Strength Training for MMA Fighters

We’ve mentioned before that there’s an importance for developing both speed and strength while training for MMA matches. Speed is a technique utilized for striking, punching and moving around an opponent. Whereas strength is the amount of force your body is able to exert during a takedown on an opponent during a match.

So, how do fighters train specifically for strength? Here’s some of the most popular techniques that help develop the strength necessary for MMA fighting.

Lower Body

Sometimes sticking to the basics is really all you need for great lower body strength training. This includes exercises like:

  • Squats: used for both strength and speed, and can be incorporated into daily workouts by using varying sized weights, squats are one of the best techniques to give fighters the power they need.
  • Dead Lifts: this can be done by picking up heavy objects and is great for honing grip strength and overall pulling strength.
  • Lunges: the lunge exercise helps develop strength required for standing on one leg at a time in the ring. These also helps build power for kicks and takedowns.

Upper Body

The strongest MMA fighters have strong muscles all the way from the upper to the lowest parts of their backs. Exercises that help benefit a fighter’s back include:

  • Pull-Ups and Rows: pull-ups focus on the upper to mid back and rows focus heavily on the lower back. Adding these two exercises to daily routines in conjunction with one another will benefit a fighter’s back as a whole.
  • Bench Press: a quicker way to increase upper body strength, the bench press serves as one of the more popular exercises for fighters looking to get ahead in the ring.
  • Push-Ups: when done properly, push-ups benefit a fighter’s arms, back and core. This back to basics exercise is a good one to keep in the mix.

Full Body

Many exercises serve multiple purposes, and many facilities utilize old school methods to help athletes develop the power they need through full body exercise regimes. Some of these go-to exercises include:

  • Tire Flips: we’re not talking about flipping a bike tire or the one on your car. This exercise involves flipping large tractor tires as a way to build the strength necessary to takedown an opponent.
  • Odd-Object Carries and Throws: grab something bulky and that has weight to it and go for a long walk or pick it up and throw it over your head. This could be objects like sandbags, heavy bags, medicine balls or odd objects like a keg. This helps build strength from carrying weight and also endurance to withstand holds from an opponent.
  • Sledgehammer Training: hitting a sledgehammer on a tire may seem like a simple task, but it helps develop the power needed for striking, rotating, holding a grip and overall mobility.