why mma fighters suck at lifting weights

why mma fighters suck at lifting weights

Why MMA Fighters Suck at Lifting Weights

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters are known for their incredible athletic abilities, but when it comes to lifting weights, many of them struggle. There are several reasons why MMA fighters may not excel in the weightlifting arena. In this article, we will explore some of these reasons in detail.

Limited Time and Energy Allocation

One of the primary reasons why MMA fighters struggle with weightlifting is the limited time and energy they can allocate to it. MMA training requires a significant amount of time and effort, including conditioning, sparring, and skill development. Adding weightlifting sessions to an already packed schedule becomes challenging, leaving less time for proper strength training.

Moreover, MMA fighters need to prioritize their training to focus on improving their fighting skills rather than solely on lifting weights. While strength training is important, it takes a backseat to other aspects of their training regimen.

Specificity of Training

MMA fighters need to train specifically for their sport, which involves a combination of various martial arts techniques. Weightlifting, on the other hand, is a highly specialized discipline that focuses on improving strength and muscle mass. The specific movements and muscle groups targeted in weightlifting may not directly translate to the specific demands of MMA fighting.

MMA fighters need to develop explosive power, agility, and endurance, which may not be optimally trained through traditional weightlifting exercises. They often rely on functional training, such as bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, and sport-specific drills, to enhance their performance in the cage.

Weight Cutting

Weight cutting is a common practice in MMA, where fighters aim to shed pounds before a fight to compete in a lower weight class. This process involves severe calorie restriction and dehydration, which can negatively impact muscle mass and strength. As a result, MMA fighters may not have the same level of strength and power as dedicated weightlifters who focus on building muscle mass.

Injury Risk

MMA fighters are more prone to injuries due to the physical nature of their sport. Engaging in heavy weightlifting sessions can increase the risk of overtraining and injuries, which can hinder their ability to perform optimally in the cage. Therefore, many MMA trainers and coaches prioritize injury prevention and functional training over heavy weightlifting.

Weightlifting Technique

Weightlifting requires proper technique to maximize its benefits and minimize the risk of injury. MMA fighters, who may not have a background in weightlifting, may lack the necessary knowledge and experience to perform lifts correctly. Without proper guidance and coaching, their lifting technique may be suboptimal, limiting the effectiveness of their strength training.

why mma fighters suck at lifting weights

Muscle Fiber Composition

The muscle fiber composition of MMA fighters is different from that of dedicated weightlifters. MMA fighters often have a higher percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for explosive power and quick movements. Weightlifting primarily targets slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are more involved in endurance activities. This difference in muscle fiber composition may contribute to the perceived lack of strength in MMA fighters when it comes to lifting weights.

Training Priorities

MMA fighters prioritize their training based on the demands of their sport. While strength is essential, it is not the sole determinant of success in MMA. Fighters need to focus on a wide range of skills, including striking, grappling, and conditioning. As a result, they may not dedicate as much time and effort to weightlifting compared to athletes in sports where strength is the primary focus.


While MMA fighters may not excel in traditional weightlifting, it is important to remember that their training is geared towards performing in the cage rather than in the weight room. Their focus on functional training, explosive power, and sport-specific skills allows them to excel in their chosen sport. While weightlifting can certainly be beneficial for MMA fighters, it is not the sole determinant of their success.

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