The Ultimate MMA Workout

Esquire's personal trainer Harry Jameson gets in shape for Mixed Martial Arts

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MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the US, ergo the world. To the untrained eye it can look like a couple of guys simply beating the living hell out of each other, but that's far from the truth. The level of skill, training and dedication it takes to compete in this sport is second to none, and as a consequence MMA fighters are among the fittest athletes in the world. UFC championship fights are five rounds of five exhausting minutes, requiring MMA fighters to be in incredible shape. Follow my guide and you too will be a lean, mean fighting machine.

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The Workout

This is a circuit of five exercises designed to improve the fitness you need for a real MMA fight. Perform each one for 60 seconds then move on to the next without stopping. This will replicate a real UFC round. Rest for one minute then repeat 3-5 times.

1 | The PunchTake a light dumbbell (1-3kg) in each hand and assume a boxing stance, before throwing continuous straight punches.

2 | The KickYou'll need a heavy bag for this one (see below). Repeatedly throw low right leg kicks, rotating your hips as much as possible for extra power. Switch to the left leg after 30 seconds.

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3 | The SprawlWhen you get knocked down, you need to be able to spring back up again, so do 60 seconds of burpees. This is a killer!

4 | CardioSimple but effective. Use the jump rope and skip on the spot for the full minute, keeping as light on your toes as you can. This will help improve agility and stamina – both essential assets in a fight.

5 | The TakedownGo back to the bag and let all hell break loose on full attack mode. Punch, kick and knee the bag non-stop until the final bell rings (you'll have to bring your own bell…).

The Kit 

1 | The GlovesVelcro Sparring Gloves, £200, by Reyes

2 | The BagHeavy Boxing Trainer bag, £310, by Blitz

3 | The ShortsStorm Fight Shorts, £45, by Phantom Athletics

4 | The Skipping RopePro-Series Speed Rope, £30, by No-Label