How to Get in Shape For MMA - Ultra MMA

How to Get in Shape For MMA

Mixed Martial Arts is a tough sport, and it requires fitness and strength as well as good technique.

If you are planning to take part in an Ultra MMA event there is a specific 8-week training period before the event takes place. During this, you will have 2 or 3 lessons per week which will be based around BJJ, boxing and kickboxing. You will naturally get fitter during these sessions but if you can start the 8-week course already fit you will be able to take full advantage of all the training sessions because you will be fit enough to spend the entire session training.

Ultra MMA bouts are 3 x 2-minute rounds so that’s what you need to be fit for. You don’t need to be going on 60-minute jogs to get you fit to fight for 8 minutes. We would always recommend starting your training before the 8-week FREE period if possible (but if you don’t its fine as you will be fairly matched) and you should certainly be doing more than just the free sessions once training starts.

In this blog we are going to give you some basic tips on how to train and more importantly how to recover to ensure that you can train hard and get super fit.


Make it short and sharp – Aim for 20 minute max sessions, if you only have 10 minutes free then do a 10 minute session but do it harder than you would usually. Remember to add on a warm-up and cool down and if your sessions are short they must be hard. You can visit our YouTube channel for sample workouts that are easy to follow with or without equipment.

Here are some tips on how to put a session together:

EMOM – Every-Minute-On-the-Minute. This is a great way to train intensely and could be for example, minute one 15 burpees/minute 2 20 squats. Start your timer and do the 15 burpees, the faster you do them the more rest you get, as soon as the timer hits 1 minute start your 20 squats, the sooner you do them the more rest you will get. You could then repeat this 5 times as an example. This approach can involve any exercises and any range of time, just make sure it’s hard.

Everyone will have a different fitness level so its important to pick a number of reps that’s appropriate to your fitness level, you should find it hard. Record your numbers each week and try to progress by beating them.

For time – Pick a set of exercises and simply do them as fast as you can. As you become more experienced you will have a good idea of how long a session will take and you will be able to plan them accurately. Different to an EMOM because you will effectively not get any total rest in this one, that means you may pace yourself a little. You could do something that you think will take 20 minutes, or something you think will take 2 minutes followed by a 30 second rest. Mix it up to keep it interesting and constantly challenge yourself.

AMRAP – As-Many-Rounds-As-Possible, this is similar to the For Time workout, where you will work constantly through the time period. Pick a set of movements and then do it as many times as you can in your set training time.

Work/rest periods – 20 second work / 10 seconds rest or 2 minutes work / 30 seconds rest. You can mix these up in almost any manner, if you are working hard it will make you fitter.

It’s good to mix the above methods up in different session because they all make you work differently and will all have slightly different benefits. On every session, you MUST warm-up and cool down.

There are lots of sample sessions over on the Ultra YouTube channel that you can easily follow and do almost anywhere.


This is just as important as the training, the better you can recover the harder you can train so you absolutely must make efforts to recover well. Here are some key tips:

Nutrition – Eat a natural, balanced diet that is high in protein aiming for 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight. For example, if you are 80kg you should consume 160g of protein a day.

Mobility – Mobility plays a key role in MMA so you must keep on top of it, it will also help reduce your chances of injury. You can follow a mobility workout here on Ultra YouTube channel.

Stretching – In the free sessions, the coaches will take you through stretches during your cool down. When you train on your own its important to always stretch after your session, follow our YouYube stretching sessions here.

Sleep – Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night, this is the best time for your body to recover. You can choose to watch some more Netflix or get some extra rest so that you recover better, in turn, will mean you can train harder.

Active recovery sessions – Once a week do a long steady session, going for a walk is ideal, it will help you to de-stress and relax as well as helping to flush waste products from your body. These recovery sessions can be longer sessions and should not be overly difficult.

Training and recovery go hand in hand, train hard and recover well and you will be able to train more and therefore get fitter, it is a simple process to stick to. Stick to it for 8 weeks and it will change your life.

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1 thought on “How to Get in Shape For MMA

  1. Great list of exercises, and thanks for the handy link to the YouTube channel! Fitness is really important in MMA, because even if you theoretically know all the best techniques, if you don’t have the body power or speed to execute, you wouldn’t last 30 seconds in a bout. Bouts test your endurance, strength, power, speed; these are all things a fighter needs to train for even outside the ring. Awesome tips on the different styles you can do for the training. For rush days I like EMOM and AMRAP the most. They pack the biggest punches in the quickest window possible. Will be sharing this with my MMA buds. Thanks!

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