October 17

15 MMA Workouts, Drills And Exercises For The Gym Or Home


You might not be a UFC fighter, but that doesn't mean you can't train like one.

In this post, I will be giving you 15 MMA workouts that you can use at home or the gym.

With extensive training in MMA, boxing and Judo, these workouts have always been my go-to tools to get in shape at record speeds.

If you have a fight coming soon or if you want to get into peak condition, then these will be for you.

Ok, let's do this.

Footwork Drills And Workout Exercises

All fights start on the feet, and as a result, we need to learn how to use our feet to both carry our body weight effectively but also to ensure we remain on balance and can get in and out of range of strike and also perform takedowns.

The result is that our legs need to be conditioned for both endurance and explosive power.

Footwork Workout 1: 3 x 5 minutes Movement

This is a simple workout that is designed to concentrate on getting your legs ready for the endurance or a competition.

Imagine fighting on your feet for a 15-minute fight, and this is what you are copying to a degree.

To do this workout get into your stance and guard and imagine an opponent in front of you, then simply move around them, in and out of range as if you were in the fight.

There is no need to throw strikes, just concentrate on your feet.

Do 3 rounds with a 1-minute rest in between each one.

Footwork Workout 2: Partner Follow

We are doing the same thing as above here, but we are using a partner. 

Take it in turns to lead, and the other follows. 

Your aim is to keep in range at all time so to find out what your striking range is, stick your lead arm out and touch the partner on the forehead, that is the distance you should aim to maintain.

Do 3 rounds and regularly swap over the lead every 30 seconds. 

Footwork Workout 3: Rubber Bands

You will need a set of rubber bands for this, small ones as well.

Place them around your ankles and get into your stance. You should feel a degree of resistance.

Now you need to do footwork again by moving around either with a partner or on your own. This drill can be quite tough as you have to keep the bands tight at all times.

Try and do 3 x 2 minutes for this drill with 15 seconds rest.

Footwork Drill 4: Belt Tag

This is a bit of fun but is actually a good game for warming up, have your class put either a bib, belt or piece of fabric and stick it in the back of their shorts/ gi and have a large part hanging out.

The aim of the objective is to move around and get as many 'belts' as you can by yanking them out of the shorts.

The whole point of this exercise is to force rapid turns as people move to avoid their belts being taken, so it might be worth doing a demo before to show how to turn.

Just by adding some fun, you can create quite dynamic drills.

Footwork Drill 5: Ladder Drills

This drill is all about speed.

Place a ladder (you can buy them made from fabric for this very activity) on the floor. 

The class or yourself must move sideways down the ladder, stepping into each one and then out again.

You can really vary this drill by using two feet in together, sideways, widthways, star jumps, bunny hops....the list with ladders is endless.

Partner Warm-Ups

Ok so this section requires a partner for it to work and some space to use, about 10 metres is enough but if you have more, then great.

The aim of each of these drills is to go down to the bottom of the room and then turn around and go back, then swap with your partner. 

6.Wheel Barrow Walking

With a partner grab their legs at the ankles, and they need to walk down the room on their hands and back again. You can make it even harder by making them do 10 press-ups at the end.

7.Wheel Barrow Jumps

We are back at the wheelbarrow position now, and instead of walking, we are going to be jumping across the mat using our hands.

This is really tough so, the person on the ground goes down like a press-up and pushes themselves up and has to jump forward explosively. 

They need to go to the end of the room/ mat and then back again.

8. Go Behind Carries

Go behind the partner and take a grip around their waist.

You can grab your hand on your wrist or any grip that works for you.

Pick them up off the floor with a straight back and then carry them down the room and back without stopping, then swap.

9. Fireman Carries

Pick your partner up in a fireman's carry and walk them down the mat, when you get to the bottom perform 10 squats with the partner on your shoulders.

Then walk back and swap.

Punching Drills

With these drills, we are looking to work on both power and speed with the hands. 

With this, you can soon start to see massive improvements in your power and hand speed.

9.Tennis Ball Throws

Get a tennis or squash ball and find a wall and throw it hard at the wall. The aim is to catch it in one hand on the rebound.

This is great for hand/ eye coordination. 

You can also hold the ball in one hand and outstretch your arm, let the ball go and then try and catch it with the same hand before it drops to the floor.

Shadow Boxing

This is relatively simple, and you are going to stay reasonably still because this is not about footwork, it is about the hands only.

Get in your stance and start to throw punches, the key here is not to lock out your elbows because you can cause strain on them.

There are 5 core shadow boxing workouts you can do. 

10.Shadow Boxing: Fast Hands

This workout is all about speed; you should keep the hands slightly open and only clench the fists at the very last second.

Do 3 x 3-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest in between (there is no need to do 5 minutes, these workouts are part of more extensive sessions).

11.Shadow Boxing Heavy Hands

In this variation, you are going to clench your fists as tight as you can, and your aim is to tense the muscles of your arm as you throw the punches, this is all about endurance and isometrics. 

Again use 3 x 3 minutes.

12.Shadow Boxing Hand Weights

Get some light or heavy hands weights and shadow box with these. Vary the weights and only do 3 x 1 minute with 30 seconds rest. 

13.Shadow Boxing Paper

Hang an A4 sheet of paper from the ceiling or door frame using string and sticky tape.

This is all about punching through the paper to simulate correct range (in reality, you always want to punch through the target, and this is why this works).

Do 3 x 2-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest and treat the paper like a punching bag and move around it, use hooks and straight strikes.

14.Shadow Boxing Blasts

This is really intense and is all about building anaerobic fitness. 

You will be working at full speed for 30 seconds and throwing straight shots with either heavy or light hands.

You are going non-stop for 30 seconds and then have 10 seconds rest. 

Repeat for 3 rounds.

15.Putting It All Together (and a bonus)

Ok, so you are now at the time to start putting it all together into a home workout session.

This is how I would build this process out. 

Take 1 or 2 of the footwork drills, add-in some partner work (if you don't have a partner you can skip this), pick a few of the shadowboxing exercises and then move into the core session of training.

This is what I call a functional warm-up and workout combined. 


My secret weapon in-home training has been a tool devised by former word Judo Champion Neil Adams.....Uchikomi Bands.

These are bands built with Judo Gi Material, and you can have a great workout with them, check out Neil using them in this video.

Ok, so now you have seen them in use, this is my personal home MMA workout I use.

I am a busy Dad of 2 young kids, and this workout has been part of my training for years. 

Home MMA Workout


3 x 2 Minute Footwork Drills.


3 x 2 Minutes shadow boxing drills


3 sets of 30 deep squats.


3 x 5 Minutes using Uchikomi Bands


Tabata workout of 20 seconds on 20 seconds off for 3 minutes.


Stretch Off And Cool Down

Total exercise time (35 minutes approx).

OK, so there you have it.

15 Home MMA Workouts.

There are, of course, hundreds of variations and other exercises to do; however, I hope these help to inspire you.

Thanks for reading. 

“Hi there, I am sure you will love any products or recommendations on this page, but just to let you know, if you click on a link or advert we may get some revenue. ”

Andrew Holland


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