Undulating periodization, also known as wave-form periodization, can have its place in training for Mixed Martial Arts. Its focus is mainly on
strength, and if that is where the weaknesses of the athlete or the demands of the particular style of fighting lie, this method can be very effective.
Here are the basic facts about this type of workout system and how they relate to MMA.
The primary focus of the undulating periodization is on changing volume, tempo, and rest time rather than on changing exercises. The idea is to stick
with one rotation of exercises for many weeks, while changing the reps and sets from week to week or even from day to day. The theory is that it is not
the exercises that the body adapts to, so you do not need to change what you are doing. It is the volume of work you are demanding of your body during
your MMA training that causes it to adapt; therefore, changing the work parameters will bring about the greatest improvement.
Mixed Martial Arts training can be broken up into cycles. There are the micro-cycles, meso-cycles, and macro-cycles in periodization programs. The
micro-cycles are small units of time, usually one workout or one week. The meso-cycles are medium length units of a program. In linear periodization,
the meso-cycles would each be set up to focus on a particular motor attribute, such as strength, power or endurance. The macro-cycle is the largest
unit of the program. It is usually a year, but that may vary depending on the timing of your competition.
In undulating periodization, the volume changes are usually made within one meso-cycle. Tempo and rest periods are also altered from workout to
workout. However, the types of exercises remain constant. This makes it possible for the athlete to concentrate his efforts on that one set of
exercises for a longer period of time without having it grow stale. This is very helpful for Mixed Martial Arts trainees in the meso-cycle, but they
need a bigger variety of exercises in their macro-cycle.
The possibilities for working with the undulating periodization scheme go beyond simple strength workouts. The wave-form method of varying the reps and
sets of the different exercises can lead to a mild emphasis on one or another part of the workout. That often means putting more emphasis on different
body parts within the same motor ability, which is usually strength.
Yet, undulating periodization can also be used to make a wave-form variation pattern within any overall MMA fighting fitness program. To use this
protocol over the macro-cycle, you need to work on all of the attributes necessary for Mixed Martial Arts fighting. This is possible with a cleverly
designed program. Improved strength is the most proven benefit of undulating periodization training, but other motor skills can be trained too.
Usually, a martial arts trainee will work on other facets of the sports besides strength, and so the undulating periodization program might not be the
best to use as the one and only training method in the long term. In a well-thought-out program, though, it can help to bring major improvements.