The hypertrophy phase of a long term MMA training plan is designed to enlarge muscle size and prepare for the phase where strength is increased. The
major factor in attaining bigger muscles is carefully controlling the numbers of sets and reps done, as well as the amounts of weight lifted. Mixed
Martial Arts has particular demands, and fighters who want to win can improve their chances with an adequate hypertrophy phase.
Short Term vs. Chronic Hypertrophy
Short term hypertrophy occurs right after MMA workouts. This happens because the fluids build up in the muscles, increasing their apparent size. This
is why people will look like they have bigger muscles right after they work out. They may be too tired to have any strength left, but they look very
muscular. This short term hypertrophy does not last. As soon as the fluid distribution in the tissues recovers its normal status, the body looks the
size it did before workout.
Chronic hypertrophy is what the hypertrophy phase for Mixed Martial Arts is all about. This is a process that changes the muscles themselves, at a
cellular level, and not just the fluid content inside them. The muscles actually gain in size and the effect lasts as long as the same level of fitness
is maintained. Chronic hypertrophy is very important to achieve during training, especially if you are just starting out in the sport.
To achieve hypertrophy, you must have the type of MMA workout that will foster muscle growth. The best rep range for building muscles is in the
neighborhood of 6 to 10 reps at about a 70% load. The load is not a precise measurement for beginners, because it is too difficult to measure their 1
rep max. In the very act of trying to measure it, a beginner's 1 rep max will increase. Also, a beginner does not have enough understanding about good
form to test the 1 rep max accurately. In the meantime, he can use a weight that is difficult to lift, but one that does not cause undue strain.
The workout for a Mixed Martial Arts trainee should be adapted to the skills and demands of the sport. For example, it is not a good idea to lift the
weights very slowly if you are working out for MMA, because you will be training your muscle fibers to react at that speed. Instead, keep up at least a
moderate pace that will allow your muscles to stay in the quick response mode.
Also, flexibility is a must in MMA training. Warm up and cool down are more important than ever during the hypertrophy phase to keep the muscles from
tightening up. The bulk of the work in a MMA workout for hypertrophy should focus on the main mover muscles. That is, it should pay special attention
to the large muscles of the legs and arms, as well as the core muscles. A great hypertrophy phase will build your body and prepare you for the next
stage of training.