MMA requires a variety of skill, strength and conditioning. Fighters need to be quick on their feet,
powerful on the takedowns, and strong on the ground. This can take its toll on any athlete, so its
important to build a strong foundation in order to stay ahead of your competition. Here are 5 of my
favorite exercises to build stronger fighters.
1. Farmer Carries
While this may seem simple, it is incredibly simple and effective for building strength throughout the
body. For this exercise, pick up two heavy dumbbells, stand tall and walk. Simple, yes. Easy, no. Done
correctly, this will challenge your posture, core, grip, hips and legs.
Lots of people struggle with proper squat technique, but we have found that this variation really helps
just about everyone squat correctly. Pick up a kettlebell or dumbbell, both hands supporting the weight
at chest height, elbows underneath the hands. The weight should be close to the chest, shoulder
blades pulled back and together. Feet are about shoulder width with the toes slightly pointed out.
Once in position, simply squat down as low as you can, under control, elbows just inside of knees and
then stand back up. By having the weight in front, in tends to help counter balance and helps people
squat with a straight spine.
Developed by Bret Contreras, the hip thruster has become one of our favorite glute building exercises.
Perfect for any athlete, we have found these incredibly beneficial for our grapplers. These can be done
as bodyweight only, or with added resistance over the hips. Shoulders on a bench, knees bent, weight
over hips and drive thru the heals to raise the hips toward the ceiling. Nothing else targets the glutes
like this exercise.
This is a simple single arm, dumbbell row, but we like to add Fat Gripz to the handles to tax the forearms
and hands. By increasing the load on the hands and forearms, the fighter will be better prepared for
controlling the wrists or finishing a submission during a fight. Plus, we get all the benefits of rowing and
5. Reverse Crawls.
Fighters typically have poor posture, weak upper backs and are prone to shoulder problems. We have
found that a simple reverse crawl helps develop strength throughout the entire shoulder complex,
without causing problems. It may be simple, but this is one tough exercise. Stay on the toes, keep the
knees close to the ground, hips still and crawl backwards for distance or time. Brutal!
The ropes have become a popular piece of conditioning equipment over the past couple years. I
like them because they provide a unique stimulus to the body and allow us to move quickly, without
much risk of injury. One of my favorite drills for fighters is the sidewinder. Standing in a good athletic
position, with a little slack on the ropes, the athletes sweeps their hands back and forth across the front
of their bodies as fast as possible. This is a great drill for rotational strength, speed and endurance.
Corey Beasley is co-owner of Innovative Results gym in Costa Mesa, CA and is the founder of
FightCampConditioning.com. He has been coaching for 16 years and works with some of the best
fighters from the UFC, Bellator, ADCC and more.