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7 Killer Combat Conditioning Finishers for MMA Athletes

7 Killer Combat Conditioning Finishers for MMA Athletes

Written by
October 14, 2015
Updated April 13, 2018

Finishers are a short-circuit that you perform at the end of you primary training session or workout. The goal of the finisher is to provide the final physical and mental challenge to your workout.

You’ll already be fatigued from your original training session and the finisher now forces you to give it one last push through fatigue and suck it up!

Finishers are a great way to put the final blow to anyone’s combat training session, traditional strength workout, run or long boring cardio session at the gym.

Adding finishers to your program will not only help improve your cardio but also test your will power and mental toughness to blast through fatigue to the very end.

These attributes are very important to combat sport athletes, as no one is immune to fatigue. The sign of a true warrior is the ability to fight through fatigue and the finisher places you in this position.

Developing the mental toughness will also allow you to get the upper hand on your equally tired opponent.

How you react when faced with fatigue and the aggression of your opponent is forged in the gym during your training sessions and adding finishers to your workouts can be the difference between whether you FIGHT through to a win or FOLD UP in defeat!

Below are 7 examples of some of my favourite styles of finishers that can be used to quickly improve your cardio, burn unwanted fat, help you breakthrough training plateaus, bring up lagging body parts and create the warrior mind-set.

1. Combat Fight Finishers

Here are a few finishers dedicated to the MMA, Martial Arts and Combat Athlete. Use these after your main skill/technique class, sparring session or to empty the tank after a workout.

Directions: For this circuit, perform each exercise for 60 seconds of work with no rest in between. Complete 1-2 rounds depending on time and energy level.

MMA “Fight Club” Finisher

1. Shadow Box
2. Speed Push Ups
3. Wrestlers Lunge
4. Sit Thrus
5. Sprawls


2. Power Finishers

These circuits will help you develop well-rounded fitness that will prepare you for almost any physical challenge. The Power Finishers fuse together a variety of exercises ranging from whole body compound movements, weight training, calisthenics, sprinting, cycling, abs and plyometrics to name a few.

These finisher circuits are geared to keeping you versatile in your training forcing you to move fast and explosive in different planes of motions, movements and directions. It’s cross training at it’s best and will challenge you like no other.

Directions: Complete as many reps as possible of each exercise for 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds rest. Perform 2 straight rounds for a total work time of 8 minutes.

Fight or Flight Finisher

1. Dumbbell Hang Snatches
2. Hip/Glute Bridge Dumbbell Floor Press
3. Stationary High Knee Sprints
4. Abs In and Outs


3. Density Finishers

Density training is almost like high volume training on steroids. It’s more intense, it’s more demanding, and it will get you better results. High volume training is essentially, as the name suggests, doing a high amount of work per session.

Now with density training, it’s not just about doing that higher volume of work, but doing that higher volume of work in a specific time frame.

Basically, you are making your training session denser. This collection of finishers uses the density training and AMSAP (As Many Sets As Possible) protocol.

You will be performing 10 reps of each exercise one after the other for 10 minutes straight with the goal of completing as many sets as you can in the space of time.

Your ultimate challenge is to try and beat the amount of sets you get done in subsequent Density Finisher sessions.

Directions: Perform the exercises for 10 reps each for 10 minutes straight. Make sure to keep time.

Dumbbell T.N.T. Finisher

1. Alternating DB Press
2. Racked Squats
3. Bent Over Rows


4. Burpee Finishers

The burpee is the “Ultimate Metabolic Bodyweight Exercise”. This compound exercise works almost every muscle in your body in one short sequence of movements.

The exercise simultaneously works the upper body, lower body and core at once. Your heart and lungs are tested to the max as well.

A set of burpees will force your body to work far above your capacity to take in, transport and utilize oxygen and, subsequently, your anaerobic conditioning will improve.

A combination of Burpees and Finishers, the perfect union designed for you to use immediately after your strength training, interval workout, run or as an extra conditioning session throughout the week.

The different burpee variations make each finisher challenging, effective and fun. Each Burpee Finisher will help you build killer cardio, increase your metabolism and melt away stubborn body fat, faster than ever before.

