Look around and you’ll see strong, empowered women in nearly every sport now. The rise of women in athletics over the last decade has been astounding, and it doesn’t just pertain to the world of sports anymore.
Women across the world are increasing their level of fitness. Today women are encouraged to have a fit physique and have the ability to kick butt; one way to achieve both of these is to get started in mixed martial arts (MMA).
This may sound intimidating at first but reread that first paragraph. Getting started in MMA should be seen as a challenge that can increase your fitness and overall abilities; it is a way to build self-esteem, self-protection and confidence; MMA is a way for women to empower themselves with their bodies.
If you have a good MMA gym around you, your instructor will focus on these things. They will show you how to use your body to defend yourself, to increase your fitness and natural abilities, and along the way with build your confidence in you. Being in the ring isn’t the only thing needed to get started in MMA thought. Below we discuss the top training tips for women getting started in MMA to jump start your training and boost your overall power output.
For those women getting started in MMA, your workouts are going to be comprised of quick intense bursts of energy followed by periods of rest. This basic idea is referred to as high-intensity interval training (HIIT); it is a form of training that taxes the anaerobic muscular system and aerobic cardiovascular endurance system, giving you an all-around workout.
When you aren’t rolling on the mat or practising your kicks you should try to incorporate interval training, HIIT, wherever you can. This can be done via running, cycling, swinging a kettle, punching a bag, or any form of high energy movement. Start with 10 rounds of 30s intervals giving max effort and keeping rest to a minute or less between round. When you’re able to breeze through this (while still giving maximal effort) start increasing the work interval and decreasing the rest interval.
The results of HIIT will amaze you.
If you’re up for pushing yourself, even more, check out fat-melting HIIT workout below 👇
MMA requires strength in the upper body, lower body, and of course the core. The easiest way to increase strength is through weight training and a concept that is referred to as progressive overload. Progressive overload is the practice of performing the same weighted movements each week but increasing the weight by a small percentage.
For those women out there getting started in MMA some lifts you should be incorporating into your training are back squats, deadlifts, and bench press. These are your main lifts that can be used every week under progressive overload. You do not have to start heavy but if you can squat 85 lbs for a set of 5 repetitions with proper form your first week, try to go for 90 lbs your second week (always make sure your form is correct before increasing weight).
This increase of weight breaks down the muscle tissue in small degrees and leads to muscular hypertrophy or the increase in muscular size and density. Small increases in weight continuously challenge the muscle to grow bigger and stronger, thus increasing your power and strength week after week. Remember to get enough protein in your diet to help those muscles recover quicker.
Outside of the main lifts also incorporate 3-4 accessory lifts with each workout, such as lunges, dips, any core exercise, toe raises, hamstring curls, tricep extensions, bicep curls, or any other lift that challenges the smaller muscle groups of the core and limbs.
To be quick with your punches, kicks, and blocks incorporate plyometric training. Every muscle in the body is composed of various fibers. These fibers can be split into two categories: fast-twitch fibers and slow-twitch fibers. You can guess what a woman getting started in MMA wants.
The fibers within your muscles can be trained to be either fast or slow-twitch fibers (to an extent, part of this is also genetic). To increase fast-twitch fiber volume, and to increase the reaction time of these fibers, incorporate plyometrics into your MMA training.
Plyometrics are any form of explosive and repetitive movements. Common plyometric drills include box jumps, jump rope, speed ladder drills, single-leg hops, lateral work (shuffling, karaokes, or sideways jumps), bag work, and burpees. These are even great movements to incorporate into your HIIT workouts to double down on the training efforts.
Last but not least, women starting in MMA should practice the basic combos found in Muay Thai. Practicing these will increase your speed, muscular endurance (if practiced during a HIIT workout), precision (when practiced on a bag), and power output. Try incorporating the following:
- Straight right to the body + left hook + right low kick
- Left jab + right cross + left jab + right hook to the body
- Right cross + left elbow + right short hook + right elbow
- Jab + cross + left hook + left elbow + right knee
- Left kick to the body + right cross + left jab + right kick to the body
These combos will develop the basic strikes of any MMA fighter and will allow the beast inside of you to power up.
Check out UFC Women’s Featherweight champion Amanda Nunes demonstrate some advanced drills during an open workout for UFC 224 below 👇
Being a fit individual isn’t just for men anymore. Women are the next big powerhouse rising in the world, and there’s no stopping it. The presence of women in sports and gyms is prevalent everywhere. If you have an MMA gym close to you we encourage you to go in watch a class and see for yourself the type of power you can harness as women.
If there isn’t a gym close by, or you just want to supplement your MMA training, follow along with the tips above. Create an empowered confident woman who can kick butt by getting started in mixed martial arts training today.