Weight Training For Combat Sports

Combat sports' interest and participation is at an all-time high, due in no small part to the tremendous surge in popularity of the UFC.


In addition to practicing kicks, punches, takedowns, and grappling, combat athletes also need to perform resistance training to build muscle and maximize their strength to weight ratio.


Here are some tips to keep in mind when weight training for combat sports.


No surprise here.


Compound movements are the foundation of all strength and conditioning programs, and for good reason -- they stimulate large amounts of muscle and provide an extremely efficient and effective method for getting a lot of work done in a rather brief period of time.


For a long time it was thought that weight training made you slow (and this opinion is still held -- wrongly -- in certain fringe circles). But the truth is that adding strength and muscle doesn’t make you slow.


Building muscle and strength helps reduce injury risk, increases striking power, and pays dividends when you’re grappling.


The six movements you want to include in your training are:

  • Pushing (bench press, incline bench press, overhead press)
  • Pulling (chin ups, rows, dumbbell rows, etc)
  • Squat (Back squat, front squat, Bulgarian split squat)
  • Hip hinge (deadlift, RDL, trap bar deadlift)
  • Loaded carry
  • Core/abs


You’ll notice there isn’t much in the way of accessory movements (curls, kickbacks, laterals, etc.).

Most individuals have limited training time (as well as limited recovery resources) as such, to make the most of the time that your in the gym, you need to focus on getting stronger and more proficient with the basic compound movements.


Now, does this mean that you can’t or shouldn’t include some additional arm/shoulder/calf work in your training program?


Absolutely not.  If you have the time, resources and desire to do the extra work, by all means go for it.


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