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Will running long distances help my cardio for fights?

Running long distances for MMA can help develop a "base of cardio" and can assist in weight loss. However, we need to look at the "risk to benefit ratio" of doing this activity during a training camp. Some of these “risks” include the athletes legs may be become over trained and perpetually tired, therefore causing a decrease in performance in the rest of their training. Also, the repetitive ”long runs” can cause the athletes develop overuse injuries to the knees and ankles and lastly, these “long runs” runs are usually done at a slow pace.

 

Running long distances is an outdated concept in the MMA conditioning world. There are better ways to condition the athletes that do not cause overuse injuries or force the athlete's legs to be perpetually tired. Additionally running long distances does not elevate the athlete's heart rate to the level that is specific to an MMA competition. Athletes need to train metabolically specific for their sport. Therefore running long distances is not appropriate for the MMA athlete. It is much more appropriate for these athletes to train at, near, or above their anaerobic threshold to gain the most from their training. Examples of this type training are intervals or sprint training. The mode of training does not necessarily need to be running. It can include other forms of cardiovascular training methods like UBE or Airdyne bikes.

Yes. Performing endurance training builds a strong cardio foundation, but to ensure your body is prepared for the physical demands of an entire fight, you will need other types of conditioning like interval training. In order for you to get into "fight shape" you need to train the anaerobic energy systems used during later rounds. Zone, or stage training, can get you the results you need. Training at higher intensities will teach your body to produce less lactic acid, to buffer lactic acid more efficiently, and teach you to deal with being uncomfortable and exhausted. To perform this type of training, begin on a treadmill and perform a light jog (65% of max heart rate) for five minutes. Then increase the speed and/or incline to a higher level (80% of max heart rate) for 2-3 minutes and finish by running at a peak level (85-90% of max heart rate) for one minute. Reduce the speed/ incline back to the starting level and repeat this running circuit for approximately 20 minutes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.