Strength building for MMA fighters Debi Purcell explains her strength training routines for female MMA fighters an training for MMA . Ms Purcell is a women’s mixed martial arts pioneer and female fighter. Lets ask Debi what it takes to be the best female fighter and what to expect when it comes to training for fights and mixed martial arts.
Explain your weekly MMA routine:
Debi Purcell I lift weights 3 to 4 times a week. Doing each body part at least once, and always switching up my routine. I usually break it up doing back and shoulders, one day, Biceps and chest, and then triceps and Legs. I work my ABS once a day (skip Sunday) and try to do calf work at least a few times a week. I do not lift very heavy weights any more. And tend to try to circuit train as much as possible. I also do plyo metric training with weights on top of my regular weight-training program a few times a week, which allows me to target important body parts that I use for fighting. Such as shoulders, back and legs. I am very fond of *cleans* and jumps, and. Every so often I will go for *heavy* lifts to try to peak at a certain weight.
Explain your philosophy on strength building for MMA fighters:
I believe that lifting weights is a KEY factor is fight training, as strength is so important for us. What I am learning through my years of lifting is that THE way you lift is the most important thing; I think too many fighters make the mistake of bodybuilding instead of strength training, especially when it comes to lifting weights. For years I did the typical body builder routine, and although it gave me a strong foundation to start with and a certain physic I am proud of, It is not conducive to my fighting to lift that way, Bulk muscle is not as useful to fighters as the explosive lean muscle mass used for fighting.
Strength building for MMA fighters
Tearing down muscle tissue, and not having time to let it heal properly obviously has negative effects, as fighters this causes a problem, Because we use some of those same muscles in our every day fight training. And it could lead to a greater chance of injury for us. Another key factor in strength training for fighting is *flexibility, One must keep this in mind when they decide on a lifting program, as flexibility it’s SO important for us in this sport. I learned years ago with my gymnastic training that strength training and flexibility can go hand in hand, and For fighting the muscles MUST be pliable, so I stretch in between sets, before, after, as MUCH as I can. Any chance I get. I am emphatic about it for me moving and stay warm is the key. . This will also help keep injuries down. It is much harder to keep the body flexible with bulk muscle mass. And one should take this into consideration before they add lifting heavy weights to their repertoire.
The biggest mistake I make when training, has to do with my own vanity, I will sometimes lift more then I should because I know it will give me a certain look that I like to have. I think it’s important to remember why you are lifting weights. Is it for your looks or for your sports performance? Me personally, I do it for both, and that works for me. However I am very aware that just because a fighter has *large* muscles and a certain physic, does not necessarily mean they are training the best way for MMA, keep in mind the bigger and buffer those muscles are the more energy and oxygen they are going to need during your fight, and in a sport where having good wind is worth more then gold this really is an aspect one must pay attention too. Also those *big* muscles are not going to relax easy on you either, and when they are getting pounded on or being used during your fight you might be more prone to injury.
Strength building for MMA fighters
Last year I spent my time training without heavy weights, and focused a lot more on my fight training and plyo’s, I was amazed that when I went back to trying to lift heavy, I could actually lift more weight then I had been able too before. IN truth I am not 100% sure why, it is just something that happened that I wanted to share Lastly, remember that every “body” is different; I suggest trying to diversify your routine often to see how YOUR body reacts and what gives YOU the best results, ultimately let your body be the judge of what works, and what does not, and perhaps someday you will have a nice body like me (Laugh) Just seeing if your paying attention. 😉
Do you change up your routine when you are training for a fight:
Yes, absolutely about a month prior I cut lifting down to only doing plyo metric lifting, and a few weeks before cut it out completely, I do this mainly because The training gets so intense my body would not have time to recover properly If I did not discard it from my regular lifting program.
How long have you been weight training?
I started really getting into lifting when I was 16. Prior to that I did gymnastics and danced so I have been doing some form of strength training from the time I was about 6 years old.
What got you into weight training?
From early child hood I understood the benefits of being strong for a sport. And I love pushing my body it to its limit. That, and when I went to my first actual lifting gym, there was a woman in there who had a really cool looking body in my opinion. I started to ask her questions, she gave me some tips and from there I was hooked.
Who do you see as a role model in weight training and bodybuilding?
I still adore the way Cory Everson looks; her and Rachel Mclish have always been my favorite. Perhaps because they brought bodybuilding to the public eye for females. I also have learned a lot from my good friend Chuck Williams who is a personal trainer and ex competitive body builder, and still am amazed at how much my coach Marco Ruas knows and teaches me about strength training for fighting
A quick note to all the females out there. Lifting weights *will* improve your strength and sports performance. If you get frustrated at not being able to lift much at first, just remember that as with anything it takes time and patience. so KEEP at it.
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