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The MMA Ab Workout for Getting Toned in No Time

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Everybody wants abs. Even MMA fighters. Sure, MMA fighters are less concerned about the aesthetics of a six-pack and more concerned about developing massive core strength to twist, move, and grapple for a submission.

“If there's one thing that an MMA fighter must have when they get in the cage, it's strong abs,” says strength coach Jeff Cavaliere.

So maybe you’re not planning to go all five rounds in the Octagon. But you can still use an MMA ab workout to develop core strength and tone up.


Fight for Abs and Core Strength

However, figuring out what an MMA ab workout should look like—that’s another story. Some UFC fighters use an unconventional approach to developing core strength, like UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor. And there’s a reason.


McGregor wanted to develop invinceable core strength in order to dominate in a rematch against UFC fighter Nate Diaz. McGregor’s abs and core strength workout: 25 reps of lying leg thrusts, followed by taking 25 hard punches to to the stomach from his trainer (for as many sets as possible). And it worked. In the rematch, McGregor and Diaz battled it out for five full rounds. And McGregor won by decision with a two-point advantage.

McGregor might be a lightweight, but that kind of ab workout and core strength is one more reason he’s earned the nickname “The Notorious.” But if being punched in the stomach by your buddy over and over doesn’t sound quite like your idea of a good workout, don’t worry. We’re going to put you through an MMA ab workout that doesn’t involve spewing your lunch. Ready?

The MMA Ab Workout Circuit

The number-one rule of abs training: Your diet matters more than your workout. If you’re eating high-fat, high-calorie foods; mountains of carbohydrates; and not enough protein, you’re probably not going to see your abs anytime soon.Guys, you need to get your body fat percentage down to 15 percent or lower to see your abs (around 20 percent for ladies).

If you’re serious about showing off your abs and toning up, clean up your diet and follow this MMA ab workout (no punches to the stomach required). Plug in this ab workout into the rest of your training plan about three times a week and you’ll be on your way to looking good and feeling good. Ready?

You’ll work through one complete circuit and rest 1 to 2 minutes. And repeat the cycle to complete three circuits.

Exercise Reps Notes
Mountain Climbers 10 Per Side
Medicine Ball Twist 10

Per Side. No medicine ball? Use a dumbbell.

Squat Thrust 10 Per Side
Hand Walk-Outs 10  
Bicycle Crunches 10 Per Side
Back Bridge 10  
Plank Rotation 10 Per Side
Straight Leg Raises 10 Use a pull-up bar or Roman chair.
Lying Leg Thrusts 10  
Mountain Climbers 10  


Complete one circuit, moving from one exercise to the next, completing 10 reps per exercise. Repeat to complete three circuits. Or if you’re feeling inspired by McGregor, go for as many sets as possible.

You should break a sweat and elevate your heart rate in order to burn fat and calories (a workout recipe that will help you get lean and reveal your abs) by following this MMA ab workout. Add this workout three times a week to the rest of your training plan, along with eating healthy, and you’ll develop your abs and build core strength.

Want to learn more about building a better body using MMA-style training strategies? Check out a UFC GYM in your area for a free workout, along with all the equipment, trainers, and classes needed for getting in fight-ready shape.

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