The MMA Workout
Chris Reilly was a pro MMA fighter for more than a decade. Today, he coaches athletes at his Southern California gym, Legends MMA. Jumping rope, he says, is almost always involved in daily workouts. “Jump rope is essential to fight training as it incorporates so many of the elements fighters are attempting to master: conditioning, timing, hand-eye-foot coordination, and the mental focus to access these elements at the same time,” Reilly says.
He likes this particular workout because it includes form and strength work, but finishes with several hard rounds of jumping to challenges muscles when the body is already fatigued. And be warned, this hour-long workout will leave you spent.
Warm up with three rounds of three minutes of jumping, one minute easy jumping. Also, Reilly gives this hint: “The rope is very thin, don’t jump any higher than you need to in order to clear the rope as it passes under your feet.”
Next, do three rounds of shadow boxing, three minutes on, then one minute easy. Reilly suggests using a mirror so you can check your form while practicing and he says to focus on rhythm, timing, and your biomechanics, not power. If you haven’t shadow boxed before, watch this quick introduction.
Now do three rounds of three minutes hard, one minute easy with a heavy punching bag. Alternate between punching, kicking, kneeing, and elbow striking the bag. Reilly says to add in combos, which challenge both the mind and major and minor muscle groups.
Now follow the heavy bag with this strength progression:
3 sets of 10-20 pushups, varying your arm position to work different muscle groups on each set.
3 of your max pull-up reps.
3 sets of your max bar or ring dips.
Finish with five rounds of jumping rope, again going three minutes hard, one minute easy. This time, focus on speed, timing, and footwork. Really push yourself here, and if you want to add in tricks, now is the time to do it. If you’re not sure where to start, spin the rope faster, jump higher, and throw in double unders.
Cool down with a few minutes of easy recovery work and stretching.
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