Mixed Martial Arts or MMA is a sport that requires the ultimate abilities of all bodily systems. Whether you are a college athlete or looking to adopt this as a full-time career, gassing out is something you need to be aware of and take measures to avoid, in order to perform at a competitive level.

Let’s start by seeing what gassing out is, and then we’ll see how it can be avoided.

What is Gassing Out?

In the simplest words, gassing out is a condition when your body cannot supply the muscles with enough oxygen during a workout or other strenuous physical activity. The result is a physiological inability to carry on what you are doing.

There are three main causes of gassing out.

A Weak Heart

If your heart is weak, it cannot pump enough blood to the muscles. The lack of this oxygen-rich blood will prevent the muscles from exerting to their full potential. You might not feel tired or exhausted but will not be able to use the full power of your muscles.

Low Lung Capacity or Weak Lungs

The lungs’ job is to extract oxygen from the air and dissolve it into the blood, carrying it to the muscles. If the lungs are not doing their job properly, the blood will not get oxygen as fast as the muscles are consuming, and you will be gassed out.

Inadequate Cardio Training

The strength and capacity of the heart and lungs can be increased by cardio training. If you do not have proper cardio as a part of your training, gassing out is inevitable.

No one is Prone to Gassing Out

Gassing out is a phenomenon no one is prone to. Even the MMA superstar Conor McGregor is ‘Notorious’ for gassing out. He was seen gassing out in the middle of a fight at UFC 196 in the second round against Nate Diaz. He has also been seen gassing out in high-intensity fights against Floyd Mayweather.

Gassing out is not something only MMA fighters face, though. It is faced by weight lifters and runners too. However, the good news is that it can be avoided by increasing the anaerobic power reserve of the body.

What is the Anaerobic Energy Reserve?

In biology, anything with excess oxygen is called aerobic, and something without oxygen is anaerobic. Anaerobic power is the amount of power your body can produce without using oxygen, i.e., after the oxygen supplied to your muscles by the blood runs out.

Hence, the anaerobic power reserve is the total amount of energy your body can put out before it needs to replenish the oxygen reserves by taking a break.

If you, as an MMA fighter, want to avoid gassing out, you can increase the anaerobic power reserve of your body using the following ways:

Cardio Training

The single most important and helpful thing to avoid gassing out during an MMA fight, or any other sport for that matter, is cardio training. In the simplest words, cardio training is any exercise or training that works your heart and lungs.

Any training that gets your heart pumping faster and your lungs breathing faster will be beneficial in preventing gassing out. Cardio training includes brisk walking, running, jogging, cycling, jumping rope, and swimming. Cardio training increases the body’s ability to provide the muscles with oxygen while also building the strength and endurance of the muscles.

Test Yourself

You need to test how good you are doing with your cardio training to improve and prevent gassing out. One of the tests that can be used for this is the beep test. It tests the ability of the body to provide oxygen to the muscles when you are under full load.

This full beep test guide can help you carry out the test that can be used to evaluate your progress with cardio training and help you focus on the areas you lack. It is a simple test, and you can do it alone at home or at the gym.

Remember to Breathe

One of the most common mistakes done by MMA fighters that leads to gassing out is not properly breathing during the fight. If you hold your breath for too long, the lungs get saturated with carbon dioxide, and the blood cannot get the proper supply of oxygen. This decreased oxygen concentration is what causes gassing out.

Remember to breathe deep and fast during the fight to make sure that all the muscles of your body keep getting the much-needed oxygen to keep working at full potential.

Stay Composed

When you are in a fight, especially an important one, the mental pressure can also contribute to gassing out. It is easy to get nervous, and once that happens, it can impact your physical performance. You need to stay composed and focus on the fight at hand. This can be achieved by practice.

Practice More

Like any other sport, practicing your fight and fighting techniques will not only make you better at the fight but also decrease the possibility of gassing out. Practicing the fight is a good way of cardio training while also perfecting your moves for the fight. Practicing can also teach you moves that require less physical exertion and hence less oxygen in the blood, decreasing the possibility of running out of oxygen at the muscular level and eventually gassing out.


MMA is a sport that needs a lot of mental and physical exertion, and if you have not trained properly, your body can run out of energy, resulting in gassing out. To prevent gassing out, you need to increase your body’s capacity to supply the muscles with oxygen when you are fighting. The best way to do that is to do cardio training, breathe during the fight, avoid being nervous, and practice your moves as much as possible. You can evaluate and track your performance using the beep test.

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