Can MMA learn anything from bodybuilding? One of the key aspects of bodybuilding, used by leading physique competitors such as Ben White, Ricky Tricky Jackson and Miguel Oliveira, is progression. The MMA fighter who wants to move up a weight division, or the guy that just wants to get bigger, but stay fast, can apply this principle too.
The real key to success is you want to get bigger but stay fast for combat sports is periodization. You need to start utilizing sub-maximal loads (40-50% of 1 Rep Max). Work at this level of intensity to hypertrophy your muscles and after a month or two, increase to the 75-90% range. Allow for sufficient time in between fitness routines to recover (about 3-4 days). Look to slowly and gradually increase the following variables:
- Load: As an example, if you can complete 12 repetitions in the Two-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl with 60 lbs, you could create muscular overload merely by increasing what you lift by 10 lbs and performing as many repetitions as the load will allow, until reaching failure.
- Rest Intervals: The rest intervals taken between diverse parts of a training period is reduced.
- Work Volume: It may be measured by distance, for example, metres covered when hill sprinting, or total weight lifted i.e. repetitions or sets using a weight, performed during a power training session .
Rep Ranges For Hypertrophy, Speed, And Strength
The above is how you can manage the progression. The next step is to manage the rep ranges and weights that you use for each and every workout. You must not leave anything to chance. You have to have a scientific approach to training if you want the biggest gains in the shortest time. An important consideration for the MMA fighter is maintaining agility and speed as you pack on the muscle. Bodybuilders tend not to worry about speed in their quest for more size, but the combat athlete will have to make sure he stays fast. Here is a quick guide to how various rep ranges and loading parameters (expressed as percentages of your 1 rep maximum) can help you get stronger, bigger and faster at the same time:
- Lower Intensity: 60% and under of your 1RM. Work out in the 20 repetition and over zone. When an exercise such as the overhead dumbbell press for example, is employed, it should improve the endurance levels of your shoulders and triceps.
- Medium Intensity: 50-75Percent of the 1RM. This is an effective way to develop muscle size and definition. Work with load that allows about 8-12 reps on each working set.
- High Intensity: 85-100 % of your 1RM. Here is the maximum strength, low rep (2-6) zone that athletes in power sports, such as Olympic Weightlifting and Strongman use to become more powerful.
The key to maximising strength and size, yet staying fast, is to perform most of your movements with explosive force. Aim to accelerate the weight from start to finish. One of the best ways a martial artist can do this, is to take a leaf out of the powerlifters book and use stretch bands. These are attached to barbells and as you reach the finishing part of a lift, such as the bench press, the extra tension works against the speed your muscles are generating. This is useful as it means the weight does not go flying up into the air. It makes you concentrate more on accelerating the weight just in order to rep out. This is a great way of building speed and has great carry over into punching power and speed.
The same stretch bands can be used on barbell squats and deadlifts to develop lower body power and speed. Dynamic effort training (speed work) is normally performed for 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps. The reps are performed as fast as possible. A 45-60 second rest is taken between sets. Normally you would work with weights that are about 50-60% of your one rep maximum. Speed training is normally undertaken on a separate day to the heavy maximum effort work, but often performed in the same workout as the medium rep hypertrophy type training.
So as long as you you train for speed, you should not lose it as you grow in size. Big does not equal slow.