What Is The Best Cardio For MMA Fighters?

  • By: Robin
  • Last updated: May 9, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Many Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are among the world’s best-conditioned athletes. MMA sparring sessions are grueling and exhausting. Fighters in MMA must be able to perform for five rounds. You can bet that MMA competitors are exhausted by the end of a fight, with only one minute of rest time between rounds.

The importance of cardio in martial arts cannot be overstated. It improves the efficiency and capacity of your heart and lungs, allowing you to perform more consistently over time. When you find yourself exhausted before the round-timer goes off, the value of having adequate cardio becomes clear. When your petrol tank gets close to empty, no matter how good your technique is, it’s rapidly tossed out the window. This will create an unfavorable situation where you will have to battle sloppy, which is a harmful habit.

So, what do MMA fighters do to stay in top shape? There will be a lot of training, with cardio being the most important. An MMA fighter’s fitness plan includes cardio, strength training, and technical skill training.

Is MMA Training Good For Cardio?

MMA training is a very good training method for cardio development. For an MMA fighter, cardiovascular endurance is critical. Cardiovascular endurance, more than strength conditioning, keeps the body going during a match.

Martial arts are activities that improve stamina, endurance, and mental well-being. MMA has a direct impact on how much blood flows through your heart at any given time, in addition to being beneficial to the entire body. MMA increases your heart rate, allowing your heart to pump blood efficiently even while you are at rest. Your cardiovascular health improves as a result.

What Kind Of Cardio Does MMA Fighters Do?

Cardiovascular-Specific Fight Conditioning is the name for in-fight cardio training. To be in top shape, MMA athletes follow rigorous workout regimens. They practice various martial arts, including wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, and Boxing.

Exercises used in metabolic conditioning workouts burn many calories during the workout and maintain the body burning calories afterward. They usually involve the full-body, have short rest periods, and are designed to push your body to its limits while toning in order to develop strength and endurance.

For fighters, whole-body cardio is essential. Cardio that works the whole body can also be used for strength training. Another excellent technique to replicate what you could do in an MMA bout is to use your complete body.

best cardio for MMA

How To Build The Best Cardio For MMA

The best cardio machine for MMA is running. You must learn to enjoy running if you want to battle. Whether you enjoy running or not, having the right mindset can help you focus on the task at hand. Long-distance running and sprinting should ideally be included in your training.

Spinning is also a very good alternative to running, spinning is much better for your knees than running. See the best spinning cycle here.

Another best workout for MMA cardio is circuit training and high-intensity interval training, used in the UFC’s Performance Institute. It is one of the most effective methods for increasing stamina, suppleness, and strength. Indeed, studies demonstrate that it is the most time-effective technique to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. High-intensity upper-body, core, lower-body, and full-body aerobic workouts are common in circuit training. You must finish a certain number of repetitions or a set length of time before going on to the next exercise. Split the exercises with a brief rest interval or eliminate rest intervals entirely to enhance muscular endurance and cardio.

Other frequent MMA training tactics like jump rope, shadowboxing, and other sports like swimming and bicycling can help make cardio more enjoyable. It adds dimension and enhances physical and mental endurance when you mix it up.

How Much Cardio Should An MMA Fighter Do?

So, how much cardio do MMA fighters exercise regularly? There is no one-size-fits-all amount of cardio time for any athlete. Excessive cardio can cause tiredness and muscular failure and put a strain on the body’s aerobic system.

Ultimate fighting is a high-intensity sport requiring a wide range of physical abilities, including strength, power, flexibility, and a well-developed cardiovascular base. Designing a cardiovascular conditioning program to properly develop each system is required to compete in the octagon to better understand the body’s energy systems.


Is Running Good Cardio For MMA?

Long-distance running for MMA can help build a “base of cardio” and aid in weight loss. Your heart rate and blood flow increase as you run. It provides you with that extra push. Running helps to prepare your leg muscles so that they can sustain long hours of combat. Running uphill provides an important anaerobic component to aerobic exercises like jogging or running. It causes strong contractions in your leg muscles as they work against gravity, increasing your strength and endurance.

Sprint interval training is a popular workout for martial artists because it mimics the strong bursts of activity during training and competition. Sprinting helps you burn fat, strengthen your muscles, and improve your lung capacity, all of which are beneficial to your overall endurance. One of the most effective endurance-building techniques is alternating between fast and slow action.

Make sure you’re exercising at the maximal intensity with minimal rest time between sprints for best outcomes.


Many sports require a lot of cardio. Fighter with a good degree of conditioning can impose their will offensively and remain active on the ground. Furthermore, if a fighter’s conditioning is questionable, their defense will weaken, leaving openings to an opponent. It’s not pleasant to get wiped out in the middle of a round. Cardio and MMA are two activities that are inextricably linked. Adopting a challenging fitness routine will help you enhance your cardiovascular ability, allowing you to battle longer and stronger.

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