Mixed martial arts fighters are among the toughest athletes out there — the sport works every muscle, and then some. To be successful, you need a lot of toughness, brute strength, and the techniques to outfight your opponent. But you also need exceptional speed- fights are won or lost in an instant — and the endurance to keep it up for an entire match.
So here are seven simple drills that don’t require any fancy equipment, just a partner, some weights, a jump rope and a flight of stairs. They may seem easy, but don’t be fooled, each requires serious effort and dedication. But if you put in the time, you’ll soon be the fastest fighter in the ring, ready to roll through the final bell.
Running stairs is terrific for conditioning — why do you think that scene from Rocky is so famous? But because MMA is so physically demanding, you won’t be running up stairs — you’ll be sprinting up them.
Time yourself, so you can keep track of your improvement. When you’re feeling confident, try wearing a weight vest, or carrying hand held weights- there’s no better way to work on being quick and explosive.
Have your partner lie on his back with his feet planted on the ground. Lie on top of him so your chests are together, and keep your arms behind your back. Use your legs to turn in a circle, and your chest to keep your partner on the ground. If you don’t have a partner to practice with, you can work with a medicine ball.
The best part is that you’ll develop the muscles to keep your opponent pinned, and have your arms free to do some damage.
This one is deceptively simple, but if you work hard at it, you’ll see the benefits in terms of speed and agility. Mark a cross on the ground and jump back and forth over the lines. Switch up the pattern-move back and forth, side to side, and diagonally.
This one may seem silly, but it’s effective. Go through you kicks, punches and grabs at full speed, preferably in front of a mirror so you can keep an eye on your form. Try it in three or five minute sets, to mimic the rounds of a real fight.
You may associate jumping rope with little girls, but it’s also one of the best ways the pros get in shape. It can take some getting used to, so if you’re new to the rope, start slowly and with your feet together. Jump only as high as necessary to clear the rope.
As you progress, mix things up- jump on one foot, move forwards and backwards and side to side, and even do some spins. You’ll soon see the results in faster footwork, key to outmaneuvering your opponent.
This four part drill will work on both your form and your speed for any move. Start by doing ten reps of a kick, for example. Do them slowly, focusing on perfecting your form every time. Rest, then do another set, this time faster, but still with an eye towards perfect form. For the third set, kick as fast as you can in good form. Finally, do another ten, going even faster, but disregarding form.
In a tough fight, you’ll spend a lot of time on the ground grappling with your opponent. To best him, you’ll need the strength in your hips and legs and the endurance to keep it up through the last round.
For open guard circles, lie on your back and move your legs in cirlces, then alternate, pumping them out and in. Strap on some ankle weights to take things up a notch.
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