Whether you’re working out for your next fight or trying to get into fighting shape, there are a few exercises you MUST do. These workouts target the muscles that you’ll need to build both stamina and strength.

Front Squats

All MMA fighters need to have strong legs, as it’s what allows them to lunge, kick, and grip their opponents in a lock. Squats are one of the best exercises for strong legs, and front squats help to reduce the strain on your knees and back. Plus, they’ll help you maintain proper form, and give you that explosive power you need to take down your opponent.

Push-Up to Row

This workout gives you raw power in your upper back and chest, the muscles that play a huge role in your punching, grappling, and overall fighting. By holding your body in the plank position as you do the dumbbell rows one hand at a time, you work out your shoulders, triceps, and core–giving you a much stronger fighting body!


For more explosive power in your lower half, deadlifts are the workout of choice. This exercise targets your lower back and your hamstrings, two muscles that help you move faster. By doing more of this exercise, you’ll find yourself getting those leg drives much more easily–and with more power.

Close Grip Bench Press

Most of the power in your punches comes from your back and shoulders, but having strong triceps gives you a bit more “oomph” when your fists connect. Close-grip bench presses focus on your triceps and chest, giving you that upper body power you need to land solid punches on your opponent.

Barbell Bicep Curls

An MMA fighter NEEDS strong biceps, both to get their opponent in grapple holds and to stop themselves from being submitted. Barbell bicep curls are the most efficient bicep workouts, as it recruits both arms at the same time for maximum lifting power. Depending on the placement of your elbows, you can change the part of your bicep that is worked out.


If you want to put more power into your punches, you’ll need to develop a strong upper body. Pull-ups work out your shoulders, upper back, and biceps more effectively than any other exercise, which is what makes it such an important workout for your MMA training. Spread your hands wide to emphasize the latissimus dorsi muscles, and feel the burn!

Military Presses

This is another great MMA-specific exercise simply because it shreds your shoulders, triceps, traps, upper back, and even your upper pectorals. These are the muscles that will give you more power in your punches, and which will help you keep your arms up in the defensive position even in the 3rd round when you’re wiped. Switch up the angle of the exercise by lowering the weight behind your neck, and you’ll give more focus to the traps.

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