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Mixed Martial Arts: Best Supplements and Training

January 14th, 2011

With the recent surge in popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), it was only a matter of time before the team at All Star Health felt obligated enough to create a post analyzing the best training and supplementation for MMA fighters and aspiring athletes.

Well folks, that time has come. Here’s how we’re going to break it down. First, we’ll discuss MMA Training secrets to help you acquire a competitive edge, followed by the proper supplementation to ensure adequate recovery and growth from your intense training.

MMA Training—Acquiring the Competitive Edge

More important than anything else is improving your actual fighting skills: Speed, agility, form, control, breathing, technique, etc. Be sure and embrace the SAID principle: or Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Basically, that means if you want to get better at something, DO MORE OF IT! Easy, right? You’d be surprised at how many people are looking to fill the nooks and crannies of their training regimen with “special programs” and little training “extras” but forget to emphasize the meat and potatoes of their sport: MMA. First and foremost, the majority of your time should be spent training:

  1. Jiu-jitsu: Improving your range of skills and submissions as well as your knowledge of  how to defend against them.
  2. Stand up fighting: Boxing, punching bag, kicking, and grappling.
  3. Wrestling: Takedowns and takedown defense.
  4. Endurance: You want to be able to go 5, 5-minute rounds, right? Make sure you are able to go the distance by focusing on high intensity cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT).
George St. Pierre, an MMA great.

George St. Pierre, an MMA legend

After you cover the above bases, go ahead and dive head first into some cross-training and add the “training extras.” Here are our recommendations:

All Star Health Secret Training Weapons:

  • Breathing Squats: 1 set of [minimum] 20 reps @ heaviest load possible. What makes breathing squats so special to MMA? Well, why don’t you try finishing a set and then you can tell me. Being able to control a heavy weight full body exercise for a large number of reps covers every aspect of your training: Size, strength, power, focus, mental determination (you’ll see what I mean when you get to 10 reps and realize you have 10 more to go) and brute force. You have to get angry to finish these sets, you have to dig deep and find some serious motivation. Being able to pull from these sources of strength and motivation is absolutely imperative during a fight. Note: Always have a spotter and use a protective squat rack, it’s very dangerous to handle heavy weights at near failure repetitions. Be safe and be smart.
  • Heavy Grips: If you want the strongest crushing strength in the octagon, you better pick yourself up a pair of these bad boys. Until you can close the HG250 for multiple reps, you don’t belong anywhere near the octagon. Key takeaway: By working on your crushing strength, you’ll improve your jiu-jitsu maneuverability, better the chances of finishing moves such as a kamura or arm bar, and intimidate your competition with bone-crushing grip strength when grappling.
A true strong man should be able to close the HG-250

A true "strong man" should be able to close the HG-250

Cross-Training

  • Indoor rock-climbing: Climbing is a strength-based sport. Just like MMA athletes, climbers benefit from having the most possible strength with the least amount of total body weight. Occasional rock climbing challenges muscles you didn’t even know you had and promotes impressive body-weight strength. To top it all off, you’ll notice an improvement in finger and grip strength.
  • Yoga: Improve your flexibility and concentration with yoga. Try adding yoga 1 or 2 days a week. An inflexible MMA fighter is doomed when it comes to jiu-jitsu, their kicking game (think head kicks), and submission defense. Enough said.

Supplementation Optimization

Here is a list of All Star Health‘s essential supplements every MMA fighter should be working into his/her training regimen:

  • Creatine monohydrate: Creatine is perhaps the most important (and most scientifically studied and proven) supplement for promoting muscle and strength gains. Creatine is already made by your body and is used in the production of ATP (energy pathway for your muscles). Take creatine pre/post-workout to optimize recovery and lean mass gains. We like BodyStrong Creatine for it’s effectiveness, quality, and price.
  • BCAA complex: BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are the prime essential building blocks of muscle. Sipping on BCAAs throughout workouts can minimize muscle catabolism and after workouts can promote anabolism and recovery. Count me in. Our favorite BCAA product is Scivation Xtend.
  • Whey protein: Have a shake every morning with breakfast and post-workout. We really like BodyStrong Whey for it’s price, quality and great taste.
  • Slow-digesting protein: Mix a few scoops of any casein or egg blend protein products in a smoothie and have a serving before bed to ensure positive nitrogen retention while you sleep.
  • Pre-workout energy/N.O. product: You know those days in the gym where you have so much energy you feel like you can train forever? Yeah, well now you can have that feeling every single time you train. Pick up a pre-workout energy supplement and have a serving about 30-45 minutes before your workouts. We really like Jack3d and N.O. Xplode for their quality and effect.
  • ZMA: Zinc, magnesium and vitamin B-6 all support healthy testosterone levels and mineral balance in the body, absolutely essential to a hard working MMA athlete. We really like BodyStrong ZMA for it’s price and quality.
  • Vitamin D: This stuff is hot right now. Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system, healthy testosterone levels, insulin metabolism, and healthy blood pressure. There is no reason not to be taking Vitamin D daily. We really like Body First Vitamin D for it’s efficacy and price.
  • Natural testosterone booster: I think it’s pretty obvious why you’d want to have higher testosterone levels. More muscle, more aggression, more strength, thriving sex drive, just to name a few. We really like the NOW Testo-Jack 100, Testo-Jack 200, and BodyStrong Tribulus Terrestris.
  • Joint support: Healthy joints are absolutely essential to any MMA fighter, and taking care of those hard working joints isn’t easy. Besides rest, here are a few favorite supplements we like at All Star Health for promoting healthy joins: Body First Fish Oil, all-in-one joint support.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: If you’re trying to recover and improve athletic ability, post-workout inflammation is not your friend. Reduce inflammation by taking Fish Oil and Curcumin.

Train hard and take the right supplements to be the best MMA fighter you can. Don’t forget to let All Star Health meet all of your supplement needs, #1 in quality, price, and shipping!

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