Providing your trainer pushes you, simulating rounds on the pads is an excellent way to perform your interval training It seems that with the fitness industry, the more you read, the more confused you get. You’ll read an article and things will make sense. Then, you’ll read another and the training philosophies in the second article will often-times completely contradict what was discussed in the first.

So, what do you believe? Well, you just have to obtain as much knowledge as you can through both reading and personally applying various theories. The answer often-times lies somewhere in the middle. One topic that comes to mind is the whole HIIT (high intensity interval training) vs. LSD (long slow distance) steady state cardio debate.

Both training methods are supported by very credible sources. One “guru” will claim that low intensity, steady state cardio training is needed in order to speed recovery time between intervals while another “guru” will totally dismiss the theory and label it as one of the greatest training myths around.

When it doubt, the best thing you can do is closely analyse the demands of your sport and have your training mimic them as closely as possible. Most MMA organizations are utilizing a 3-5 round format (5 rounds for title fights). Each round is typically 5 minutes long and the fighters get 1 minute to rest between rounds.

Based on the “principal of specificity”, it would then make sense to mimic those demands through HIIT (high intensity interval training). After all, one wouldn’t think that 1 hour of low intensity jogging wouldn’t translate very well to a 15 minute, high intensity fight. Especially considering that low intensity cardio doesn’t trigger an increase in lactic acid the way that high intensity interval training does. To learn about energy systems and lactic acid accumulation, click here.

But what if the “guru’s” who promote low intensity cardio, along with the fighters who have been doing it for years, are right? What if there IS something to steady state cardio and its effects on recovery time? Well, like I said, the correct answer often times lies somewhere between the two theories.

Should MMA fighters jog at a low intensity for hours on end? Definitely not! Should MMA fighters perform steady state cardio? Absolutely, and they already do. You see, an MMA fighters training routine already includes steady state cardio with all the grappling they do.

A sample MMA training routine would include the following..

  • Grappling 3-4 days per week. 45-90 minute sessions
  • Sparring
  • Pad-work
  • Strength & Conditioning circuits implementing sport-specific movements
  • HIIT (interval training) sprints implementing the appropriate work-to-rest ratios

Your training routine will vary depending on your experience, goals and training discipline. As you can see, a typical MMA fighter already trains using varied intensities. The key to success is to relate all your efforts to sport specific movements. Jogging isn’t sport specific enough. Light rolling or even skipping are both better options for low intensity work. Skipping for footwork and calf endurance and the light rolling is pretty self-explanatory.

All in all, just use common sense. Read as much as you can and form your own opinions based on your accumulated knowledge. Study the demands of your sport and chose exercises/training routines that will maximize your training efforts.