How Often Should You Train in MMA?


MMA is an intense and rigorous sport that requires years of time, sweat, and dedication to excel. As with any sport, the more time and effort you put into your training, the better and more skilled you will be. However, MMA demands a lot out of your body and it is important to not overdo your training. So, how often should you train in MMA?

How Often Should You Train in MMA?

Three times a week is the minimum frequency at which you should train. The amount of time you train also depends on what stage in your MMA career you are in. For beginners, three times a week is a good starting point to get acclimated to the physicality, but more experienced fighters train more.

So, whether you are new to MMA or you have been doing it for some time and are looking for some advice on how to train properly, this article will have the answers for you. Remember, the more time and effort you put into something, the better you will get at it, but you also need to make sure to not burn yourself out. Read on to learn more about training for MMA and how often you should do it.

How Often Should You Train MMA as a Beginner?

Training three times a week is a great starting point for beginners. Every MMA fighter starts somewhere and regardless of the martial arts or fighting disciplines you originally come from, nothing can prepare you for the physicality of MMA as a whole. Fighters who get into MMA want to train every day, but it is not that easy.

Three times a week is the minimum amount you should train if you want to see steady progress over a short amount of time. If you train less than three times a week, you run the risk of getting rusty and possibly losing interest in the sport as a whole. Aside from the developmental aspect, three training sessions a week is good for acclimation.

Rigorous training sessions will leave your body sore regardless of what sport you play, but when you factor in the physicality of MMA, it takes your soreness to a new level. Beginners can also consider alternating between two to three days a week if they feel they need more time to get their bodies to adjust to this new sport and training routine. 

Beginners who want to ramp up their training from the start and do more than two to three training sessions a week should consider practicing different disciplines throughout the week. For example:

  • Martial arts one day
  • Kickboxing another day
  • Some form of grappling or wrestling the third day

This will put less stress on your body as you go forward.

Is It OK to Train MMA Every Day?

Yes, you can train MMA every day without having to worry about serious injury or stress on your body. However, this will take time and patience to achieve. Fighters who have been training for years tend to have no problem training every day, especially when they are scheduled to fight soon.

Although it is okay to train every day, fighters should also consider taking one of those training days lightly. A light training day can be thought of as an active rest day. It is designed to keep you active and keep your body moving while also giving it a chance to heal from the effects and wear and tear of the previous high-intensity training days.

MondayFull training (Jiu-Jitsu/Takedown defense)
TuesdayFull training (Striking/Defense/Cardio)
WednesdayFull training (Wrestling/Grappling)
ThursdayLite training (Cardio and Technique)
FridayFull training (Jiu-Jitsu/Takedown/Defense)
SaturdayFull training (Striking/Wrestling)
SundayLite training (Carido/Recovery/Technique)

The chart above is an example of what the schedule of a fighter who trains every day of the week should look like. The disciplines and focus points of the fighter’s training will vary, but it is important to take time to sharpen all of your skills and stay fresh with your fighting techniques, defenses, and cardio as you go along. 

The closer you are to a fight day, the more you should look to balance your training between high-intensity and recovery days. Although it is okay to train every day, you must also listen to your body and consider your health so that you do not burn yourself out and suffer a setback that will only hurt the progress you have made so far. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Good at MMA?

As with most sports, it takes years of practice to get good at MMA. However, the years vary in MMA depending on how much experience you have in another fighting style of discipline. For example, a third-degree blackbelt in jiu-jitsu will go into their MMA training with an advantage over others. 

Aside from your fighting background, the amount of time you put into training matters as well. The mixed martial artist that trains six to seven days a week will likely develop faster than the one that trains three to four days. If you live, breathe, eat, and sleep MMA, you will eventually become very good at it. 

A fighter who goes into MMA with no previous experience should expect to have to train for up to five years before they can say they have mastered the sport. Even when a fighter puts in all those hours, the key is to continue to train and get better every day because even if you are good at the sport, someone is training to be better. 

Fighters that come in with solid experience and a strong background in an MMA-related discipline can expect to feel good about their MMA skills within the first two years. It is also important to remember that these timelines will not match everyone’s journey. Some fighters may take less time and some may take more.  

How Often Do Pro MMA Fighters Train?

Every fighter is different, but when a pro fighter is in their fight camp, meaning they are preparing for an upcoming fight, they tend to train 20 to 24 hours a week over the course of five to six days. This training schedule often sees fighters train two to three times a day focusing on different aspects of their game. 

The amount of training an MMA fighter does also depends on where they are in their career. Active fighters tend to fight once every four to six months, which usually results in two to three fights per calendar year. After a fight, fighters tend to take some time off to heal and recover from the effects of the training camp and fight. 

Once the mini-vacation is over, you can expect most pro fighters to gradually increase their training as the months go by and they prepare for their next fight. Although the training sounds rigorous, it is important to know that fighters do camp differently from one another all the time. Many focus on cardio and technique rather than fighting. 

One example of a UFC fighter that has a unique training program is Max Halloway who recently removed sparring from his training camp sessions. Max sees this as a way to keep his body fresh, although many need it for striking and defense. Professional fighters know what is best for their body and they focus their training around it. 

Conclusion

There is no one clear-cut answer as to how often you should train MMA because it all depends on where you are in your MMA career. Beginners should start off with three sessions and look to gradually increase, while professionals should look to do whatever it will take to propel them to higher levels of success within the sport. 

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