Strength Training Like a Fighter, Why and How to Do It

In Guest Articles by Logan ChristopherLeave a Comment

We’ve all watched boxing or MMA and thought about how fast, strong, and ripped the fighters are. The mistake people make is thinking that they have to be full-time athletes in order to achieve a fighter’s physique or (functional) strength. Most fighters adhere to a pretty similar strength training routine and you’ll be surprised to learn one thing that may be counterintuitive to what you know about strength: they don’t lift heavy weights. 

Why You Should Do It 

When it comes to being in fighting shape, you want to have power, agility, and most importantly, endurance. You have to be able to last, and for that reason, lifting heavy with big breaks in between is not the way to go. Let’s get into the details of a fighter’s strength training regimen, but first, why do it? 

It Will Make You Stronger 

Anybody that has ever seen a fighter or even been in their presence, can see that they have a different type of aura about them. You can tell they’re strong even if they look small. They are much like wild animals, they just move differently. Training like a fighter will give you an overall body strength that you can’t get from isolated movements and will definitely make you punch harder

It Will Help Your Endurance

Everything that fighters do is focused on high rep and high heart rate training. They focus on endurance strength that is both cardiovascular and muscular. Working out as a fighter will give you endurance benefits both in and out of the bedroom. 

It Will Aide All Your Other Training 

A lot of people think that fighters may be strong for their size, but surely they aren’t actually strong, not like they can bench twice their body weight, right? Wrong. Take Manny Pacqiou as an example. He is a boxer who walks around at 147 pounds and never lifts weights. He was once put in front of a 300 pound bench and lifted it with ease. So you rest assured that training as a fighter will have its benefits beyond fighting. 

The Fighter Strength Training Routine 

Fighters have a tough training routine that can last 4-8 hours. Lucky for you, we will only be focusing on the strength training part. So now that we got the benefits out of the way, let’s dive into the workouts you can do to improve your functional strength, speed, and overall endurance. You can pick one of these to do, or you can do them all and fit them into your workout as you see fit. 


After reading the heading, you may be thinking “I do pushups and pullups here and there.” I’m sure you do, but fighter’s do it at a different intensity. For example, Mike Tyson was known to do 400-500 pushups, dips, and squats every single day. I won’t necessarily say you need to do that, but we will be getting close. If you follow this style of training, you can do a high rep amount of body weight in a short amount of time. 

Here is the workout: 

This will be a circuit of all the bodyweight exercises, you can do 5-10 of these circuits depending on how much you can handle. Here it goes: 

1 Set of Pushups to Failure 

1 Set of Pull Ups to Failure

1 Set of Squats to Failure 

1 Set of Dips to Failure 

Rest 1 minute, then repeat 

Do that 5-10 times. Do this circuit at the beginning and at the end of your workout, as many times as you can. This will turn from a cardio workout into a powerlifting workout by the time you get to the end. 

Another form of this training you can do is I just to pick 1 or 2 calisthenic moves for the day, and do one set per minute, each set to failure. 

Lifting Weights Like a Fighter 

Most fighters don’t lift weights because they don’t want it to slow them down, hinder their stamina, bulk them up or add a higher risk of injury. However, if you refuse to stop lifting, then you can change the game up a bit to still be able to train like a fighter. 

It’s fairly simple, take your training from focusing on 5-10 reps, and instead do 20-40 reps on each exercise. Between sets, instead of resting, either do a set of pushups, or alternate between muscle groups or machines, still sticking to a high rep workout. This will have you finishing the workout much faster but getting much stronger in the process. 

Also, try to focus mostly on compound lifts rather than isolated movement like a bicep curl as they will go much further in actually adding to your strength. 

Don’t Punk Out 

It’s easy to look at this workout and think it’s not necessary, but I promise you if you try it for four weeks, you will feel your body being much more connected and you will have even more access to the muscles that you’ve spent years building. It will help you bring your overall strength to a new level and you will find yourself feeling much more confident with your body than you have before. Not too mention, it will also make you an endurance machine, along with more definition. Try it for a few weeks before you judge it based on common bro-science. It’ll work if you work!

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