CrossFit For MMA – Can Martial Arts Fighters Benefit From This Training?

If you are an up and coming Mixed Martial Arts fighter who is trying to up your game to get to the next level then this article is for you. 

If you are anything like me, you try to train smarter not harder. This is why I started looking into CrossFit for my training. 

And let me tell ya, I’m glad I did.

CrossFit could be the way out of your slow progress. This group training fitness and style of training will offer you a community to grow along with and trainers to show you the way. CrossFit also offers a competitive element to keep you digging deeper.

Now, the question is, will CrossFit propel you to martial art success? Let’s take a close look at this program and see whether it gives you all you need. 

Is CrossFit Effective for Martial Arts?

using crossfit to improve mma training

Martial artist need a good deal of strength as well as metabolic conditioning, which takes a serious, intensive workout to achieve. you will need a solid body workout to prepare you for the taxing conditions of this sport

That’s what makes CrossFit an ideal fit for your training. The explosive workout offered in this program carves you out to take on the punishing strength demand that martial arts.

CrossFit focuses a lot on legwork, with cleans, squats, deadlifts, assault bikes, and lunges among others that help strengthen your lower body. Factor in the high repetitions of these exercises, and the time limit in which you have to do them, which further gives you a combination of strength, power, and speed.

It’s about all you’ll ever need for solid, faster kicks.

Another thing about CrossFit that makes it perfect for martial artists is that the traditional training exercises used in most variations of this sport are also typically applied in CrossFit (Workout of the day) WOD.

What are the Best CrossFit Exercises for Martial Arts?

With CrossFit, you will have a long list of different moves and exercises to blast past. Now, which of these is best for your martial arts performance?


burpess for crossfit exercises

Burpees, very similar to kip ups, are some of the workouts you will do in martial arts as part of your warm-up in training. And for good reasons, burpees are great for working virtually all parts of your body to give you movement and speed. 

With CrossFit including burpees as part of the workout, you can get such benefits as the strength you need for your core muscles, upper body, and thrust. You’ll need these for different moves like takedowns, striking, as well as grappling.

Kettlebell swings

kettlebell swings for mma

Kettlebells have been debated in the martial arts sphere as CrossFit has, with some thinking it’s a worthy addition to your workout while others believe it does not add much. 

However, it all comes down to how you do it. If you can get your hands on a two-handed kettlebell, then you can make the most out of it to gain a much needed that you will find helpful for your martial art performance. 

If you can maintain the right form, you will need to remain grounded as you execute the move, allowing you to work on your balance as well as control— and achieve a great deal of stability.

Box jumps

box jump exercise for improving martial arts skills via crossfit

If you are considering trying out box jumps, make sure you have solid strength training knowledge and can do them properly to avoid any injuries. However, if well done properly, this can be a treasure trove for strengthening your knees and kicks, more effective takedowns, and adding explosiveness to your martial arts.

Is CrossFit Good for MMA?

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CrossFit hasn’t been spared in the world of MMA, with one division pulling towards its efficiency while the other thinks it’s just a waste of energy, time, and money. So, is CrossFit good for your MMA goals? Here are a few upsides and bummers. 

The good

Just like any other workout, CrossFit offers several benefits that could help enhance your MMA efforts and overall performance. 

Building strength

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As I’ve mentioned above, strength is one of your most vital advantages in martial arts, and it turns out to be one of CrossFit’s perks towards your performance.

This comes from such workouts as weight training, jumps, and other exercises that target different muscles that normal training can fail to target. No you more than likely will not become a bulked up body muscle bound freak from doing CrossFit unless you set your training up for that goal, but you will gain massive strength and endurance.

Physical and mental endurance

I know I have mentioned physical endurance above, but without mental endurance, you can’t make it far. With CrossFit pushing your buttons and keeping you on the edge, the only thing that keeps you rolling is the mentality and the group training offered by CrossFit to press on. 

You will need that same mental endurance for your MMA endeavors. Without it, no matter how bulk you are, you will have a hard time making a mark in this sphere. Remember, your opponent is also possibly going to be just as indomitable. 

The Bummers - Cons of Crossfit for MMA

As a fighter, you do have to pay attention to the style of training that you do as different styles of training can actually hinder your performance as a fighter. 

For example, weight training can actually slow a fighter down because of muscle weight and water retention. This is something that you have to keep in mind as a fighter. Biologyofexercise does an excellent job of explaining different styles of training and exercise.

CrossFit although is not a style of training that will hinder your performance as a fighter but there are some things that you need to be aware of.

For every recommendation, there’s usually a gripe, and CrossFit isn’t spared when it comes to MMA fighters. A fair number of fighters have considered this style of training as unreliable for MMA for the following reasons. 

Not enough resting periods

One aspect that takes away at CrossFit’s efficiency for many is the lack of enough rest periods between the different sets, which can compromise your optimal output on the next exercise. Besides, the focus on working out to the max can be more about testing strength rather than developing it.

As an MMA fighter you have to recover from your training if you are to progress and gain any benefit out of training at all. This is a given, and although there are short resting periods in CrossFit, the style of training is not one that will or should push you into overtraining territory.

Lack of low-intensity workouts

Bulking up without working on the heart could not only set you up for failure further down the road, but it could also be very risky as I mentioned above. To get the most out of your workouts you need to engage in low-intensity training, which can be hard to come by with CrossFit’s explosive workout approach. 

But you will need it for recovery after intensive takedowns or heated grappling in an MMA encounter. 

Is CrossFit Good for Fighters?

Martial arts are not the only taxing sport; MMA, Boxing, and many other  fighting variations can also be a tough feat. With the repetitive movements in these sports, you stand a higher risk of injury. 

To stay on the safe side, and stay on top of your game, you will need a variety of exercises in your arsenal to build strength. 

CrossFit too has seen its fair share of criticism from people incurring injuries. However, this has often resulted from people striving to take on exercises that are beyond their knowledge before mastering the basic ones. Focus on getting the hang of the basics such as form, and take your training easy. 

Despite this, you still need to make the most of CrossFit’s all-rounded training to keep your body ready for the tough fighting conditions and keep the risk of injury as low as possible during the sport.

Why CrossFit is a must for Fighters — is CrossFit Worth it?

For those seeking to advance in fighting sports, CrossFit might be worth considering, and there’s a good chance someone has suggested giving it a try. But is it really worth trying? Luckily, this program offers several benefits that could go a long way. 

All-rounded defense

Defense is very much a part of your performance in martial art and just about any other fight sports. Being able to block strikes might not give you any marks, but it will definitely stop your opponent on their tracks and deny them that extra point.

Now, even if you are caught off-guard and the strike finds its mark, you will be able to withstand its impact if you are fit. 

Master the right stance and footwork

crossfit boxing mma stance

As beginner, technique is not something you are thinking all that much about perfecting. But your boxing stance will make a world of difference in your martial arts fighting. With enough CrossFit training, not only your boxing stance will improve but your footwork will as well. This puts you in a better position to land a perfect strike or defend yourself once your opponent strikes. 

Better yet, the right stance will enable you to execute a perfect takedown, which can catch your opponent by surprise, giving you the upper edge.

Better agility

CrossFit workouts don’t leave it at the legs and lower body. It also targets the shoulders and the upper body through moves such as muscle-ups, push-ups, push presses, and other exercises. These go a long way to enhancing your upper body agility, making it easier to execute great strikes and blocks using your arms and core.

Martial arts and other fighting sports revolve around speed, precision, and power; being agile enough will give you a significant edge in any competition. 

Develop endurance

Have you been struggling to run the course when practicing? The real thing isn’t going to be any easier, if anything, it’s going to be more intensive, demanding, and rough on your body. you need to work on your endurance if you are to take on a determined opponent and be able to finish the set with some gas left in the tank. 

CrossFit workout pushes you to the limit with the different exercises that you have to tackle in any given amount of time. In some cases, you can even push to achieve any set time in which you can knock off a particular workout. 

You will come out of it exhausted, sweaty, and feeling the heat. Trust me; the situation in a real fight isn’t going to be any bit less aggressive. The endurance you can achieve with CrossFit will go a long way to preparing your body, and muscles, for the draining demands when the gloves come off and the blows start flying.

Final thoughts; Should You Incorporate Crossfit in Your MMA Training?

That will mostly boil down to how well you arrange your training! As much as you can get a bunch of benefits out of CrossFit workout, you have noticed there are also some downsides to it as well. The best thing to do is to go in with the need for your martial arts performance at heart. 

On the bottom line, however, CrossFit is going to give you the edge to take on your opponent, and probably outlast them in the match. It’s a worthy addition to your checklist. If you find it hard to maintain a consistent workout when training alone, the group training here will give you the motivation to keep going.




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