MMA seems to be the quickest growing sport in the world nowadays. Due to this, many fitness gyms and companies started to develop training programs which are inspired by the sport. These products promise weight loss, muscle gain and increase in endurance, but are they really effective for everyday people like you and me, who don't really fight at all?
Well, firstly I need to say that I myself tested out some of these fitness programs so most of what you'll read here is based on my own experiences and thoughts, along with thorough research made around the web.
One important aspect of MMA that is very useful if applied to workouts is its explosiveness. Differently from a normal person, MMA fighters need to specifically train in an aggressive and explosive way so that they can do the same while fighting. What this results in is an increase in metabolism somewhat higher than the common workout as we know it. In order for the body to maintain the same high intensity throughout the whole workout, it needs to elevate heart rate much more than if one was lifting weights conventionally or running on the treadmill. For everyday people, this means a higher calorie burn due to more energy being used to perform each exercise.
Additionally, due to the high intensity of MMA style fitness workouts, there is another huge contributing factor to weight loss that most people came to know about as afterburn. What this means is that even after the workout is complete, the body will continue to burn up calories for somewhere between 1 or even 6 hours, depending on the intensity. This is one of the reasons why most UFC fighters we see are usually very lean and skinny.
Another reason why these types of exercises can be useful to anyone training with them is that most of these MMA fitness programs make use of a method called circuit training. By definition, this routine consists of performing each exercise for short periods like 30 seconds or 15 reps, and then quickly moving on to the next. Also, the exercise following the previous will always target a different muscle group. One result of this type of training is that it's time efficient. The reason is that due to the constant alternation of muscles, you will feel little to no fatigue when performing each exercise because a previously worked out muscle has time to rest before actually being used again. Consequently, very little rest is needed in between exercises, which makes most circuit training routines last from 30-45 minutes only.
By following this structure, MMA workouts also have the major benefit of being able to train the whole body. So instead of working out only a specific set of muscles one day (such as abs and chest) and another set the other day (legs and arms), these fitness programs target every muscle group of your body in only one session. This promotes more weight loss, as well as increased endurance because it's much more consuming for our body to recover every muscle of the body at once in relation to only a few specific ones.
MMA inspired fitness programs also have the selling point of being highly entertaining to do. Being a training that fighters need to follow, some movements we see resemble the movements made in a real competition such as punches and kicks. Although for some people this may seem a little daunting or simply unnecessary, many others enjoy the versatility while training. One may even feel motivated enough to start actually learning some true fighting style after following the program.
All in all, MMA is a sport that requires a lot from its practitioners. A fighter has to undergo rough training in order to be in his full potential for when he steps into the cage. However, you don't need to do the same in order to get the same results and body that these fighters have. There are a few programs out there that follow the same training paradigms and lets you do it yourself at the comfort of your own home. MMA will continue to grow as a sport, but also proves to be a highly efficient style of training to be used even if you're not a professional fighter.