – if they’re not up yet, they soon will be, so be sure to subscribe to the blog and you won’t miss a thing!

Take care,

Dr. Gillis


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *