Straight to the Bar

All Things Strength


How good is bodyweight training for MMA?
Written By : Mike Jones (Elite Sports)
Filed In : exercises

We all can agree to the fact without any argument that the primary reason why an athlete wants to become strong is to be effective in their respective sport. The most common way of developing strength is indeed lifting weights. But we have come across countless MMA fighters, who can back squat enormous loads easily but stumble like jelly when it comes to performing simple bodyweight exercises because they lack stability & body control.

The strength that can’t be expressed on fighting grounds is useless for a fighter. It’s where bodyweight workouts come in. Incorporating them strategically in your training, the regimen will help in developing awareness & proprioception that you need for gains.

Bodyweight workouts are seen to be effective & efficient especially when it narrows to building strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility. Bodyweight exercises also help in preventing injury and give your body a break from the wear & tear that occurs as a result of weightlifting.

Every training approach has its benefits. However, we think bodyweight exercises are fantastic for training combatants of all levels. Using your own body’s weight for shaping it and developing strength isn’t something new. Buy premium quality MMA gloves from here.

Bodyweight vs weight training

Let’s take it this way, all training approaches are useful, they are like tools present in your toolbox. The Key is you should use the right tool for doing the right job. However, few tools have multipurpose, & some are effective for doing just one job. Amy’s training method should be seen in context: it’s the job and goals you want to achieve.

Bodyweight is that amazing tool that everyone has at their hand, they can use it anytime anywhere for achieving their goals. Once you have reached the peak gains from bodyweight training, you can add other tools for progressing further.

Bodyweight training, in general, is considered better than weight training especially for improving mobility & movement training. It is the first block of every effective training plan or new training phase. The mobility & movement block primarily focuses on mobility, stability, & coordination. Adding excessive loads to these movements restricted the following:

  • Help in reducing the range of motion, the excessive load can prevent you from confidently utilizing your full range of motion in every rep
  • Prevents stability training, the excessive load prevents stabilizing unilaterally on each limb
  • Can pollute your effective coordination, loads can prevent you from using your desired range of motion & single-limb stability that you need for correctly executing a movement pattern.

Bodyweight training benefits for MMA

1)   Bodyweight Training help in building strength

Most people have this misconception that your body weight can’t help you in becoming that strong. Many MMA athletes do not lift the weight and focus on utilizing their body weight to the ultimate benefit. Most bodyweight exercises let you engage your body parts that mostly get ignored in weight training. It strengthens your underlying muscles that you will be required to use in the fighting ring. Also, it gives you the freedom of adjusting your workout according to your goals and needs.

2)   Bodyweight Training Builds Endurance

Strength is only important in MMA if it comes with endurance. Most successful MMA athletes had the game of defense rather than attacking. Bodyweight workouts generally have a higher number of reps compared to traditional weight-based resistance. An additional benefit that comes with it is building muscular endurance. Bodyweight exercise offers you a higher opportunity of training muscular endurance, along with cardiovascular endurance. Another benefit of body weight workouts is that there’s not so much potential variability in a bodyweight workout.

3)   Bodyweight Training Builds Balance & Mobility

Think of it—yoga is one of the most effective yet basic bodyweight training. It’s often perceived as the method of building balance & flexibility. It’s an incredible body-weight activity that has many different approaches which emphasize developing strength, endurance, mobility & more. Bodyweight exercise allows your body to work to stabilize itself.

Bodyweight training

It strengthens your muscles & stretches your ligaments & tendons which help you in staying balanced not with your athletic activities but even doing everyday activities such as walking, picking up things, running errands, etc. Bodyweight training is an effective way of preventing injury.

4)   Bodyweight Training Builds Consistency & Results

Bodyweight exercises do not require you to use additional equipment. Or a particular place or time. Bodyweight workouts can be done at the home, park, or anywhere. They lessen your probability of skipping workouts. Exercising regularly will increase your energy level while reducing your fatigue. The biggest benefit of bodyweight exercise is the convenience they offer.

Additional Benefits of Bodyweight Training:

  • Inexpensive — As there’s no equipment involved,
  • Efficient — As you are working without equipment, they will help you in transitioning from one move to another efficiently.
  • Can be customized to all fitness levels — Bodyweight workouts have many modifications. You can alter each depending upon your fitness level.
  • Targets your whole body— Most bodyweight exercises are compound movements, they engage your multiple joints & work more than one muscle. Compound exercises help in building basic strength.
  • Offers strength training & different cardio elements
  • Helps in building both balance & flexibility in your body.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



NB : if you love talking about strength-training as much as I do, you might also like to check out the weekly newsletter (there's also a daily version available). A regular dose of fitness-focussed discussions, absolutely free.



  1. Monday, 29 Nov 2021 – Strength & Fitness Newsletter - […] How good is bodyweight training for MMA?Mike Jones | Follow @ElitesportsMMAOver to Mike. […]

Leave a Reply

What's This?

Straight to the Bar is the online home of fitness enthusiast Scott Bird, and looks at the many training approaches, essential techniques, uncommon exercises and superb equipment to help you become as strong as humanly possible. In short, this site is the home of all things strength.

images of strength

'Napalm' Jedd Johnson.
Want to see (and learn) more Feats of Strength like this? Dive in.

Just Joined Us? Try These.

There are some incredible writers on the team here. To give you an idea, check these out :

If you enjoyed these, check out the complete ‘Best Of Straight to the Bar‘ list. Fantastic.

setting up a home gym?

If you’re getting ready to put together a solid Home Gym (fantastic thing), here’s how.

For more, swing by the full guide. Absolutely free.

And of course, you’ll find everything you need over in the SttB Strength Store. Massive range.

Ever Tried Kettlebells?

If you’ve seen people using them but never taken the plunge yourself, here are the ones I use personally. You can also pick up a book/DVD/course if you want to learn how to put them to work.

Ready To Learn Even More?

I love learning new skills, and the many seminars & workshops available are a great way to do that. If you’re looking for a specific type of workshop nearby, check out the ones on Dragon Door. Great mix of kettlebell and calisthenics-based offerings.

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program

The Precision Nutrition Certification Program.

If you’re a fitness professional and love the Precision Nutrition approach, check out their certification offering. To say it’s comprehensive is an understatement.

Wherever You Are, We Are.

In addition to the main site, you can share your strength-training passion with a like-minded community on :

Wherever you like to hang out, get your regular dose of strength. Straight to the Bar.

Written By Mike Jones (Elite Sports)
Drawing of Scott Andrew Bird performing a deadlift. Artwork by Vince Palko.