Conjugate periodization is actually very helpful for Mixed Martial Arts training. It is based on the same types of phases as linear periodization, but
instead of separating the phases completely they are put into combination phases. This works well when an MMA contest is the goal because different
aspects of fighting fitness are worked together so they can be accessed together when they are needed, in the actual competition.
The basic stages of periodization are still inherent in a conjugate periodization program. There is anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy, strength, power
and endurance work during the process. All these stages are necessary for complete MMA training, although they may not be done in such a distinctly
separate format as in linear periodization.
What distinguishes conjugate periodization from other forms of training is that different phases are linked in training. Combination training is done,
so that strength may be trained together with speed, a very potent mixture for the Mixed Martial Arts athlete. When power and endurance are put in the
same training phase, the result is a fighter who can continue attacking, blocking and taking down his opponents effectively until the tournament is
The great thing about conjugate periodization for MMA training is that it helps its athletes to use all their fighting abilities simultaneously, as is
necessary in a fight. Fights are not made up of doing the same sort of exercise over and over. They are not composed of any one type of skill.
Instead, one individual Mixed Martial Arts match will encompass all the stages of physical development at once. A series of holds, punches or kicks
needs strength, power and endurance all wrapped up into one. To supply them all is a natural response after a solid conjugate training program.
Conjugate periodization is often practiced using rotations of exercises within the program. For instance, various lifts might be worked in succession.
The rotation of the lifts keeps the workout from stagnating as it might in a more static linear periodization program. With the changing lifts, the
body does not settle into an adapted state where progress stops.
Sport Specific Training
The nature of MMA training is that it is targeted in most cases at preparing for a very specific sport. With conjugate periodization training, the
athlete or his coach can set up his program based on exercises that correlate to the skills needed in his individual sport. If he is training for Muy
Thai, the athlete would need different motor skills than someone who is training for Shoot fighting. It is very easy to work these training points into
a conjugate periodization program because it allows for this simultaneous combination of skills.
The best thing about conjugate training is that it allows the MMA fighter to train specifically for eliminating weaknesses he discovers in his fighting
abilities. Since most of these weaknesses are combinations of motor skills, it is better to work on them together than it is to separate them out as in
linear periodization. Conjugate periodization can be an exciting discovery for many Mixed Martial Arts athletes.