Does Movement Training Help for MMA?

Movement Training is considered by many as the secret weapon in sport which often raises the question – does movement training help for MMA? Below we explore three benefits of movement training for MMA and how you can improve your movement practice and in turn your performance in MMA including sharing a free movement flow from our movement flow series.

As I discussed in a previous article Mixed Martial Arts is a mentally and physically demanding sport for a number of reasons. A mixture of highly technical skills are required for mixed modality combat as well as the strength, fitness and mental conditioning to be able to train and compete effectively.

One element that is naturally incorporated into all martial arts, strength and fitness work is movement, but movement is also an element that can be isolated and trained on its own to improve its quality, effectiveness and ultimately its impact on your performance in your chosen sport or physical activity.

The Secret Weapon for Martial Arts and Combat Sports

When speaking with ATHLETE.CO performance coaches including Richard Staudner, Head Performance Coach to UFC Athlete Aleksandar Rakic, ‘movement’ is always a term that comes up almost immediately and could easily be described as ‘The Secret Weapon for Martial Arts and Combat Sports’ as well as for sports and fitness in general.

How well does an athlete move in the gym, on the pitch, in the pool or in the octagon, and how can this movement be improved? Better movement almost always results in better performance both in training and during competition. Furthermore, better movement in MMA has an immediate impact on several key scenarios that will dramatically improve MMA performance – three of these are explored below.

Three Benefits of Movement Training for MMA

  1. Balance
  2. Co-ordination
  3. Injury Prevention


Great movers have great balance, and great balance allows a person to move in any direction with the minimum of preparation – very important during combat. Your centre of gravity plays an important role in your balance, as maintaining good balance requires you to maintain your centre of gravity within your base of support. Training your movement and exploring new shapes with your body will train you to understand your movement, your centre of gravity and in turn improve your balance.

In this example a direct transfer to MMA performance would be an enhanced ability to deliver or evade kicks, punches or take downs as you are a well-balanced athlete who can act and react quickly and effectively while maintaining good balance and a strong and stable base from which to move.


Co-ordination is a group effort – different parts of the body need to work together to co-ordinate properly and facilitate good movement. When applied to movements of the body, co-ordination means the different muscles and joints co-operate as a team to create a particular outcome.

In this example a direct transfer to MMA is the ability to deliver force effectively through co-ordinated movement. A punch for example is a co-ordinated effort by the whole body that starts at your feet and their contact with the ground and ends at the precise moment you make contact with your opponent. This also needs to be co-ordinated as part of other movements or in a co-ordinated response to movements from your opponent.

Injury Prevention

If you train hard enough to get good at anything, you will put your body under a tremendous amount of mechanical stress. Injuries are common in sport, especially so in MMA, and movement quality helps athletes reduce this risk of injury.

Efficient movement helps one reduce injury by minimizing and distributing the mechanical stress of movement. And if you reduce your risk of injury you will have more time available for training and skill development – your MMA performance will improve.

Movement Training For MMA

Movement training helps in mixed martial arts by improving the fighter’s agility, coordination, balance, and overall athleticism. It also helps to reduce the risk of injury and enhances the fighter’s ability to execute techniques with more speed and power. Additionally, movement training can improve a fighter’s footwork, which is crucial for slipping and evading strikes, as well as for closing the distance to land strikes of their own.

Movement Flows for Athletic Performance

Our Movement Flow program is a blend of art and science – the proven science of movement combined with the art of a lifetime studying and teaching movement. These flows have been designed to use a different set of mechanics often overlooked when people are training for sport and fitness – they balance the body, improve function, stability, co-ordination, strength and ultimately performance.

This program is an essential addition for MMA and combat sports – for a free trial click the link below.

Movement Flows For Athletic Performance

Graham Barber, Founder @ ATHLETE.CO