Needs analysis of mixed martial arts

Ben Lonergan, J. Tallent, S. L. Lazarczuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mixed marital arts (MMA) is a hybrid of a number of fighting styles. Time motion analysis demonstrates that the high and low intensity work ratio of 1:4 appears to be similar to other martial arts such as taekwondo and kick boxing. The intermittent nature of such repeated high intensity work periods suggests that energy is produced by predominantly anaerobic means. This is evidenced with findings of high intensity exchanges lasting no more than 6-14 seconds. However, the aerobic energy system remains important for recovery in aiding removal of lactate, improved oxygen extraction and additional supplementation of anaerobic energy production. Injuries to the head and face are most prevalent, with lacerations and contusions being the leading diagnoses, followed by concussion. Evidence would indicate that more skilled fighters, who are able to end bouts swiftly, as less likely to sustain injury. Musculoskeletal structures need to be accustomed to the high forces and velocities that occur during combat. Practitioners need to ensure that athletes have an efficient aerobic system to last up to 25 mins of competitions. Athletes with higher levels of anaerobic power have demonstrated a greater success in ground-based activities. Consequently, the physical preparation of MMA athletes should be multifaceted with the development of a large aerobic base and the ability to react explosively essential to success. Athletes also need to train in numerous different individual martial arts leading to a high training load, strength and conditioning sessions consequently need to be efficient and often minimise training volume.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Australian Strength and Conditioning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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