When I was a kid I always thought that the professional athletes knew something we didn’t and that is what made them so good. However, rarely is that the case and even though we like to fantasize about it. That one perfect workout routine that will instantly make you into the elite athlete you have always wanted to be and the world of MMA is no different. But, there are still a few things that the top UFC fighters do that aren’t commonly known.
MMA Advanced Training Technique
In this article we are going to cover a technique that is not well-known, but is extremely effective for not just MMA fighters but other sports and general health as well. This advanced training technique is called the “High/Low or Hi-Lo Training Routine”. I personally didn’t come up with this technique, but have been able to use it very effectively. It is a training technique that many MMA professionals use for upcoming fights, although they won’t admit it to the media.
It is commonly believed that there are only 2 ways that you can get better. The first is to train more frequently, and the second is to train harder and though these both work they have an inherent bottle neck. The bottleneck comes when a fighter trains harder or more more frequently they end up running their bodies down and they wind up getting injured. A lot of MMA fighters that come on in a flash attempt both these strategies and their bodies just quickly wear out.
When the body is continuously put through the extreme stress of training it, soon can’t keep up and begins to breakdown. Many top athletes can only train a year or two before their bodies simply wear out completely. So, one way to fight those chronic and nagging injuries is to give your body plenty of rest. Then you are saying, “ya I would love to take a week or two off from training but I know my opponent isn’t going too!”
So, the trick is the maximize recuperation time so the body gets healed up and repaired. Fighters think that when they are going into the gym and train they are training at 100%, but in reality they are only getting 60% to 70% out of their bodies. So, what about the remaining 30% to 40%? We will come back to that in a second (hold that thought).
Let’s be honest, it take a lot of time to learn the game of MMA. You don’t just walk into a gym, then learn a few techniques and walk out a UFC champion (some did in the past but that is another story). So many fighters are going to the gym 5 to 6 days a week and mixing it up by sparring, strength training, pads, and working on their JiuJitsu without any issues. Like we talked about earlier they are actually training 100% the first couple days of the week but then their bodies start to wear down and they are getting the 60% to 70% we talked about earlier.
So, the trick is to use what we call a Hi-Lo Training Routine. The Hi-Lo Training Routine is done by combining days of high intensity workouts with low intensity days that allow the body to recuperate but are still productive. So, if day 1, 3, and 5 are high intensity days the fighter can go 100% and then on day 2, 4, and 6 they can go 70% which allows the body to recuperate. What is great is that the low intensity days can be used in learning new submissions, strategizing your techniques, and getting in your cardio work. Below are some examples of the activites within each intensity range:
Some of the high intensity activities are:
Sparring, full out pad work, 100% grappling, interval training, plyometrics
Some of the low intensity activities are:
Technique work, low intensity pad work, running, low impact drills
What is the toughest adjustment for MMA fighters to do is finishing their workouts on the low intensity days feeling like they are totally exhausted. However, that is exactly where we want them. They will actually be much more productive on this routine schedule then on the typical “All Out” routine they are currently doing.
About the Author: Tony Macraft is an avid martial artist with over 18 years of experience in various arts from Taekwondo, Karate, to Judo and Brazilian JiuJitsu. These days he trains primarily standup at his Muay Thai gym, although you can still find him grappling with the fighters there from time to time. During the day Tony works at The MMA Zone where you will find him selling Taekwondo uniforms and MMA Gear.