If you’ve seen the well-chiseled physique of a fighter — regardless of what discipline they practice — you’ll notice that they are some of the most fit-looking people around.
That’s because they train intensely, with each workout being hard and harsh enough to simulate real fight conditions: the rush of thinking of offense and defense in combat, the conditioning needed to create powerful blows, and the hardness required to withstand attacks from your opponent. This is more tiring than it seems.
However, for ordinary people who want to look like a fighter without actually training and engaging in combat sports or martial arts (or even the tough performance training required), retired UFC fighter and MMA trainer Jamie Varner suggests working out like a bodybuilder. Yes, that means focusing on a group of body parts instead of taking advantage of full-body performance training.
Varner’s own training program involves six days of weightlifting, focusing on a single or a few body parts. However, the difference is that he also still engages in MMA workouts, training in disciplines like boxing and grappling to maintain the conditioning required for fighting. It definitely works if you have enough time, money, and energy to go to the gym six days a week, and train in other martial arts.
The workout days are simple — they involve 4-6 exercises targeting one specific body part, going for the usual 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps that bodybuilders do. Varner also includes foam roller stretches and standard body stretches during rest periods in between sets so as not to waste any time, and be in constant motion as well.
If you do take on this workout plan, you’re also going to need to push your body to challenge yourself more, but also keeping in mind how you’re feeling on a certain day. Since there are six days to exercise, you will not always feel your best — on bad days; it’s okay to go lighter and get the most out of your health. The challenge to your body allows your muscles to grow faster and bigger than they normally would, allowing you to look your best.
If you’re a fighter, the additional mass and muscle will end up benefitting your power in the ring, and the size will translate to added explosiveness. Now the only thing left is to find the kind of time that Varner dedicates to his training!
How do you train for your fighter fitness goals? Do these workouts look realistic to you?