Strength & Conditioning for MMA, Wrestlers, Jiu Jitsu, Judoka, (Combat Sports)

With the abundance of information out there on the web it is easy to get caught up in the fancy and complicated training programs but believe it or not the basics are still the best to get combat athletes ready for battle. I tell people if their training seems very complicated to run away with the exceptions of the elite professional athletes. Even the athletes all perform the basic fundamentals such as the squat and deadlift.

Always remember that your sport/martial art practice MUST be the priority and that no strength and conditioning program will ever replace your ring/mat time!!

Athletes needs will vary depending on how far or close they are to a competition but for the most part 1-3 strength training sessions seems like the sweet spot for the majority of combat athletes. We know that all athletes need a strong lower body, core, and also upper body so here are my top exercises that you should use.

Exercises you should rotate into your program

-Barbell Squat

-Barbell Deadlift

-Bulgarian Split Squat

-Pull ups/Chin ups

-Barbell Rows

-TRX Push/Pull

-Weighted Push ups

-Weighted Dips

-Bench Press

-Shoulder Press

A sample training program will have two days consisting on 3 exercises, a lower body movement followed by an upper body push and pull. That's it, keeping it simple and sticking to the basics. Remember that you're not a bodybuilder!

Day 1

Deadlift 3 sets of 3-5 reps

Barbell Shoulder Press 3 sets of 5-8 reps

Weighted Pull ups/Chin ups 3 sets of 5-8 reps

Day 2

Squat 3 sets of 3-8 reps

Bench Press or Weighted Pull ups 3 sets of 5-8 reps

Barbell Row or TRX Row 3 sets of 5-8

These workouts should only take 30-45 minutes and that is ALL that you require to maximize your strength for your martial art.


The best conditioning is to drill and spar in your sport HANDS DOWN. There is simply no better adaptation then simply training in your sport. I believe that there is no need to be running or doing any other drills if you are able to drill and spar.

Overall the basics still reign king for combat sport athletes and it literally only requires 60-90 minutes a week to be strong for your weight class. For more information please feel free to email me at and I will answer any questions or concerns you might have.

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