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Athletic Strength For MMA Brawling Skills

Athletic Strength For MMA Brawling Skills

1. Are you familiar with the concept of athletic strength training?

2. Are you currently incorporating any athletic strength training into your MMA fitness program?

3.Are you familiar with how to utilize ballistic movements in order to develop athletic strength for fighting and for sport?

4. Are you familiar with the unique and powerful training tactic known as Post Activation Potentiation?

So if you’re looking to get physically prepared for the ring in MMA you will want to work on enhancing your athletic strength training. Every sport has training needs and if those needs aren’t met well then you are selling yourself short and putting your brawling skills at risk!

Athletic Strength Training Skills

On any given day if you observed my approach on working with my students, or participated as a student yourself you would see an approach that has the same foundation in terms of a principled plan. There is no getting around mastering fundamental human movement. These movements should not only be specific for the purpose of building strength, but should also be specific for building strength that is specific to your sport or activity.

I’m a big believer in utilizing a number of training implements and variations of fundamental movements. I do this in order to stress your body to acquire the necessary traits for your sport or activity. If you’ve been following me and reading this blog for a while then you know that I always evaluate every student on Day 1 and everything is progressed forward from that day.

So what do I mean about different training implements and variations? For instance, let’s look at the main fundamental movement of the squat. Everybody on my watch must learn how to properly hinge at the hips in order to squat.

Because of this the hip hinge is at the very center of nearly every major exercise or drill that I would have you perform. If you really start to analyze this you’ll understand that hinging has to be done in varying degrees through many exercises. This fundamental movement is crucial for performing the squat motion, to deadlifting, and for more dynamic athletic strength training movements like the kettlebell swing.

This is always the key for getting someone’s strength training program up to speed for competition, particularly if we’re talking about an MMA, or martial arts event. Now as far as fight strength training I may vary the squat in my attempt to further drive the development of speed strength in the athlete as well. In other words, being able to perform the fundamental squat is crucial to being able to perform a more dynamic jump squat.

One should come before the other. Do you see where I’m going with this now? All the variations boil down to progressing out of a single movement.

Now in terms of fight strength training I’m big on all of the foundational movements, but I like to introduce more ballistic variations of these standard movements to create a more intense athletic strength training stress. I prefer to do this by developing a greater speed of movement with your body.  

For instance, I can go to the barbell and load up an 80 to 90% max for the back squat to produce a squat movement with a more absolute development of strength. However, if I wanted to add the speed component to this I would have you perform a jump squat.

Athletic Strength: Post Activation Potentiation (PAP)

Additionally I could also combine a heavy lift followed by an athletic movement such as a box jump, or sprint in order to produce significant athleticism for you as well. This is a training stimulus tactic known is post activation potentiation and it is one way to help you to produce some seriously explosive muscular strength.

Brandon Richey Fitness strength student Jeremy performing front squat for athletic strengthBrandon Richey Fitness strength student Jeremy performing high knee sprints in place for athletic strength

For the purpose of fight strength training and athletic performance fighters have to be able to produce explosive force within a short period of time, particularly when you are looking at striking with speed and precision and attempting to gain an opening on your opponent.

PAP is a great way of ensuring that you develop that much needed power and explosion for athleticism and fight performance. This training stimulus is a sinister experience and will scramble your nervous system like crazy, but you’ll find the benefits are truly profound.

The value of this is that one can take a very basic and fundamental movement and intensify it by either adding more weight or more speed to achieve the desired outcome. I would recommend performing and keeping the loaded heavier exercise at about the 3 to 7 repetition range. I would also recommend the follow drill to be an explosive movement such as a squat, or sprint which obviously involves the same group of excited muscles.

In other words, if you perform a heavy squat to potentiate the legs you’ll want the subsequent movement to be a squat jump or sprint involving the same group of muscles. Likewise if you perform a bench press you’ll want to the follow up movement to be a plyometric push up or a medicine ball throw activating the same muscle group to achieve this benefit.

Athletic Strength: The Takeaway

When looking to enhance your MMA fitness and fight performance the goal should be two fold. You obviously want to be well conditioned, but you should also want to be as good of an athlete as you can be.

What are you doing to improve your athletic strength for your MMA, or fitness program?

Do you have experience with speed and power development for athleticism?

Please post up and share in the comments below.

Also if you want to learn how to tie these together then make sure you check out my brand new 90 Day MMA Strength And Conditioning Program right here below! I guarantee it’ll get you into the best shape of your life, or I’ll give you your money back no questions asked.


Brandon Richey Fitness Strength student and MMA fighter Jeremy preparing to do a goblet squat with a kettlebellIt’s changing lives already!


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4 Point Hip Stretch Series: Squat Prep Your Hips

5 Unique Strength Drills To Enhance MMA Performance And Serious Fitness

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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