For pro-fighters, fitness couldn’t be more important, and that’s why they strive to find the very best way of boosting their fitness effectively and speedily so they can outwork their opponents while also lasting the distance.
Many MMA fighters have found that running during their spare time is a good way of improving their fitness as well as their stamina and endurance, but running for long periods can be tedious, not to mention time-consuming, so now they’re turning to other options to speed up their training process while also reaping maximum benefits.
That’s where HIIT comes in. High intensity interval training is becoming extremely popular at the moment, and it isn’t hard to see why. It gives you a complete body workout in a short space of time, so it isn’t surprising that it’s been a big hit with MMA pros.
Here, we take a look at why HIIT workouts have become a top choice among professionals on the MMA circuit as a way of boosting their fitness quickly without taking up too much of their precious spare time.
What Is High Intensity Interval Training?
High intensity interval training, also known as HIIT for short, is a style of workout that involves alternating between intense short bursts of activity and short periods of rest. Training for combat sports like MMA and HIIT work well together since both by their nature use hyper-intense, short blasts of energy.
Since HIIT involves zero contact, it’s also a good partner for regular MMA training, since it brings a little welcome relief from the regular sparring and combat activities that are part and parcel of the MMA fighter’s regime, and it’s an excellent way of getting fit quickly.
How Does HIIT Work?
HIIT can be incorporated into a standard fitness routine or as a standalone workout. It involves exercise intervals of 10 seconds – 8 minutes in length during which you work at between 80% and 90% of your own maximum heartrate throughout.
Two Kinds Of HIIT
There’s no doubt that HIIT workouts are very intense, and there are two different kinds you could do.
The first is SIT, which is popular with pro MMA fighters since they are already extremely fit. Only people who are already in very good shape should try this type of HIIT workout. It involves three to five intervals of maximum-intensity concise exercise until you’re unable to cope with the intensity any longer followed by a length period of rest of around three to five minutes.
The second is HIT or High Intensity Training. This less strenuous type of HIIT workout is ideal for average gym goers as it involves working for 30 seconds – 3 minutes at between 80% and 100% of your own maximum heartrate followed by a shorter recovery interval.
HIT has no specific recovery period time, but it should be as long as the work interval at the least, getting shorter when you become stronger and fitter.
A HIIT workout is an excellent way to tone and sculpt the muscles, however, that isn’t its only function. In fact, HIIT workouts also boost the number of calories that you can burn not only during your workout session but also after it thanks to the afterburn effect.
The reason for this is that a HIIT workout increases the hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine that are known to increase the metabolic rate, thus allowing more calories to be burned in the long term, even after you’ve finished working out.
Recovery Phase After HIIT Workouts
After the high-intensity intervals you need to take some recuperation periods. You could either move to an activity that’s lower in intensity i.e going from sprinting to jogging, or, alternatively, stop completely for a few minutes. The period of recovery will change depending on what kind of sessions you’re doing.
If you want to harness the power of a HIIT workout like a pro MMA fighter, you could consider attending a HIIT workout class. These classes are very challenging and will vary depending on who is running the class. Nevertheless, the class will run almost consistently with minimal periods of rest. Often, there will a timer that will count down a minute for a single exercise before timing a ten second break and launching right into another different routine.
The class will continue in this way for at least 30 minutes and potentially for as long as 60 minutes. Many clubs and gyms as well as martial arts schools will offer HIIT classes thanks to the enormous popularity of this way of working out, however, you might want to try out HIIT exercises for yourself at home before trying out a formal class so that you can be prepared for what to expect.
HIIT Workouts At Home
If you can’t find a local gym with a HIIT class near you, or if you’re not quite confident enough or ready to try a formal class, you can try doing a HIIT workout yourself at home. You just need some boxing gloves and a heavy bag to do a combat sports HIIT workout that will boost your skill, cardio, and strength in one fell swoop.
The workout runs like this:
- Begin with 20 seconds of straight continuous punches.
- Follow up with 20 seconds of hooks.
- Follow this with 20 seconds of alternate front kicks.
- Take a 20 second rest before returning to the beginning again.
- Try to repeat the circuit 10 times.
- Take a two minute rest before going again to do another 10 sets.
HIIT workouts are a very effective and fun way of getting fit quickly, and they’re certainly a popular choice with pro MMA fighters thanks to the many benefits they offer, including their speedy nature that helps them to save time in their busy schedules. However, you shouldn’t rely entirely on HIIT workouts for your entire fitness regime. They should be an addition to your regular training and sparring regime, just like pro MMA fighters do it.