MMA Training Tip 2 – Self Assessment

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So yesterday, you should have gotten my first tip beginner MMA training. If not, take a look at why your form comes first in MMA training. Today, we’re going to talk about why you need to take a good hard look in the mirror before you get started. I’m not talking about a deep introspective spiritual experience, but hey, if it works, more power to you. What I’m referring to is checking your current abilities and fitness levels.

MMA Training Tip #2: Assess yourself

To know where you want to be, it’s important to know exactly where you are. Again, I’m not trying to come across as cryptic, spiritual, or metaphorical. I mean this in the most literal sense. You want to know exactly what your physical capabilities are. Endurance, strength, flexibility, body fat percentage, etc. All of these are important things to measure when beginning a new program. This gives you a platform to jump off of, and allows you to track your progress from the start. This is very important, and I will touch more on this tomorrow. We’ll assume that you are starting from scratch as far as technique, but understanding that you come in knowing nothing, and feeling confident that you will improve and learn new techniques daily is better than coming in with a closed mind or a preconceived notion of what you’re getting yourself into.

Flexibility is important to expand your range of motion and agility. Even if you don’t plan on throwing a big knockout kick (which just happens to be my favorite), flexibility is very important for several grappling and submission techniques, injury prevention, general mobility, staying light, and also to allow your muscles room to grow. Stretching is also important for correcting postural imbalances that could be stealing away some energy that you could be putting into your training. This is a whole different story that I will be doing another series on. But understanding the limitations of your range of motion is very important for your capabilities as a martial artist.

MMA Training KO Kick

Endurance is obviously an important for MMA conditioning, and for overall health and fitness. One way to measure endurance is to check your time running a mile, half, or quarter mile. These are all different levels of cardio endurance. Checking how many bodyweight squats, pushups or pullups you can do in good form is a test of muscular endurance. (Remember yesterday’s tip: never sacrifice form for an extra rep. It’s just cheating, and it doesn’t count.) Isometric strength is another test of endurance, but this can have some negative effects on performance due to the amount of muscle soreness it creates. If you plan on getting into the cage, 3 rounds at 3-5 minutes is a long time. Assessing these points will help you develop that long lasting endurance, and keep the knockout power up throughout all three rounds.

Strength can be measured a number of different ways for MMA training. First you have endurance as mentioned above. Then you also want to evaluate strength at a number of different rep ranges, and all the major movement groups. (Muscle groups and movement groups are not the same thing, as explained in this MMA Conditioning video series.) When measuring strength, you want to test base strength, endurance, and explosive power. Of course, you need to be able to keep your hands up at the end of the round, but what good will that endurance do if you can’t land a good solid punch? Developing LASTING power is just as important, so it is necessary to work these different levels of strength. Following a periodized program that addresses all these points is ideal.

Finally, body fat percentage is a very important stat because this determines who you will be fighting and training with. Remember, MMA fighters are grouped by weight classes. If you have a high body fat percentage, you are not operating at your ideal efficiency. Think of it like this: if you weighed 200 lbs, but could only bench 185, you are not as relatively strong as a guy weighing 170 but pushing the same amount. Body fat percentage has a direct inverse correlation to relative strength. In other words, the higher your body fat percentage is, the lower your relative strength is. Most MMA fighters get down to single digit body fat BEFORE they start cutting weight for a fight. Figure this out at the start of your training, and this will give you a good idea of where you need to be.

If you like what you read today, pass this article on to your friends, family members, or training partners and click the sharing buttons at the top of the page. Now that you are getting a good idea where you are, it’s important to figure out where you want to be. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when we’ll discuss goal setting for MMA training.

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