Ultimate MMA Conditioning Plate Workout

Don't run out of gas in an MMA fight. Perform this circuit workout using just a weight plate and an interval timer.

Plate Carry
With evenly matched opponents, conditioning is often the great differentiator, especially in combat sports. It'd be a painful story to run out of gas during an MMA match, when your opponent is standing across the ring looking to tear you apart. A fight is ruthless, so your conditioning needs to push an equally ruthless pace. Whether you're preparing for just three rounds or a championship, it can be the difference between raising your hand in victory or bowing your head in defeat.

Ultimate MMA conditioning is a combination of muscular and cardiovascular endurance, which is why our athletes use this simple but effective plate workout. All you need is one weight plate (preferably an Olympic bumper plate for an added grip challenge) and an interval timer. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, and perform the conditioning workout in circuit fashion, moving from one exercise to the next with no rest in between.

Remember, one round equals five minutes of work; so aim for five rounds and complete at least three.

MMA Plate Workout


These are a combination of a Halo and a Wood Chop.

  • Begin in athletic stance with the weight on the outside of your right hip
  • Lower into a quarter squat
  • Triple extend and pivot your right foot, forcing the plate up across your body to your left shoulder, around your head and down the other side
  • The plate should now be on the outside of your left hip

Overhead Squat

  • Hold the plate overhead with elbows locked
  • Maintaining upright posture, squat down making sure to keep knees behind toes
  • Drive up through heels and hips to start position

Explosive Uneven Push-Ups 

  • Start in push-up position with right hand on the plate and left hand on the mat
  • Lower chest to floor, then forcefully push yourself up so your hands leave the floor
  • Propel yourself across the plate and land on opposite side, with left hand on the plate and right hand on the mat

Jump Squats 

  • Hold the plate on either side at chest height
  • Squat down until tops of thighs are parallel to ground, keeping knees behind toes
  • Drive up through heels with enough force to leave the ground

Clean and Press

  • Hold the plate in front at hip height
  • Perform a hammer curl, raising the plate up to your chest
  • Slightly lean back and tilt your head back
  • Press the weight up overhead
  • Reverse the movement and repeat

Standing Twists

  • Assume athletic stance holding the plate close to your body
  • Under control, rotate your torso side to side

Single Arm Rows

  • Begin in split stance, left leg forward and right leg extended behind
  • Hold the plate throughout with your right hand
  • Lower chest directly over left knee
  • Initiate the movement by rowing the weight up close to your body
  • Maintain flat back through the entire movement

Walking Lunges

  • Bear hug the plate
  • Step forward with left foot and lower into lunge position
  • Perform walking lunges

Plate Swings

  • Take a wide stance, feet outside shoulder-width
  • Maintain upright posture with chest up and back straight
  • Squat down holding plate between legs
  • Drive through the floor, extending your hips
  • Swing the plate up overhead

Plate Slides

  • Stand with plate on the mat in front of you
  • Squat down and slide the plate through your legs as far as possible
  • Quickly move back and continue the drill

Take your MMA conditioning to the next level with these workouts:


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock