The Ultimate Fighting Fat-Loss Workout
Our exclusive program for burning fat and increasing endurance
A fighter's greatest fear isn't having his teeth knocked out or landing facedown on the canvas in front of an audience of millions—it's getting tired. A lack of endurance is as much a danger to your quest for a leaner, stronger body as it is to a UFC fighter (although you probably don't risk suffering a beat-down if you punk out).
If you can't catch your breath after a set, or if you're too fatigued to hit the exercises in the late stages of your workout with intensity, you'll sacrifice strength and the number of calories you burn. Simply put, you won't lose much fat. But MF is in your corner to help you turn things around with a fat-burning, endurance-bolstering program inspired by routines the world's top mixed martial artists use to keep in fighting shape.
While you may never venture into the Octagon to wage combat, training like a fighter is a fun and challenging way to get a lean, athletic look, not to mention plenty of functional strength. Every exercise you perform is a compound movement, meaning it will work lots of muscle at multiple joints, helping increase your energy expenditure remarkably. As a result, your body will continue burning calories—mostly from fat—at an accelerated rate for up to two days afterward.
To accomplish that, the workouts here keep rest periods to a minimum while the weights you lift will be brutally heavy. You'll also do plenty of old-school fight-training exercises, such as the clean and press, medicine-ball situp, and jumping rope—all of which will help give you the staying power needed to fight off fat and go the distance in future workouts and sports activities.
Frequency Perform each workout (I, II, and III) once per week, resting at least a day between each session.
How To Do It Perform the exercise pairs (marked A and B) as supersets, resting 60 seconds after the second exercise in each pair. (So you'll do one set of A, then immediately do one set of B, and then rest before repeating the process for all prescribed sets.) Perform the exercises in Workout II (which are marked only by letters, not numbers) as a circuit. This means you'll complete one after the other without resting in between. (So you'll do one set of A, then one set of B, then C, and so on.) Afterward, rest 60 seconds or less. That's one circuit. Repeat the circuit two times for a total of three circuits (three sets per exercise).
Weight Use the heaviest weight that allows you to complete all the sets for each exercise. Remember that the goal here is to increase conditioning, so don't choose a weight that tires you out early.
The Ultimate Fighting Fat-Loss Workout
1A CLEAN AND PRESS Set a barbell on the fl oor, crouch down, and grab it with hands shoulder-width apart. Your lower back should be in its natural arch . Explosively stand up and shrug the bar, coming up onto the balls of your feet. As the bar rises to chest level, flip your wrists over so that your palms face the ceiling and your upper arms are in the bottom position of a shoulder press. Allow your knees to bend as you absorb the force of the bar at your shoulders . From here, press the bar straight overhead . Reverse the motion to return the weight to the fl oor. That's one rep.
1B MIXED-GRIP PULLUP Grab a pullup bar with one hand overhand and the other with palm facing you. Hang from the bar . Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar , then lower yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep.
2A FLOOR PRESS Lower the supports on a power cage to a few feet above the fl oor, and place a barbell on them. Lie on your back on the fl oor underneath the bar so that the bar lines up with your eyes. Reach up and grab the bar with a shoulderwidth grip (your arms should be fully extended), and lift it out of the rack so that it is above your chest . Lower the bar toward your sternum until your triceps touch the floor . Pause for a moment, and then press the bar back to the starting position. That's one rep.
2B ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW Grab a dumbbell in one hand, and rest one hand and one knee on a bench. Let your arm hang straight down . Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, row the weight until it touches your side . Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That's one rep. Perform all your reps with one arm fi rst, then switch arms and repeat.
3A MEDICINE-BALL SITUP Hold a medicine ball against your chest, and lie on your back on the fl oor. Bend your knees 90 degrees, planting your feet flat. Tuck your chin slightly toward your chest . Keeping your feet and butt on the fl oor, explosively raise your torso off the fl oor and toward your thighs, coming up as far as you can (it's OK to let your lower back come off the floor) . Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That's one rep.
3B SWISS-BALL BACK EXTENSION Hold a medicine ball and lie facedown on a Swiss ball, positioning your hips on the center of the ball. Hook your feet under something sturdy (such as the leg station of a bench, as shown here) and, keeping your torso straight, allow your body to angle toward the floor. Hold the medicine ball out in front of you . Now contract your glutes and hamstrings to raise your body up as high as you can . Lower yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep.
A WALKING LUNGE Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head (think of a prisoner about to be searched) . Step forward with one leg, and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the fl oor and your rear knee nearly touches the fl oor . Immediately step forward and repeat with the opposite leg. That's one rep.
B MEDICINE-BALL MOUNTAIN CLIMBER Get into pushup position, resting both hands on a medicine ball. Tuck one knee up under your chest as if you were about to break into a sprint . Now explosively drive that leg straight back while simultaneously tucking the opposite knee under your chest . Explosively switch your legs back. That's one rep.
C CLOSE-GRIP MEDICINEBALL PUSHUP Get into pushup position, resting both hands on a medicine ball . Lower your body until your chest gently touches the ball , then push yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep.
D PRISONER SQUAT Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head . Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, squat down as low as you can , then rise back up. That's one rep.
E MIXED-GRIP PULLUP Grab a pullup bar with one hand overhand and the other with palm facing you. Hang from the bar . Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar , then lower yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep.
F HANGING LEG RAISE Hang from the bar as you would to perform a pullup . Contract your abs, and raise your knees until they touch your chest . Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That's one rep.
G JUMPING ROPE Jump over the rope as it approaches your feet. Each jump is one rep.
1A DEADLIFT Stand with your feet about shoulderwidth apart, your toes straight ahead. Squat down, and grab the bar with an outside-shoulder-width, palms-down grip . Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, drive with your legs and push your hips forward, lifting the bar to hip height as you rise . Reverse the motion to return the bar to the floor. That's one rep.
1B MEDICINE-BALL V-UP Holding a medicine ball straight overhead, lie on your back on the floor . Contract your abs, raising your torso and arms into the air as high as you can while you do likewise with your legs (your body should form a "V" shape) . Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That's one rep.
2A ONE-ARM DUMBBELL CLEAN AND PRESS Holding a dumbbell in one hand, get into an athletic, shoulder-width stanceand bend at the hips so that you lower the weight to below knee level . Explosively pop your hips forward, straighten your knees, and shrug the weight, coming up onto the balls of your feet. As the dumbbell rises to chest level, fl ip your wrist over so your palm faces the ceiling and the weight is at shoulder level . From here, press the dumbbell straight overhead . Reverse the motion to return to the starting position That's one rep. Complete all your reps on that arm, then switch arms and repeat.
2B INVERTED ROW Set up a barbell on a power rack three to four feet above the fl oor. Lie under the bar, and grab it with a shoulderwidth, overhand grip. Hang at arm's length from the bar with your body in a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders . Keeping your body rigid, pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar . Pause, then lower yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep.
3A TWO-HAND DUMBBELL SWING Holding the end of a dumbbell with both hands, crouch down into an athletic, shoulder-width stance. Allow the weight to hang in front of your body and between your legs. Now dip your knees as if you were about to jump , and explosively straighten your hips and knees to come up to a standing position. Allow the momentum to swing your arms up to shoulder level . Reverse the motion to return to the starting position— that's one rep—and immediately begin the second rep.
3B JUMPING LUNGE Get into a lunge position with the thigh of one leg forward and parallel to the fl oor and the knee of the rear leg nearly touching the fl oor . Explosively jump straight up as high as you can, and switch legs in midair , landing with the opposite leg forward . Immediately repeat the jump, switching your legs back. That's one rep