MMA is demanding sport that requires multiple skill sets, speed, strength, power and the endurance to last for up to 5 X 5 minute rounds. One of the most important areas to focus on is your CORE. Every kick, punch and other movement transfers through the core or depends on the trunk’s stability, strength and power. Below are three of my favorite exercises that we use with our fighters every week.
3 CORE Exercises
1. Power Wheel Crawls
Jon Hinds created and wonderfully evil tool when he developed the Power Wheel. You can use it in a variety of ways and they have done a great job creating progressions for each movement pattern. My favorite exercise is the Power Wheel Crawl. To perform this exercise, you simply strap the wheel to your feet, assume a push up position and then use your upper body to crawl forward. This seems simple, but it is incredibly challenging. In fact, most people start by simply holding a push up position, progress to s a saw movement back and forth …and then begin the crawl exercise.
2. Battling Rope Sidewinders
Battling Ropes have become a hot topic over the last few years and are an incredible conditioning tool for fighters. Although many people use them, I only see a handful of people using a variety of drills and exercises. Typically you see slams or alternating waves, but I have found that these sidewinder drills to be the most difficult and effective for developing rotational power and endurance.
The sidewinders are performed on your feet, with a significant amount of slack on the ropes. If you are using a fifty foot ropes, then move just about half way to the anchor point. From there, assume an athletic stance and then move the rope side to side across your body as fast and explosively as you can. We typically perform these for short, quick bursts of time (5-12sec). The goal again is to move as quick and explosively as possible.
Done correctly, you should feel your upper body, obligues and even your hips and legs in new ways. Perfect for boxers, kickboxers and any fighter that wants to increase the speed, power and endurance of their strikes.
3. Suitcase Carries
Suitcase carries are a great variation of the traditional Farmer Carry. The only difference is that you carry weight on one side at a time. The goal is to stay tall, head up and do not allow the weight to pull you over that direction. Fighting this urge to lean, is what makes this such an awesome CORE exercise.
You can use a dumbbell. kettlebell, sandbag, barbell or other weight, but simply pick it up, stand tall and walk for distance or time. This is not only challenging for the core, but also the grip and many other areas of the body.
The CORE has to be strong in a variety of ways, if you want to fight and perform at the highest levels. These three exercises are just 3 of many, but they will hopefully challenge your body in some new ways, make you stronger and help you get the edge over the competition.
Corey Beasley is co-owner of Innovative Results gym in Costa Mesa, CA and also runs a “fight” specific strength and conditioning website called FightCampConditioning.com. He coaches a variety of combat athletes from UFC, Bellator, Invicta Fighting Championships, King of the Cage, ADCC and more.