Whether you’re a UFC fan, an aspiring MMA fighter or you simply want to look like one, you could add certain exercises to your workout to put you right on track with regards to any of the above. Working out could be fun, it doesn’t always have to seem like a task. And it should hardly feel like work if you were to take on a regimen designed by a pro fighter, which is why UFC veteran middleweight Chris Camozzi let us in on his workout early last year.
Of course, you could find a number of MMA-designed workouts online but this one could be among the best as you don’t necessarily need any equipment to get put through your paces. The workout below is specifically made to mimic the changes in heart rate MMA fighters experience during bouts.
Let’s get right to it.
Jumping rope is one of the most respected cardio exercises out there. Constant jump rope workouts could go a long way in keeping your entire body in shape, as well as building stamina. The exercise combines cardio with agility, speed, and coordination. You might not be that great at skipping, to begin with, but it will come to you with repetition – you could also check out these great tips.
As simple as it might look, jumping rope is pretty high intensity and you’d do well to pace yourself properly. Camozzi suggests five single-minute rounds with a minute of rest between sets for beginners.
“You want it to be difficult, but it shouldn’t be so hard that it ends your workout,” he advises. “Find the balance based on what your fitness level is when starting out.”
After your rope exercise, take a quick break, drink some water and get into the next phase of the workout: shadowboxing. While an optional exercise, we’d recommend taking it up right after.
Shadowboxing is pretty simple, all you have to do is spar with an imaginary partner. You should make this as active as you can and not stay in one spot; pretend you’re moving around a ring, bobbing, weaving, throwing punch combinations, feints, and the like.
Footwork is a very important part of this exercise.
“You will feel it in your legs after the shadowboxing, and that’s what we want,” Camozzi explains. “Picture yourself in the ring fighting. No dropping your hands or walking around and throwing a combo here and there.”
The veteran usually goes through two or three five-minute rounds of very fast shadow boxing but, as mentioned above, you could skip it if you so desire. If you opt to partake, then try going for a similar sequence.
This consists of more high-intensity bag work but broken into 30-minute rounds. You’d complete this one by punching as fast as you can for 30 seconds then resting for the next 30 before kicking for another 30 followed by another 30-second rest. Repeat this three times.
This is also optional as you might not have a bag. So definitely go for shadow boxing if that’s the case. The UFC pro’s bag routine is made up of three five-minute rounds with one-minute rest periods in between. Each of the rounds is focused on something different.
“I like to start with one, 5-minute round of just boxing, hands only. This should be done at a high pace with a high volume of punches,” Camozzi notes. “A lot of times I’ll throw three- to four-punch combos fast, making one of those punches as hard as I can. It’s good to change up the rhythm.”
Camozzi’s second round consists of kneeing and kicking movements, as he deviates from straight boxing.
“I kick low, high, and mid-range, and often double-up my kicks—meaning I throw a left kick, left kick, one after the other as fast as possible,” he adds. “I also mix up high and low. I might throw a low left kick immediately followed by a high right kick.”
The third round is where he puts it all together.
“No throwing single strikes!” Camozzi encourages. “I throw all combos and mix up speed and power throughout the round. High, low, hard, fast, double up strikes, burn those muscles and lungs.”
You could rest after every round but Camozzi uses the rest time to do crunches or situps with his legs wrapped around the bag.
For the fittest of the fit and the real MMA enthusiasts, the burnout phase is next. If you’re the latter and perhaps into betting, it’s worth noting that the bookmakers do offer odds on UFC fights.
You can round off the workout with other core exercises such as push-ups, crunches, planks, twists, and leg lifts.