Now that MMA’s popularity has exploded worldwide, it is amazing to realize that it’s essentially only 17 years old. MMA is young, brash, and impulsive, just like a teenager gone wild. And, as we also know about most 17 year olds, they often think they know everything, they don’t always listen to reason, and they make a lot of mistakes.
In the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of MMA, however,there is not a lot of room for mistakes. With the growing stable of world-class fighters, a loss here or there on a fighter’s record can mean the difference between fighting in the big show or a gymnasium sideshow. Mishaps in training can lead to those record blemishes that keep a fighter from reaching his potential.
Below are the 7 Deadly Sins that fighters regularly commit in training. If you want to go to the big show, add some more wins to your record, or extend the length of your career, don’t be a sinner.
1. NO TAPER
Ever-increasing training intensity is not the answer as a fight approaches. Yes, MMA is tough, but that doesn’t mean that every workout as a fight nears should border on complete exhaustion. There has to be a taper period and undulating intensity to allow the body to respond.
2. NO RECOVERY
A training response is all about recovery. Being involved with MMA does not give fighters a license to train for five hours a day, seven days a week. Fighters make physical gains from training when they rest. One to three days per week should be spent recovering from the brutal training common in MMA.
3. NO ATTENTION TO DIET/WEIGHT LOSS
Many fighters think that hard training is an excuse to eat a poor diet. This is a recipe for defeat, especially when extreme weight-cutting is involved during the week of the fight. Constant attention to proper diet and a structured weight-loss plan leading up to a fight are critical components of a healthy training camp.
4. NO FOCUS ON WEAKNESSES
Everyone likes to work on his physical strengths. The challenge is getting fighters to work on their weaknesses. Most fighters know their own weaknesses, however, most don’t work to turn their deficiencies into strengths. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Working on weaknesses can prevent letdowns and injuries.
5. NO PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. If there is no testing of physical attributes during training, there is no way to recognize if improvements are being made or if the training is beneficial. Putting objective physical tests into weekly training will let fighters know if they are getting better or worse.
6. NO EMPHASIS ON RESULTS
Fighters and trainers often value soreness and fatigue more than actual results. Many fighters don’t have a training plan created around definitive goals or objectives for the training cycle. Anyone can beat themselves up and make themselves sore. Not everyone remembers that training is supposed to be about results.
7. NO REHAB
MMA fighters are tough and they can perform through the pain.This does not mean it is the correct approach to training. If there is an injury present, proper rehabilitation must take place to protect the fighter for both the next fight and the future. Everyone gets injured, but not everyone rehabilitates appropriately.
As MMA continues to fight to the forefront of professional sport, fighters have to enhance their physical preparation, diet, rehabilitation, and philosophy—just like professional athletes of other sports. Avoiding the 7 Deadly Sins will help put mixed martial artists on the track to success.
For more than a decade, strength and conditioning coach Martin Rooney has prepared hundreds of fighters for the UFC, Pride, ADCC, IFL, and the Olympics, including multiple UFC, Pride FC, and IFL champions. For more information, visit his website: www.trainingforwarriors.com.