Tips to Improve Your Cardio for Mixed Martial Arts from Spartan Fitness MMA- Birmingham, AL

Five, 5-minute rounds. That’s how long a title fight in the UFC lasts. Twenty-five minutes of pedal-to-the-metal, non-stop movement. Think you could last? While most of us won’t need that level of cardio, it’s still one of the most important elements in our martial arts training at Spartan Fitness MMA- Birmingham, AL.


But “Don’t put me down for cardio,” amirite? Cardio sucks. Unless you’re one of those people that runs 5 miles every morning just for kicks, in which case, we don’t trust you and we’re not talking to you.



For the rest of you, the reason you think cardio sucks is probably because you have the wrong mindset (truth bomb) or you’re doing the wrong exercises for your body. Improving your cardio is not an overnight process, but it is a HUGE factor in your training. When you can make it through a class where you can actually focus on the techniques because you’re not worried about passing out anymore—gamechanger. Here are a few things you can do to see progression in your cardio:


1. Jump Rope

If you think jumping rope is for your daughter’s P.E. class, you haven’t tried it in a while. Jumping rope is a great way to improve your cardio AND your footwork for striking class. It requires focus, coordination, and it’s the perfect exercise to simulate the type of cardio necessary for mixed martial arts. Start with 90-second rounds and increase from there. It WILL be difficult at first, but pretty soon you’ll be jump roping circles around little Sally’s double-Dutch clique. And most importantly you’ll be able to focus more on technique and less on dying during striking class. So, go buy a jump rope! It’ll be the cheapest yet most valuable piece of home workout equipment you have.



2. Incorporate Circuit Training into Your Routine

Try picking three to four exercises that you feel confident doing (ex. squat jumps, push-ups, lunges, planks) and repeat in intervals- exercise for 1 minute, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat the circuit three times. Once you’ve completed that circuit, rest and repeat with new exercises such as step-ups, jumping jacks, and dumbbell rows (Don’t have weights? Grab a gallon of milk or water and get to it!). Improve cardio, build endurance, and gain strength with circuit training! If you need ideas, you can always ask a coach or reference our YouTube channel for workouts. OR, you could come to one of the TWENTY Spartan Conditioning classes we have every week. That way you don't even have to think about it. Just show up!



3. Go for a Swim or Bike Ride

There are a multitude of ways we can build endurance. Running is great for cardio and endurance if you can do it, but the high impact can pose a problem for those with prior injuries. If running isn’t your thing, try biking! Same views, less impact, and bonus—you get to go faster. For a low-impact, full-body workout, hit the pool! Swimming requires the use of all your major muscle groups and forces you to control your breathing.





Pro Tip: for all things cardio, a bangin’ playlist is key. Listen to your favorite beats to keep up a good pace and a good mood! Mindset matters.


Don’t hesitate to reach out to your coaches for more tips and resources for your training! There are tons of modifications for exercises to make them work for YOU. See you on the mats!

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