What is the Best MMA Cardio Training? | Explained

When a fighter becomes tired, they can quickly find themselves in deep trouble.

Due to this, a great cardio is one of the most important skills that a fighter can develop.

In this page, we will go over the best MMA cardio training, the different types of cardio available, and MMA fighters known for their cardio.

Table of Contents

Types of Cardio

In basic terms, there's essentially two types of cardio categories, low impact and high impact.

Low impact is typically longer distance, at a slower pace, and easier on the muscles.


High impact on the other hand is in bursts, at a high pace, and harder on the joints and muscles.

Both have different benefits, and both should be incorporated into your workouts.

Low Impact & Long Distance Exercises

These 'Big 3' are used in triathlon competitions, and many Mixed Martial Artist incorporate this into their workouts.

Long Distance Jogging

An exercise that has been around since the human species existed, it's still just as effective.

Our ancestors would jog to travel to different locations, hunt prey, and even to gather materials.

Luckily now we don't have to do any of those things, but jogging for several miles consistently will improve your cardiovascular system immensely.

It's important to jog at a slower pace, and wear the proper equipment to prevent injury.

Jogging inside will on a treadmill will provide you a steady pace that you must keep up with, and track the exact time and mileage that you're achieving.

jogging treadmill

Jogging outside will give you a breath of fresh air (literally), and provide you different scenic views as well. In this day and age, there are many watches that can also provide you with accurate stats of time and mileage.

heart monitor


Swimming is one of the hardest sports to do for a variety of reasons. From the start, you'll need to change into proper swimming clothes, get in the water, and then make sure to dry off, before changing once again.


However, if you're able to mentally get past that, you'll benefit tremendously from the benefits this sport provides.

Swimming is a low impact full body workout, that also will help you focus on your breathing techniques.

Due to the low impact on your body, you can do this many more times a week than you can with higher impact activities.


More repetitions, means faster improvement.


Getting on a bike and pounding out 50-100 miles is no easy task by any means, but it will improve your cardio quickly.

cycling cardio

Biking is a 'plug and play' sport where you can just jump on a bike and go on your way.

The biggest challenges with biking include sitting on the same seat for several hours, and finding others to bike with.

Biking is another low impact sport, but make no mistake about it, it's difficult. You may think it's not, until you climb your first big hill.

cycling group

You can bike both indoors and outdoors, but unless you're in a group setting indoors, you'll definitely want to experience the joys (and difficulties) of outdoor biking.

Tracking Your Progress

There are free apps like Strava that turn biking and running into almost like a video game. You'll turn it on when you begin biking, and it'll immediately track your stats throughout the ride.

The interesting part is that it'll use GPS data to show you other riders' speeds on the same trails that you were on. There are records, rewards and even placement if you're interested in beating their speeds and times.

High Intensity Interval Training Exercises


Another exercise as old as the human species, but with a little bit of a twist.

Sprinting in intervals is one of the hardest activities that anybody can do. These activities are more effective for fat loss and improve both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

sprinting cardio

HIIT Training can be sprinting for 100 yards, and then resting for 45 seconds, only to repeat it again for a period of 10-20 minutes.

You will quickly feel the fatigue, and have to push your body and mind through it.

This is an activity that you will not want to do every day, as you need to allow your body a chance to recover, or you will significantly improve the chances of you being injured.

sprinting injur

Jump Rope

Jump Roping is one of the most convenient cardio activities that you can do, all that you'll need is a jump rope! You can do it any time, any where.

jump rope cardio

A solid HIIT jump roping session can be found below:

  • Jump for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Jump on the right foot for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Jump on the left foot for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Jump with high knees for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Jump for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Rest for one minute 

Jump roping will immediately activate the calves, shoulders and core, as you begin to jump up and down.

jump rope cardio exercise

It's an immediate sweat inducer and a great way to warm up, or finish a workout.

Fighters Known for Their Cardio

Nick Diaz & Nate Diaz

The Diaz brothers are known for their iron chins and insane cardio. They are not power punchers by any means, but they are volume punchers who only get stronger every round.

A classic Diaz highlight is wearing down their opponent, and as soon as they sense their opponent slowing down by a millisecond, they ramp up the pace to fully break their opponents.

If you've ever hit a speed bag, you'll know most people will feel the burns on their shoulders within the first 30 seconds.

The only proof that you need about the Diaz cardio is to watch Nick Diaz hit a speed bag for 23 minutes straight. Not 23 seconds, 23 minutes!!! Absolutely outrageous. Just another day in the Diaz household.

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