Directions: Perform each exercise for 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds one after the other for one round.

MMA Mayhem Finisher

1. Alternating One Arm Burpees
2. Wide Leg Burpees
3. Side Burpees
4. Burpee Mountain Climbers
5. Chest to Ground Burpees


5. Tabata Finishers (with a twist)



Because it’s an amazing super high intensity anaerobic workout that take very little time (4 minutes) and burn 9X more fat than regular slow boring cardio.

The basic principle is this: A Tabata interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. Eight intervals of one exercise must be completed before moving on to the next.

Sounds easy? Not! This is “High-intensity” and not for the weak at heart.

This cardio interval training method is an intense and quick workout routine but very effective. The entire circuit lasts only 4 minutes if you do it correctly. The rest period can be complete rest or a less intense pace.

The key to getting the maximum benefit of these circuits is to perform as many reps as possible at high intensity for the 20 seconds.

I like to add a little spice to my Tabata Finisher circuits. Instead of resting completely during the 10-second period, I add an active rest, where you will be doing some like exercise during this interval.

Try This Tabata Interval.

Directions: Compete the main exercise for 20 seconds of work followed by 10-second active rest with second exercises. Perform 8 full rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Tabata Torcher Finisher

1. Burpees
2. Shadow Boxing


6. Minute Finishers

The Minute Finishers are a collection of finishers that will take you 5 minutes timed intervals to perform. You will perform five exercises for one minute each (non-stop).

This is a perfect for those fighters that want to simulate competition, where the fight is 5-minute rounds. You can use these finishers to simulate the work rest ratio for an event.

Use these as championship round finishers where you will complete 2 rounds with one minute break in between.

Directions: Perform each exercise for 60 seconds of work one after the other with no rest on between. You have the option to rest for 1 minute and complete another round or stop at 5 minutes (one round).

Dumbbell Beast Attack

1. Clean and Press
2. Speed Curls
3. Dumbbell Burpees
4. Alternating Floor Press
5. Speed Bent Over Rows


7. Abs and Core Finishers

Sculpt your 6 pack and develop a rock solid core with these finishers. Use these at the end of your training session. Perform each exercise for 45 sec followed by 15 sec rest for one round.

Ab Assault

1 Abs Spring Ups
2. Abs V-Ups
3. Abs Bicycles
4. Flutter Kicks
5. Abs In and Outs


So there you have it, a full week of Finishers that you can immediately add to your training sessions. Although I’ve given you 7 killer finishers, there are a list of cardio boosting finishers that I use with my fighters and clients.

Add these to your training and watch your overall fitness skyrocket and your performance take on new heights!

Funk Roberts is President and Owner of Funk Roberts Fitness and FunkMMA.com. He is a former Professional Beach Volleyball player turned Certified Personal and Metabolic Trainer, MMA Conditioning Coach (MMACA), Online Fat Loss Expert and Amazon #1 Best Selling Author for ‘Rapid Body Makeover” and has appeared as a Fitness Expert on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates. With over 20 years experience he has helped thousands of fitness enthusiast, combat fighters, trainers and coaches reach their fitness goals and improve athletic performance through his programs. Each week Funk reaches over 350,000 combat athletes worldwide through his newsletter, social media and online programs and has helped fighters prepare for battle in most of the major MMA and Combat promotions including UFC, Bellator, Glory, K1, ADCC and Grapplers Quest, making him one of the strength and conditioning leaders in the combat sport community. Funk also helps 100,000 plus fitness enthusiast burn fat while building lean muscle using his metabolic workouts and healthy nutrition You can connect with Funk through his http://www.funkmma.com blog which has over 200 workout videos, nutrition tips and training advice all targeted to MMA, martial arts and combat athletes around the world He continues to learn and improve his skills so that he can supply the best information and contribute to the fitness community and help people make a difference in their lives. Funk is 46 years old, currently lives Toronto Canada and is married with 2 older boys (18,25). His passion is training athletes, helping people transform their lives, travelling and spending time with his wife and family.
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