We need to start out by clarifying at least one thing, as it regards MMA. A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that MMA refers to one particular fighting style.
This could not be further from the truth. Mixed martial arts (which is all ‘MMA’ stands for) are any methods of unarmed combat which the rules allow. And since this is about the exercise of martial arts instead of its obvious combative application, you won’t have to worry about being hit back.
So let’s look at some ways MMA can get you ripped, without giving you black eyes or cracked ribs.
Capoeira, the Dance of War. Other than having the most badass name possible, capoeira is almost a precursor to modern aerobics. Originally developed as a tool of rebellion, it combines rhythmic elements of a dance with the rhythm, misdirection and astonishing footwork of a kicking and takedown-involved martial art. Begin with the rhythmic movements capoeira masters practice, and work to integrate kicks, punches and sweeps into your workout routines. You will get stronger, and you will break a sweat.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This ancient South American wrestling art goes a bit deeper than just taking down your opponent. In learning to use your opponent’s bodyweight against him, you also learn to use your own weight more effectively. Practice falling and getting back up – done for a solid hour, you will definitely feel it. And soon enough, you’ll be hitting the ground with less weight on you.
Silat. This Indonesian fighting style is characterized by joint locks and the cultivation of great agility. In ages past, warriors who practiced Silat had little to no armor, and thus had to avoid as many attacks as humanly possible. One way this art will cause your sweat glands to work over time and your waist size to decrease is its heavy emphasis on stances. To be able to move quickly, one must be able to stand strongly.
Try the horse stance – stand with your feet twice as wide apart as your shoulders, and lower down so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Now hold for 10 minutes. If you can the first time, you are mightier than I.
Catch Wrestling. This style is named in the long form as “catch as catch can wrestling,” and basically means that whatever you can do, do! The best form of exercise is to wrestle with someone. It doesn’t really matter who wins, because you’ll both get in better shape.