How to boost your cardio for mma combat sports

Cardio is an essential aspect of training in the martial arts. With an increased capacity of your heart and lungs our Sprint interval training for MMA program not only allows you to fight hard but it also allows you to train harder for longer. 

Obviously a lot of our cardio training comes from training directly in our sport, padwork, sparring, wrestling – all have a cardio element to them. Many of these will utilise both aerobic as well as anaerobic systems. 

This article provides you with one of the sprint interval training routines i use which is a great addition to your GPP (general physical preparedness) toolbox as it simulates the intense bursts of activity that you use in training. 

Running (no pun intended) a decent sprint interval training for MMA program also helps you burn fat, increase your muscle strength, develop explosiveness, increase testosterone, decrease cortisol and it expands your lung capacity and builds your overall endurance. 

Five Station Sprint Circuit: 

Perform each of these sprints on a 40:20 work to rest ratio. So thats 40 seconds of sprinting followed by 20 seconds of rest. Move from one exercise to the next for all 5 stations and then repeat for a total of 4 rounds. 

This workout will take 20 minutes.

  1. Sprints 

Basic sprints, set up a couple of cones 15 meters apart. Sprint to the first cone and then sprint back. Repeat for 40 seconds. 

  1. T Sprints 

Set your cones up in a T shape over 15 metres. Sprint up the middle of the T and then side shuffle left, side shuffle right and then shuffle back to the center of the T and then run backwards to the bottom. Repeat for the round. 

  1. Zig Zags 

Set up some cones in a zig zag shape. Run from one to the other in zig zags. 

  1. Shuttle Runs

Set 2 cones 15 metres apart and one half way (7.5m). Run to the halfway cone, then back to start then to the full cone and sprint back. Repeat. 

  1. Press and Go

Perform 2 full pressups and sprint to the 15 cone. Drop, do 2 press ups and then sprint back. Repeat. 

Train each station for 40 seconds followed by 20 seconds rest. Repeat the full circuit 4x in total. 

Other forms of Interval Training of which you can use in your sprint interval training for MMA :

There are of course many interval training options you can also use and you will find many on this site: 


Heavy Bag intervals

Kettlebell Workouts

Or head over to for some additional workout routines