Can You Do Bodybuilding And MMA At The Same Time? 🏋️🤼

Bodybuilding and MMA (mixed martial arts) are intense sports requiring a great deal of energy and stamina to perform. While bodybuilding promotes and increases strength, which improves your chances against the opponent in a match, increased size is often thought to diminish the effects of speed and MMA results. There are important exercises that can enhance both sports’ effectiveness, so synergistically, they are more than the sum of their parts.

You can do bodybuilding and MMA at the same time. With proper strength training and bodybuilding exercises are practiced, they can enhance and improve the outcome of your MMA performance. The key in balancing both sports depends on the techniques used to gain the maximum effect for each.

Which types of bodybuilding training techniques are best to apply for the best outcome in your MMA matches? Focusing on specific parts of the body for extensive training also makes a significant difference in your performance. Read on to determine which methods will improve your game and give you the advantage against your opponent.

Focus on Conditioning Muscles With Weight-Lifting

Bodybuilding with heavyweights maximizes the body’s muscle development, which results in building strength and power in your punch when you fight. When you deadlift, this prompts the body’s immune system to recruit muscle fibers to develop in response, which is how the building process works to increase strength. This process creates a physically appealing appearance, which is a significant advantage and goal of bodybuilders.

It’s essential to work your way towards heavier weights at your own pace, only completing a full set of repetitions when you can do so without compromising your performance. Pushing or lifting weights too heavy for your fitness level can risk injury when your body is not accustomed to it. Try the following steps when practicing a set of repetitions:

  • Focus on your form and repetitions. Are you aiming for 30 or more reps? Keep that number in mind and use the bar first, without weights, to ensure your form is correct. This practice will prepare you for reps using light weights, then add five or ten pounds in between sets, increasing the weight until you can lift in the same form. If a certain level impacts consistency, decrease by five or ten pounds to accomplish the lift correctly. 
  • Increase the weight when you can maintain the same form. This allows you to benefit from the type of lift with consistency as you go heavier. 
  • Go heavier with fewer reps. Increasing weights with fewer repetitions gives you the maximum power your body needs to build muscle. Like higher reps, this process should be done in stages to condition your body to handle heavier weights over time.
  • Prioritize resistance training. The most advantage you’ll gain from bodybuilding is by focusing on resistance, as this sharpens not only your strength but also your speed and flexibility. You can practice this exercise with any size of weight to start, depending on your level.

These exercises aim to improve the level of “explosive” strength or power in your body, so your next kick or punch will have maximum force. High impact intensity training, or training with intense cardio alternating with heavy lifting, will build your muscles quickly and provide the benefits you want to see within a shorter period.

Building Specific Areas of Your Body With Weightlifting

There are parts of your body that can improve performance in MMA matches with the right strength training. For example, while your arms, legs, and torso require toning and training for increased strength, your hips provide the torque needed to deliver high-impact kicks, punches, and blocks in your MMA techniques.

The core of your body is where power is delivered through strikes and kicks, making it a must to tone and strengthen with resistance exercises.

Performing Lifts Using the “Clean and Jerk” Method

By toning the core and hips, you will exert more force with each technique, improving both speed and impact. One of the most powerful lifting techniques for MMA is the “clean and jerk,” which requires the full body to coordinate with each lift, tightening the core, shoulders, abdominals, chest, and back with each step. 

This move is made in a squatting position to center the body and strengthen stability while the lift is made in a clean, jerk motion in the following steps:

  • Grab the bar with both hands, placing them evenly apart. Your body should be in a squat position before the lift.
  • Lift the bar to hip level as you rise to stand, maintaining feet shoulder-width apart
  • Keeping your legs slightly bent, lift the bar to shoulder level, then adjust your grip to pull the bar (and weights) over your head
  • Once the bar is extended above, hold this position for at least two or three seconds before bringing it down and returning to a squat to finish.

This technique can be completed with dumbbells or kettlebells with slight modifications to achieve the same lift. The squat, raising the weights to your hips, then to your shoulders, and overhead are repeated in the same manner to provide the best results. If you’re new to this type of weight training, practice with the bar first before adding weights.

Squats With Weights

Kettlebells and dumbbells are excellent for strengthening the upper body while squatting and improving the power in your legs, hips, and back. Squats can be performed without weights with 30 or more reps or with moderate to heavier weights and ten or fewer reps per set:

  • To prepare for your squat lift, stand with your feet shoulder-length apart.
  • Hold the dumbbells just above your shoulders, or if you choose a kettlebell, position at your chest, and lower your body into a squat, placing your weight on the back (or heels) of your feet.
  • As your body descends, keep your back straight to avoid injury, then return to stand and repeat.

Once you become comfortable with the squats, you can raise weights above your head as part of the movement or hinge at the hips and lower the weight for a fuller, extended action overall. 

Performing Additional Lift Techniques To Build Strength and Improve MMA Training

Other forms of weight training and lifting to improve your MMA performance include lunges with weights held on each side of your body, deadlifts, and upper body arm raises with dumbbells. When starting any lift style, maintain a straight back and balanced body weight, so you can maximize the benefits of improving strength while avoiding unnecessary pulled muscles or potential injury. 

Bodybuilding is an effective way to improve your body’s core strength for MMA, making it imperative to combine this form of exercise with other resistance training and cardio. These techniques will provide optimal results, as they focus on the body’s core areas, where your power and strength will propel your arms, shoulders, and legs to perform at their best during MMA sparring and drills.

Final Thoughts

Bodybuilding is a rewarding form of exercise that benefits people of all ages and levels. By performing lifts and techniques with various weights safely and carefully, you’ll notice the impact of weight training on your MMA skills.

It is also essential to allow for at least one day of recovery in between workout sessions so that your muscles have a chance to rest. Alternating between MMA sparring, drills, HIIT (high-intensity impact training), cardio, and bodybuilding will give you the best well-rounded advantage in achieving your best on fight night.

MMA Strength & Conditioning: Guide to Building a Fighter
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MMA Strength & Conditioning: Guide to Building a Fighter
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Daru, Phil "Bam Bam" (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

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