Plyometrics for MMA is a great tool to add to your training arsenal, and will allow you to continue to progress and advance, in turn making you a better fighter day by day!
Getting the most out of your MMA training also requires a solid foundation of quality exercises. You’ll generally want to include a combination of strength training, cardio, and dynamic stretching.
But, there are other options.
Plyometrics training includes exercises where you perform explosive movements to rapidly go from a muscle extension to a muscle contraction.
This explosive movement, such as jumping, results in more resistance, giving your muscles a shock and forcing the contraction.
You’re basically increasing the intensity of aerobic activities to maximize impact.
The advantages of plyometrics are perfectly suited for MMA fighters. You’re continuing to improve your overall athleticism with a focus on both speed and strength.
Let's dive into plyometrics for MMA, including how to get started with plyometrics…
What are Plyometrics?
Plyometrics was originally referred to as the “shock method” in the late 1960s. It included a combination of simple and complex jumps.
Over the years, traditional bodyweight exercises have been modified to be included plyometrics routines. You now have squat jumps, plyometric pushups, and the lunge jump, among dozens of other plyometric exercises.
You might wonder about the benefits of plyometrics over traditional strength training
Strength training exercises, including bodyweight exercises and weight lifting, are focused primarily on muscle development. You’re lifting, pushing, or resisting weight to gain more muscle mass.
With plyometrics for MMA, you do incorporate strength building, but you also get tons of conditioning work in as well. You’re building more power by improving both your speed and strength.
The one thing that these plyometric exercises all have in common is the explosive movement to increase the impact of the exercise. Traditional strength training exercises are static while plyometrics keep you moving.
The basic idea is that plyometrics for MMA will help you build muscle faster than traditional bodyweight strength training exercises.
Your larger, stronger muscles require training through heavy lifting and explosive movements. Smaller muscles, referred to as slow-twitch muscle fibers, require a focus on endurance, rather than repetitive lifting.
Plyometrics allows you to target both sets of muscles, helping you increase both speed and strength.
Getting Started with Plyometrics
Getting started with plyometrics is easy. You don’t need to completely transform your existing workout routine. You can simply add a plyometrics circuit before or after your regular workout.
For example, if you already have a strength training routine going, you could add a short plyometrics routine before your regular workout. The explosive plyometrics exercises will get your blood pumping and warm you up for your regular routine.
This also works for your cardio routine. Before you go for a run, perform your plyometrics circuit.
Using Contrast Sets to Create Muscle Confusion
There are a couple of other options for adding plyometrics to your schedule. This includes the use of contrast sets.
With contrast sets, you’re confusing your muscles by switching from regular lifting sets with gym equipment to plyometric exercises that utilize the same muscle groups.
For example, you could perform barbell squats in the gym, followed by plyometric jump squats. This form of muscle confusion has been found to be effective for increasing muscle stimulation – you increase the efficiency of your workout.
To use contrast sets, perform your standard lifting set in the gym. Then, follow it with the plyometric routine that uses the same muscles. Create a list of the exercises that you perform in the gym. For each exercise, find a comparable plyometric exercise.
Performing a Complete Plyometric Circuit
The third option for adding plyometrics for MMA to your routine is to substitute one of your regular workouts for a complete plyometric circuit – or multiple circuits.
Once or twice per week, substitute your regular cardio session with 20 to 30-minutes of plyometrics.
Here are some example exercises that could be included in a basic plyometric circuit:
- Squat jumps
- Tuck jumps
- Lateral box jumps
- Depth jumps
- Medicine ball slam
- Jumping jacks
For a helpful solution for adding plyometrics to your routine, here is a short video from Live Lean TV. It includes a complete plyometric circuit, including ladder jumps and tuck jumps, and only takes about 20-minutes to complete:
Here is another option. You can follow along with this video to ensure you’re performing the exercises correctly:
The two circuits presented in the videos are wonderful solutions for getting started with plyometrics, as you can watch an instructor perform the same moves. But, you don’t have to follow these examples.
You can build your own routine.
Building Your Own Plyometric Routine
You just need to choose 4 to 6 plyometric exercises to include in your routine. If you perform plyometrics several times per week, you should use a different mixture of exercises each session.
After choosing your exercises, the next step is to set the rep range and number of sets. More repetitions will have more of an impact on your muscles. But, fewer reps and more sets can help improve overall endurance.
The typical recommendation is 5 to 12 repetitions per exercise and 1 to 3 total sets.
For the rest period between exercises, some trainers might recommend up to 60 seconds of rest. By shortening this time, you can focus on improving your conditioning.
Instead of 60 second rest periods, you could try using 30 second rest periods. This creates high lactate levels in your muscles and can lead to increased growth hormones.
Some studies have shown that a 1:1 workout rest ratio with high volume (more reps) can maximize the potential hypertrophy (muscle growth). This means a 30-second rest period for an exercise that takes 30-seconds to complete and 60-seconds of rest for a 60-second exercise.
Whichever method you choose for adding plyometrics to your schedule, you should make sure that you understand how to properly perform the exercises. I suggest that you watch the videos.
Take it slowly and focus on form and technique before you start pushing yourself with increased repetitions.
In the end, plyometrics provide a fantastic way to improve your endurance and conditioning. You should consider adding one of these routines or circuits to your routine.