How To Train Like A UFC Fighter

30 December 2019
Culture, UFC, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Training, Workout, Octagon
Image: Getty Images

Make your 2020 goal to rule the octagon

You know that episode of Friends, where Monica’s billionaire boyfriend, Pete, has decided to try and become the Ultimate Fighting Champion? Well, we figured that as goals for 2020 go, this one really is up there. Best place to start? In the gym. This UFC workout from Dubai-based trainer Coach Nic should get you going. Next week, how to fish hook when the referee’s not looking.

“A UFC fighter is a very complete athlete,” explains Coach Nic. “They have to work on a lot of different aspects of their sport – from striking to grappling. Not only that, but because they fight for five minutes per round, they need explosive power and endurance. It’s a very demanding sport!

“If you’re heading into the gym to work on this, you’re going to be training for strength, athleticism, flexibility, and conditioning. With that in mind, the more “functional” the training, the better. For example, big compound exercises like deadlifts and squats are a must, as are incorporating core training and strongman exercises. This means some traditional but very effective exercises like farmers walks, to build core and grip strength, tire flips, to improve full body power, and prowler push / pull, to develop legs and power.

“Of course, every fighter has a different background, so they all need to work on different things. But here’s an example of a training routine for one of my UFC fighters a few weeks before one of his fights. It’s important to remember that top fighters work on honing specific skills for specific situations (which is the case in the example below), whereas less experienced fighters will do more general training to develop their overall skills.”

- Day 1: Wrestling + Core + Conditioning

- Day 2: Sparring

- Day 3: Striking + Upper body Strength & Conditioning

- Day 4: Off

- Day 5: Drills (take downs, escapes, etc.) and pad work

- Day 6: Heavy Sparring (small gloves)

- Day 7: Light technique + Lower body Strength & Conditioning

- Day 8: Off

“Make no mistake, there’s no way to cheat the system. If you want to look ripped and ready for battle, you have to do some type of cardio or conditioning almost every day, eat healthy, and bring your body fat down to close to 10 percent.

“It is also very important to know the basics of striking and grappling, so make sure to get at least three days of technical work in each week to complement the strength and conditioning work. One exercise that I’ve found very good for striking is the explosive landmine press. There are a few variations, but ultimately this will  teach your body to explode from the legs and transfer the power through the core all the way into the punching arm. That’s a pretty valuable move when you’re in the octagon.”