Seven Reasons MMA Fighters Choose CrossFit Style Training

By September 17, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

Let’s face it, CrossFit gets a bad rap from the more “hardcore” factions of
athletes.  They’ve been in the gym for years, and many for decades.  They
 pioneered the place.  They built it, literally and figuratively.  They were 
hitting the iron back when the iron consisted of sand/concrete filled Weider 
weight sets.  They were on the mats in high schools twenty years ago, long 
before the new corporate, commercial gyms with sanitized everything and
 name-brand “MMA-style” classes for housewives and newbies. They were in the
 gym killing it, long before it was trendy.  The experienced MMA athletes 
don’t need any fly-by-night fads like CrossFit telling them how to train and
 get the most out of their bodies.  They’re old school, and they get results
 the old-fashioned way- Hard, consistent work!

Well, times they are a changing.  And in the next five minutes of reading, 
you are going to be challenged to abandon this old-school approach.  It 
won’t be easy.  But you want to get better, so you’re willing to give it a
 chance.  The last thing you want to do is put on a “WOD 4 Life” t-shirt and
 take selfies with a bunch of newbies who were doing scrapbooking the 
Saturday before, and just felt like CrossFit would look cool on their 
Facebook walls.  But you DO want to improve, and provided you find the right
 kind of serious, devoted CrossFit environment in which to train, you might
 just be open to it.  Why?  Because you want to push your body to perform at 
the highest level possible.  You check your ego at the door and you learn to
 improve, even when it’s not easy.  All kidding aside, CrossFit can help you
 to do that.

There has been a lot of research put into CrossFit style training.  A great
 deal of trainers realized it was the hottest thing going, and learned the
 ropes, figuratively and literally.  Alternatively, many athletes, fighters 
and personal trainers did their best to dissect it and find its flaws. Many
 grew very well-versed and qualified in CrossFit basics, and others developed 
very negative attitudes about it.  Most of the bad rap CrossFit gets from
 experienced MMA fighters and trainers is due to two major factors.  First,
 they just outright dislike the “trendiness” of CrossFit and the mainstream 
commercial appeal that goes with it.  Understandable, right? Secondly, and
 more importantly, they dislike the risk of injury that is involved. 
However, when done correctly, CrossFit is quite safe.  It’s only those
 pushing their bodies using extremely heavy weights in very awkward positions
 that end up injured – and you’re smarter than that.  As are qualified
 CrossFit training situations.

Getting back to basics… You want to be the best MMA fighter you’re capable 
of being, correct?  In that case, you are going to want to check out
 CrossFit training, and for a lot of very good reasons.  Let’s check them 


Whether you know it or not, the firing of fast-twitch muscle fibers is
 often the difference between winning and losing a match.  Explosiveness is
 very useful when trying to execute a double leg takedown when your opponent
 is quick on his feet.  CrossFit training involves some seriously explosive
 moves which activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers of your body.  These
 fibers become more responsive as a result of being trained, and as a result,
they will fire in greater numbers when you are in the ring.  Advantage: You…
 thanks to CrossFit.

Lower Body Fat

There’s really no sense is carrying more body fat than you need,
 particularly when you are an MMA fighter.  The greater amounts of fat you
 carry, the higher your scale will read, and the bigger your competitors will 
be that you have to face.  So the wise athlete scales down the body fat as 
much as possible – and CrossFit is great for helping you to lose body fat.
 Don’t starve yourself and run for miles and miles to burn the fat -
strengthen using continuous lifts.  This high intensity circuit-training
 nature of CrossFit ensures your heart rate is pumping away at 120 or 130
 beats per minute, or even faster as you push yourself more and more.  That
 leads to fat burning, and a lighter you as a result!

Increase Muscle

Some fighters don’t like to lift weights, but you can rest assured, the 
man/woman you will face next in the ring is probably in the weight room
 right now.  So you have to do it too, like it or not.  CrossFit delivers a
 great way to knock out the major compound movements (bench press, deadlifts, 
squats) for overall muscle strength development and it really doesn’t take 
much time at all.  Suck it up, hit the weights and hold your own,
strength-wise, against anyone you face.

Greater Endurance

Nothing is worse than gassing when you’re just about to get the upper hand 
in a match.  Okay, maybe one thing is worse… actually having the upper hand
 to an inferior fighter and ending up on the losing end because he/she just 
outlasted you.  Love it or hate it, CrossFit employs the AMRAP, or “as many
 rounds as possible” protocol, which means your body learns to last longer
through continually being forced to train just a little bit longer.  As your
 CrossFit performance capacity increases, so do your MMA cage capabilities.


When you employ circuit training in a CrossFit workout, your muscles become
 filled with lactic acid, a waste by product of training.  This is why you 
experience pain after 8 or 10 reps of an exercise.  Lactic acid levels rise. 
Pushing yourself through it in the gym requires you to work through the pain 
and create a new pain threshold which you are now capable to reach before
 failure.  Crossfit training continually pushes you to this ceiling of
performance – and this leads to the ceiling slowly but surely being raised. 
When it does, you can train longer and harder.  Additionally, this
 discipline doesn’t check itself at the door when you’re done training.  You
 take it with you to your job, to the table when eating better meals, and
 yes, to the mats when it’s time to unleash some pain on your MMA opponent.
 Your newly ingrained sense of “work longer and harder” obtained using
 CrossFit is very useful in MMA fighting as well.


There is no denying the importance of core strength for the MMA fighter.
 Once you get on the ground, it becomes very obvious, very quickly, which
 fighter has the greater core strength as well as the greater core stamina; 
In other words, the competitor whose torso muscles are weaker and whose fail
 first is usually NOT the competitor claiming the win.  CrossFit training 
focuses a great deal on core muscle group targeting and training and muscle
 fibers that standard MMA drills cannot always target.  If you want to cover
 all of your core bases, CrossFit can be very useful!

Greg Brady Charlie Racinowski

Muscle Confusion Principle

Finally, one thing that CrossFit training does is mix things up.  Just as
 no two MMA matches ever play out the same, given the chaotic and sporadic 
nature of even planned CrossFit workouts, the body is always forced to adapt 
to new and changing demands.  This works well to keep the body guessing -
 and growing stronger and faster to meet these demands.  The most effective
 workout is the one you’re not currently using, remember?  Training CrossFit 
style ensures you are always mixing it up, which means you’ll be ready for
 anything in the ring!

Greg Brady is the Managing Partner at Clinch Gear.  Clinch Gear is a Leader 
and Innovator in Performance Apparel. Established in 2003, with their roots 
in amateur wrestling and MMA,  Clinch Gear created the High Performance
 Board Short that you see today being worn by many athletes who train and 
compete in amateur wrestling, MMA and CrossFit. Clinch Gear is located in 
San Diego, CA.

Greg Brady can be reached at 888.CLINCH.1 or

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