Saturday night, January 20, was pretty special for me. Three of the MMA athletes who train at Skill of Strength fought on the UFC 220 card at the TD Garden in Boston. Yup, that’s our home town!

I have prepared athletes for some pretty big fights in the past, but three of them fighting in Boston at the garden on the same night is something that will probably never happen again. These three MMA fighters put in months of hard work and training and it all paid off.

All three guys put on a show and each one won his fight. To say I’m proud is an understatement.

UFC 220 Skill of Strength Fighters Win

I’ve written a fair amount about how I train fighters. Of course, I get a decent amount of questions about how I prepare my fighters to step into the cage. I’ve addressed everything from what exercises work best when fighters  are peaking and posted often about conditioning for MMA fighters.

Today’s post will be a little bit different.

I’m going to talk about how to start a new program after an MMA fight. What happens when the fight is over and we’re not sure when the next one is coming?

How to Train MMA Fighters Post-Fight

The first step after a fight is rest. Fighters need physical rest from getting in a fight, but also need mental rest from the 40-hour training weeks they’ve been doing over the last three months. They need a little bit of time to shut it down.

Usually I’ll recommend fighters take 1-2 weeks off after a fight.

When possible, I like to start each camp as if I’m working with a brand new MMA client. I start with a functional movement screen and a few other assessments.

The movement screen gives me an idea of what we need to focus on from a movement standpoint. If there are any major asymmetrical patterns that need to be dealt with, we attack those first.

From a programming standpoint, I usually design a three-day program that focuses on strength and hypertrophy. There is a conditioning component as well but that’s another blog.

One of the best ways to put on muscle is to focus on upper and lower body splits, but that doesn’t work for fighters. If we destroy their legs and they cannot work out or train for three days because they are so sore, that is not optimal.

My thought process for programming and a sample program for an MMA Fighter post-fight below.

Day #1

  • Lower body split stance
  • Upper body pull *vertical and horizontal
  • Core
  • Grip and/or loaded carry

Day #2

  • Bilateral Hinge
  • Upper body push* predominately horizontal.
  • Core
  • Grip and/or loaded carry

Day #3

  • Bilateral squat
  • single leg hinge
  • Upper body pull * vertical and horizontal
  • Core
  • Grip and/or loaded carry

Below is a sample program that you can implement a few weeks after a fight.

Post UFC Fight Training Programs 1

Post UFC Fight Training Programs 2

Post UFC Fight Training Programs 3

Good luck and let me know if you try this training program. Train hard. Train smart.

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