MMA’s Impact On Fitness Culture: How The Sport Shapes Training Trends

Mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport worldwide and the impact the sport is having can be seen in popular media. MMA has even been a driving force for some of the sports that have recently made a resurgence, like bare-knuckle boxing

The increasing popularity of mixed martial arts has also had a significant impact on the fitness world as regular people and athletes from other sports add aspects of mixed martial arts training into their fitness routine. Even billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg have taken up mixed martial arts training as the main staple of their fitness routines.


How Mixed Martial Arts Is Reshaping Fitness Trends

Many people walk into a dojo looking to sign up for martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and boxing for various reasons like learning how to defend themselves, challenge themselves, or improve their discipline. Many of them are often shocked at the fitness transformation that occurs once they start training.

Mixed martial arts training incorporates these different combat styles and provides a form of high-intensity interval training that can burn up to 1,000 calories for every hour spent on the mat. MMA training also works every muscle in your body, so your physique becomes more defined and more toned. It isn’t uncommon to hear stories of people who started training MMA and ended up becoming shredded without even making any changes to their diet. Train hard and diet, and you’ll have your dream physique in no time.

The unique way mixed martial arts training targets your muscles while pushing your cardiovascular endurance to its limits leads to some of the most aesthetically pleasing physiques in the sports and fitness world. Most people would rather have the physique of a mixed martial arts champion like ONE Championship Lightweight and Welterweight MMA World Champion Christian Lee than that of some jacked-up bodybuilder who looks unnatural.

Some of the fitness trends that are becoming a staple in many gyms thanks to mixed martial art’s rising popularity include:


1) Cardio-Kickboxing

You don’t have to spar like a professional MMA fighter to get many of the benefits martial arts like Muay Thai and Dutch-style kickboxing have to offer you. Ideally, it’s better to sign up with real kickboxing gyms like Evolve MMA so you get all the benefits that come with learning these styles, like learning how to defend yourself, but don’t completely write off cardio kickboxing classes.

Throwing punches, kicks, and knees for a few minutes with a short break between rounds does wonders for your cardiovascular endurance while melting fat off your frame. It’s also more fun than many conventional cardio exercises like running or swimming.

It’s not surprising that a growing number of mainstream gyms worldwide now offer some sort of cardio striking classes.


2) High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training style classes have grown in popularity as mixed martial arts has. It’s another way to get many of the physical benefits of training MMA since they often have quite similar circuits.

MMA training often involves student pairs going at it intensely for rounds as long as five minutes with short breaks in between. It pushes your cardio to its limits while increasing your functional strength and muscle endurance.

HIIT mimics this format by having participants perform exercises or drills, some of which are used in MMA training at a high intensity for three to five minutes with one-minute breaks in between. If you can’t get to an MMA gym, HIIT classes can get you many of the benefits that come with mixed martial arts training.


3) Functional Training

One of MMA’s most significant contributions to the modern fitness culture is its emphasis on functional fitness and improving your overall athleticism. MMA training isn’t focused solely on aesthetics as is the case with bodybuilding, instead, it prioritizes exercises that mimic real-life movements and activities.

Functional exercises like agility ladder drills, battle rope exercises, and kettlebell swings were once mostly only seen performed in mixed martial arts gyms, but a growing number of traditional gyms now offer the equipment needed to perform these exercises. These exercises help to improve your flexibility, coordination, balance, and strength, and they’re often found in many HIIT circuits.

Functional training doesn’t just get you into the best shape of your life, it makes everyday tasks like carrying bags of groceries or walking up long flights of steps a lot easier.


Nothing Beats The Real Thing

While many fitness gyms are starting to incorporate some of the drills and training tools used in mixed martial arts, there is no real substitute for mixed martial arts training.

MMA training integrates various martial arts disciplines like Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Wrestling, giving students a unique form of training that provides mental and physical benefits. It’s one of the most effective ways to burn fat, improve your cardio, and increase your functional strength.

The diverse range of techniques used in the various martial arts integrated into mixed martial arts engage every muscle in the body, giving you a complete workout. For example, punching drills engage your core, shoulders, and upper back muscles, while kicking drills engage your core and the muscles in your lower legs.

The cardiovascular benefits of MMA training are just as important since it improves your cardiovascular health while increasing your muscle endurance. It leads to you losing lots of calories, making it easier for you to reach any weight loss goals you might have.

Many mental benefits come with training in mixed martial arts like increased confidence, discipline, problem-solving skills, and focus. It’s an effective way to manage everyday stress since it provides a form of destructive therapy. The dopamine release you get every time you train will also help to manage your moods.


Train Like A Fighter

Anyone can gain from martial arts training regardless of whether they ever intend to step inside a ring and compete. It will burn excess fat off your frame while making your muscles stronger and more defined. It’s one of the most time-effective forms of exercise since you get a lot more from it in an hour compared to activities like lifting weights or running.

Stop by one of Evolve’s complimentary introductory MMA classes for a first-hand experience of what training with world-class champions looks like.


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If you have any other questions regarding Evolve MMA and the programs we offer, you can get in touch with our membership executives at the following locations:

Evolve MMA (Far East Square)
26 China Street
Far East Square #01-01
Singapore 049568
Phone: (65) 6536 4525

Evolve MMA (Orchard Central)
181 Orchard Road
#06-01 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896
Phone: (65) 6536 4556

Evolve MMA (KINEX)
11 Tanjong Katong Road
#02-52 KINEX
Singapore 437157
Phone: (65) 6288 2293

Evolve MMA (Clarke Quay Central)
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#04-18 Clarke Quay Central
Singapore 059817
Phone: (65) 6226 2150

Evolve MMA (Star Vista)
1 Vista Exchange Green
#02-26A The Star Vista
Singapore 138617
Phone: (65) 6539 9590

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