With UFC 129 coming up soon, everyone is getting very excited about seeing Georges St. Pierre take on Josh Koscheck. What we will see on August 30th is two of the best conditioned athletes in any sport clashing in the center of the cage.
One of the most common questions we get, both here at HMF, and myself personally, is, “Will an MMA workout make me look like a fighter?”
Well, the short and simple answer is, no, it won’t, but there are specific reasons an MMA workout won’t give you a fighter’s body.
It’s also important to understand that there are several things the average fitness enthusiast can take from the MMA training tool box to get in better shape.
We will be talking about both of those things here.
It seems almost elementary to talk about genetics when talking about a guy like GSP, but it does deserve a quick mention. George St. Pierre’s body is genetically predetermined. He is built a certain way, with a certain muscular shape, and the only way to get that same look is to jump in a time machine, head back in time, and be born of his parents.
If you don’t have access to a good reliable time machine, you’re pretty much shit out of luck, sorry.
“Looking like” Georges St. Pierre is pretty much not going to happen, so just go ahead and get that out of your head right now.
Understanding MMA Training
Here’s another little secret. MMA fighters do NOT train as hard in the weight room as body builders, power lifters, or even football players.
Why? They can’t.
MMA fighters need their training to help facilitate their skill training. If they went in there and blasted it as hard as say, Branch Warren does, they would not have any juice left to get in the ring and train. Their goal is not to look great on stage but to perform in a fight. Their physique is just a by product of their training—not the goal itself.
They also have to be concerned with making a certain weight class. If you’re a fighter, and you mess around and put on 10 pounds of muscle in between fights, you just made your job a hell of a lot harder.
You don’t make weight, you don’t get paid. Simple.
Here’s the key concept here: MMA fighters train to be better fighters, not look good in a bikini. Keep that in mind.
What Can You Learn From MMA Training?
Good question, grasshopper.
A MMA fighter’s workout does have elements that you can steal and benefit from, even if you have no desire to put your pretty face in any danger.
1. Core Strength
MMA fighters like Georges St. Pierre have incredible core strength. They have to.
Take downs, punches, kicks, and throws, all require a tremendous amount of core power to be effective. If you have a weak core, you will get eaten alive.
2. Cardio Machines
Top flight MMA fighters put cardiovascular endurance at the top of the required skills list. If you can’t be as strong in the 5th round as you were in the 1st, you aren’t going to make it very far.
Take a look at our series of posts on interval training for some killer cardio routines, some of which came directly from my days in the ring.
3. Grip Strength
Grip strength is so overlooked in commercial gyms it makes me wonder if anyone can open the pickle jar anymore.
If your grip is lacking in strength, good luck controlling an opponent on the ground. If you can’t control your opponents on the ground, good luck winning very many fights.
4. Neck Strength
Fighters have to have strong necks. It helps you to defend chokes, and keeps your head from bouncing around like a tennis ball every time you get punched in the face.
Look at Georges St. Pierre’s neck…good luck putting a choke on that!
In the real world, a strong neck will help protect you from injury in sports, and hey, just looks freaking cool!
Believe it or not, the life of a MMA fighter is pretty boring. You wake up, train. Eat, train. Rest, train. Eat some more, train. Go to the chiropractor, train. Go to sleep, repeat.
That’s pretty much it. No parties. Very few dinners out, and you are constantly on a diet with restricted calories (unless you are a heavyweight, lucky bastards).
It’s not as glamorous as they would have you believe. To keep a fighter engaged, his trainers have to mix it up on a regular basis. A good MMA workout will have plenty of variety in it to keep a fighter progressing, and keep his head in the game.
So, the Georges St. Pierre workout will not have you looking like him, but take those fantastic elements from a good MMA workout and you can really make some progress