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MMA Core…Getting Down To The Core Essentials!

MMA Core…Getting Down To The Core Essentials!

mma core, strength and conditioning programs

It has been a tremendous week. First of all, I just got back from Las Vegas. That’s all I need to say about that. Now on to today’s topic which involves the MMA core. It has been no secret that my involvement within the sport of MMA has been growing stronger over the past year or so. I mean I train all types of athletes, but the sport of MMA has been sort of dropped into my lap and I’ve got to tip my hat to God for helping me out with this one. It has been a great experience, but it has also been a rather surprising one in terms of the observations I have made through my strength coaching eyes. Just keep reading and you’ll get where I’m going with this one!

Evaluating The Needs…

Being a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) I have a plethora of information available to me in terms of sports related studies, physical recommendations, and many other strategies related to human performance. Man that word plethora came out of nowhere! Anyways, the point is that the information is abundant and I am constantly reading up and studying in order to apply my Jedi skills to the athletes that I get to work with on a weekly basis. Such skills involve Jedi mind tricks…

Well, it’s pretty close to being that smooth. Now having said this because of the relative newness of the sport of MMA there is only a limited amount of data available on the studies of the sport as it relates to the physical demands of fighting. All I (or anyone for that matter) can do is go on what I know and try to evaluate the needs of the athlete the best I can and apply these physical needs to their training.

Now if I am going to look at the profile of an MMA fighter I am going to look at what is known. For instance, most bouts involve a 5 to 1 work to rest ratio. Now what this means is that most rounds last 5 minutes followed by 1 minute of rest between rounds. For my Muay Thai fighters it is usually a 3 to 1 ratio. Either way both have their given demands and require the development of a significant level of work capacity. As a strength coach looking at this I would say that the fighter must have a significant amount of cervical spine stability in order to withstand hits and of course the ever demanding clinch which you don’t want any part of from a Thai fighter.

MMA Overload

Additional needs involve the development of a significant mma core center for the purpose of grappling, punching, and kicking. The fighter must have this mma core stability while also being able to implement both thoracic and lumbar rotation for added punching and kicking power. The added mma core strength development also crosses over for the purpose of grappling enabling the fighter to get his opponent frustrated simply because he is too damn strong to be submitted during a grappling session! That’s what I like to do in helping my fighters.

Finally, the conditioning is a major part of being successful. There is obviously a significant amount of both aerobic and anaerobic needs during the fight. This is why I am all about developing a successful level of conditioning mostly through the demands of highly intensive strength bouts in the forms of circuits, supersets, or strength endurance type lifts. Performance and footwork related drills are also a part of developing the level of conditioning and quick response time of a fighter needing to compete at a high level. Whew…that now I can catch my breath!

RCK Authentic Kettlebells

Sports Specific vs. Athletic Specific…

I want to take a minute to discuss one of the observations that I was talking about at the beginning of this article that I made when I was first starting to work with the MMA community. I noticed that a surprising large part of the martial artists weren’t implementing the most desired lifts to develop a solid athletic foundation for having a functioning mma core.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a knock on my mma friends. This is also true in other sports, but I was just a bit surprised at the lack of knowing about more significant big core lifts with some of the competing athletes.

Of course, once I introduced them to my love affair with kettlebells, deadlifts, and cleans they quickly saw the benefits and rapidly started to focus on the development of a true mma core focused strength and conditioning program. This is when the competing fighters quickly noticed the Jedi mind tricks that I was using were really working! Well, at least as well as they could here in the real world.

The point is that without a strong and stable mma core center you can forget about racking up many wins, if any at all. MMA core development is crucial for fighting and athletic performance in general. Certain lifts that enable you to develop this must be implemented on a weekly and almost daily basis. Kettlebell swings, kettlebell snatches, deadlifts, and hang cleans are just a few that will ensure the development of athletic power, speed, grip strength, and a strong and stable mma core center to push you towards a greater chance of success.

Like I was saying earlier the surprise to me with some of these fighters was that they only wanted to practice the sport specific skills of their fighting without implementing any sound strength and conditioning program. To be clear let me explain the difference between sports specific and athletic specific. Sports specific is essentially what you do when you go and practice the sport you are involved in. For instance, when you practice hitting a baseball in the cage that is sports specific. On the other hand, when you slam a medicine ball, crank out some mean deadlifts, and just flat out lift heavy ass weight all over the gym you should be trying to do this in an athletic specific way. A way in which it improves you as an athlete for your sport. It helps you to hit the baseball without you having to spend all of your time in the cage. In terms of developing the mma core this works the same way.

Now granted the needs of what is athletic specific may vary from sport to sport, but the point is that the goal is to help give the athlete what he or she needs to perform at their highest level. It’s all Jedi mind tricks! 😉 If you are interested in learning more about these Jedi mind tricks and developing a strong powerful mma core center then please sign up to join my emailing list right here for FREE! Remember that most anyone can train hard, but only the champions train smart my friend.



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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