CrossFit for Fighters

Christian Jaehger, MMA fighter and CrossFit athlete, CrossFit Paideia Gym.

There are probably as many opinions on this subject as there are fighters, but here are my top five:
1. Train as you fight!
While long, grinding workouts can be a challenge, they aren’t going to get you ready for the ring/cage. Intervals are the way to go. The “fight gone bad” setup can be modified in a wide variety of ways, but anything that fits the rep scheme of your fight (5 min. work/1 min. rest x nr. of rounds) can work.
Sprints are also a great tool,especially with a sled.
2. Priorities 
Instead of doing random workouts, try to work the energy systems that are weakest. If you are lacking explosive strength, then try to focus your workouts on this. The same goes for cardio (though this should primarily come from your sparring), strength endurance etc.
3. Get down  
You might as well get used to spending some time on the ground. Exercises and drills that either force you to drop down and get up quickly (burpees, sprawls, etc.) or work on the ground (bear crawls, alligator crawls, duck walks, shrimps, bla. bla. etc.) are going to condition you to the demands of a fight better than just stand-up work.
4. Substitutions
There are a number of different ways that you can simulate the demands of working against another persons weight (besides throwing somebody around, of course). Sandbag getups are a great tool, and easier to incorporate in a workout. Simply place a heavy sandbag on your shoulder and perform a getup as you would with a KB.
Front squats can be substituted for zercher squats. Rack the bar in the crook of your arms instead of in the traditional front rack. This places the weight in a position more like the one an opponent would be in.

These are just examples. Be creative and try different variations.
5. Rotate
Your power in strikes and throws come from the ground, but have to transfer through your hips. While crossfit has a wide variety of cool exercises, there aren’t that many that work your rotational/anti-rotational strength. Russian twists, sledgehammer work, full contact twists, woodchoppers and pallof presses are all great for rotational strength and easy to incorporate in a WOD or do as finishers.
These are all things that I have found to work for me through trial-and-error. I hope that you can use some of these things in your workouts and fight-prep.

And remember: If violence doesn’t work, you’re not hitting hard enough. 😉
Best of luck