Efficient training is important because it allows us to maximize the benefits we receive from every minute we have to train.
There are many pieces of gear that will enhance your ability to train more often and more effectively. There are also several new exercise methods made possible by pieces of equipment that are specially designed to develop muscles in the precise way they are used in MMA.
Today we will be discussing the best pieces of gear that you can use to optimize your training sessions and become the best Mixed Martial Artist you can be.
BJJ Grip Training
One of the most overlooked muscle groups in the body are the grip muscles in the hands and forearms. Grip strength is incredibly valuable in MMA, BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and any form of martial arts that involves potentially grabbing a hold of your opponent.
Having a strong grip is emphasized in many martial arts schools because it allows you to control your opponent’s arms, legs, and neck.
A powerful squeeze will give you the ability to finish submissions more often, where as a weak grip will allow your opponent the opportunity to escape from certain positions.
Grip training can be approached in a variety of ways. Deadlifts, pull-ups and sparing BJJ will all train your grip, but targeting your grip specifically is the best way to improve your squeeze.
Dozens of devices have been designed to exercise your hands and forearms, but unsurprisingly they are largely ineffective for MMA purposes.
The Jits Grips BJJ Grip Trainer is an innovative product designed to simulate realistic grip resistance for training your hands to have as vicelike squeeze.
This piece of gear can be hung from pullup bars, branches, or anything sturdy enough to support your body weight, as well as kettle bells, barbells or any other piece of weight lifting equipment.
It uses two pieces of BJJ gi material as grips and has a removable elastic band connecting the two ends. Pull-ups on a bar are a great exercise, and pull-ups on rings are even better, but nothing will strengthen your grip like pull-ups on gi material.
Normally, it takes decades to develop black belt level grip, but with this device you will have an unbreakable grip in no time.
Oxygen Restriction Training
Elevation masks, altitude trainers and V02 max training devices are all ways to carry out oxygen restriction training.
Oxygen restriction training is meant to trick your body into becoming more efficient at absorbing and utilizing oxygen during metabolic functions.
Essentially, oxygen restriction training is meant to train your cardiovascular system to be so good at absorbing oxygen that it can perform at a high level even when air is restricted, so that in the fifth round of an MMA fight your cardio is still solid and you can continue to push the pace on your opponent.
Former UFC heavy weight champion Bas Rutten is an advocate of oxygen restriction training and has even started producing his own oxygen restriction mask called the Bas Rutten 02 Altitude Trainer.
This mask is top of the line and can help increase the rate at which you improve your cardio!
Blood Flow Restriction Training
One of the most recently released and unusual training gadgets is the blood flow restriction trainer. This device is similar to a tourniquet in that it wraps around the muscle belly and reduces the flow of blood through the target region.
Studies have shown that this type of training can actually increase muscle growth and muscular endurance. The biological mechanism responsible for the enhanced conditioning is similar to that of oxygen restriction training.
The reduced blood flow through the region forces muscles to become more efficient with the available nutrients in that region of the body, so when full blood flow is restored they can then generate even greater output.
Owens Recovery Science is a team of medical professionals who have tested blood flow restriction training effects on rehabilitation, hypertrophic muscle growth, muscular endurance, and strength gains.
The results are absolutely astounding and I highly recommend you check out what they have to say at:
And if you're interested in getting started with Blood Flow Restriction training, check out the Kaatsu-Inspired BFR training bands here!
Custom MMA Mouthpiece
A mouthpiece is a must for any kind of martial arts sparring whether it be BJJ or Muay Thai Kickboxing, but make sure you get one that molds to your mouth!
We have come a long way since the old school rubber mouthpieces which now belong in a museum. Heat molded custom MMA mouthpieces will help protect your teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue from getting damaged by a blow to the jaw.
Do not be the guy missing his front teeth because he was too cheap to shell out $20 for a decent mouthpiece. This piece of equipment will save you thousands in the long run, regardless of how good or bad your dental coverage is.
Get a mouthpiece, mold it to your teeth and wear it every time you spar. One of the most reputable brands of mouth MMA mouthpieces is Venum.
The Venum Challenger is a custom MMA mouthpiece that will protect your mouth and look cool to boot.
Grappling Ear Guard
Grappling ear guards are totally optional until you get your first case of cauliflower ear. Then you'll be glad they exist so that you don't need to take a month off from BJJ or wrestling to let your ears recover from being drained.
Nowadays they make some very sophisticated headgear for grappling. Grappling ear guards will keep your cauliflower ear from getting worse, and will let you keep training as you heal.
The Cliff Keen grappling ear guard is going to be your best bet as it is patented and has been tested by thousands of grapplers.
It is not absolutely necessary to always wear grappling ear guards, but you'll be glad you have a pair when your ear swells up!
BJJ Gi Brands
In the MMA community there is a huge emphasis on learning BJJ. Everyone who has watched the early UFC fights knows that this martial art gives smaller guys and advantage when fighting bigger stronger opponents.
When you first start learning BJJ you will almost always be required to take in-gi classes in addition to your no-gi or MMA Jiu Jitsu classes.
This is the more traditional form of the martial art, and it is actually more pragmatic in a self-defense setting, as most attackers are generally wearing clothes.
The best BJJ gi brands are always being challenged as better materials and designs are introduced to the marketplace, but there are a few brands that are so innovative they made the list of MMA gadgets and gizmos.
Adding extra material in the seat and underarms of the gi has been a great change allowing for more flexibility. Extra stitching and stronger fabrics make these new Gi styles sturdier. A good gi is a solid investment and it is worth it to get something you love when you start training BJJ.
One brand named Origin Maine is making waves in the BJJ community by offering truly innovative gi styles, and making them in the United States.
Not only are the materials extremely high quality, but they sourced and woven by workers being paid a fair wage.
The Gi jackets and pants made by Origin Maine have subtle changes that yield drastic results on the mats making it in my opinion the best BJJ Gi brand.
These gadgets and gizmos will enhance your strengths, but true development comes from consistent training.
Whether you train MMA or any of the arts from which MMA evolved, make sure you are training your heart out. Then, when you are ready to turn things up a notch get yourself some top level gear.