Not only is this one of the most popular questions I get regarding training, but is also one of the most important when it comes to starting any MMA regime.
This is because the answer to training frequency isn’t one-size-fits all. It depends on many moving factors, such as your current fitness level and whether you have any previous experience.
Here I’m diving deeper into how often you should aim to train MMA to see results.
How Many Times A Week Should I Train MMA?
MMA is a unique sport. Unlike standard fitness regimes, MMA training involves a level of pressure on your body that a week at the gym typically can’t match. We’re talking impacts, extensions, rotations, and cardio challenges that push your body to the limit.
Because of this, it’s extremely important to think realistically when you dive into training, no matter how fit you may feel within your current level of training. MMA will take this up several notches, so you want to give your body adequate repair time, as well as time to develop the correct foundation of strength and mobility required for many unique movements.
This is why you’ll see the recommendations below split into experience level.
Who should be considered a “beginner” when it comes to any MMA training? Basically, anyone who hasn’t trained MMA before, even if you’re a regular at your gym.
This is because while you may be physically fit, MMA challenges different muscles, ligaments, and ball joints you’re likely not hitting in regular workouts. Plus, you’ll also be dealing with more high-impact and extension movements, and your joints and tendons need a good amount of time to develop to handle them on a regular basis.
Not to mention, you’ll likely also experience some intense soreness, which will require adequate rest and recovery time.
Because of these factors, I recommend beginners only train intense MMA 2-4 times/week for the first 1-3 months of training. After that, you can move to an intermediate level.
Intermediate to Advanced
Once you’ve built a foundation in your training, you can start to increase your frequency, moving up to 3-5 times a week for intermediate levels, then up to 6 days a week for advanced (at the advanced stage, many at the competition level will also train 2x daily in preparation for a fight).
Always remember that regardless of these recommendations, you need to listen carefully to your body. If something feels off, cut back until you’re ready to increase frequency. And also on the flip side, if you feel 3 days a week isn’t challenging enough after experiencing a few workouts, go ahead and increase your frequency by 1 day a week until you’re feeling challenged.
When you’re ready to dive into a new regime, it’s easy to forget about scheduling in adequate recovery.
However, I have a rule when it comes to recovery: you can only train as hard as you recover.
After all, the more your body is able to repair itself, both through rest and adequate recovery techniques, the stronger and harder it can work for you, and the faster you’ll see noticeable progress toward your goals.
Below are some recovery tips that have pulled me through everything from standard soreness to injury recovery. Try to schedule in a few of these per week to make sure your body is given what it needs to repair:
• Infrared sauna, which helps boost circulation and repair at the cellular level.
• Epsom salt baths, which encourage repair, ease soreness, and replenish minerals (add 1/4 cup sea salt to the bath for extra minerals).
• Massage, either self with a foam roller, or professional.
• Make sure you’re eating enough protein to assist in muscle repair
The Bottom Line
MMA training can obviously be grueling, and it’s for this very reason that it creates warriors. However, give your body adequate time to build the foundation of a warrior, so you don’t dive head first into an injury! Follow the recommendations below for frequency, and you’ll be golden.