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“MMA, which stands for mixed martial arts, is a tough sport requiring a high level of fitness. MMA fighters must posses strength, cardiovascular conditioning and flexibility as well as a wide range of martial arts skills. Martial arts conditioning coach and author of “Training for Warriors” Martin Rooney suggests that there are a number of essential MMA fitness equipment that will enhance any MMA fighter’s fitness level:

Heavy Bag

Weighing 80 pounds or more, heavy bags are used for punching and kicking. A heavy bag can be used for general physical conditioning training, improving your punching and kicking speed, developing power or for simulated sparring. You can also use your heavy bag for practicing ground work by simply laying it on the ground and pummeling it while on your knees. Because a heavy bag is very firm, you should wear hand wraps and bag mitts to protect your hands and wrists when working out.


Sledgehammer and Tire

Sledgehammer training is popular with MMA fighters. Striking an SUV tire with a heavy hammer will develop your strength, power and cardiovascular fitness. Perform short sets of 12 to 20 strikes to focus on power, and do sets of two to three minutes to develop fitness. Sledgehammer training is best performed outdoors and while wearing work gloves to protect your hands. Sledgehammers are readily available from hardware stores. Start with a 6 to 8 lb. hammer and, as you get stronger, progress to a 14 to 16 pounder.


Strength is essential in MMA so that you can manhandle your opponent while resisting his attempt to manhandle you. Because the contents of a sandbag shift as you lift and workout, they simulate working out with a live opponent. Sandbag training targets your muscles in a very sports-specific way. Although there are commercial sandbag kits available, you can make your own very cheaply using an ex-Army duffel bag and zip-top bags full of playground sand. Sandbag exercises such as cleans, Zercher squats, overhead presses and bent-over rows are among the best for MMA fighters.

Jump Ropes

Jump rope training develops eye-hand-foot coordination, speed, agility, cardiovascular fitness, foot work and shoulder endurance — all vital in MMA. Traditionally used by boxers, jumping rope is a regular feature for most MMA fighters’ training. Jumping rope can be used as a pre-exercise warm up, as part of a circuit or as a standalone workout. Some MMA fighters prefer to work out using a heavy rope, whereas others prefer a speed rope. Regardless of which type of rope you prefer, jumping rope is an essential exercise for MMA. Because of the impact associated with jumping rope, perform your workouts on a forgiving surface such as a sprung wooden floor and wear supportive shoes to minimize a risk of injury.”