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Plyometrics And Strength For MMA And Fitness

Plyometrics And Strength For MMA And Fitness

Early on in my athletic career when I competed in football and baseball…and later when I took up practicing Muay Thai there was one element of training that I noticed was a huge game changer for me and it gave me the confidence to realize that when I stuck to it I transformed the way I looked, the way I moved, and the way I performed. The combined element of plyometrics and strength is something I’ve used for both myself and to help hundreds of athletes including MMA fighters, Muay Thai, D-1 football, and tons of other people serious about fitness for over 17 years.

Plyometrics And Strength: Examing Power…

When looking at the evidence and years of experience with training athletes of all types there is one common denominator to their success. The most common element that allows them to achieve success within their sport is the development of power within the scope of their training. Yes, power is something that should be very attractive to both the strength coach/trainer and trainee.

There is no substitute for power when it comes to competing in most every sport. Plyometrics gives us an avenue for producing power, conditioning, and athleticism. Additionally when you combine plyometrics with strength it has an even greater impact on your overall fitness and performance. 

So what is power?  Essentially power is the combination of both strength and speed, otherwise characterized as force times velocity. So I know you’re probably thinking so Coach why are you telling me all of this, right?

Well obviously power is an essential element to your performance regardless of your sport, but this is particularly true if we’re talking about your performance in the ring. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s an essential element in enhancing strength as well, or more specifically a different type of strength that a lot of us strength coaches refer to as speed-strength.

In a nutshell plyometrics are terrific and have been proven so when combined with a properly and effectively planned strength program to achieve incredible physical results. Just to touch on a little history lesson in the early 1980’s researchers Russ Polhemus and Ed Burkhardt offered substantial evidence that when combining plyometrics with a smart strength training program that the results of the participant would go far beyond just solely implementing a weight training program alone.

This discovery and the implementation of such training models over the years has proven that the addition of plyometrics to strength is sort of the perfect marriage by training your body to express that strength athletically in the form of life and sport function. So at the end of the day plyometrics are a pretty big deal.

Plyometrics And Strength: Safety And Considerations…

First of all if you are considering adding plyometrics and strength into your strength and conditioning program for either MMA fight performance, or for a serious approach to fitness you should take the time to consult a professional. I would hope that it would be yours truly, but if that can’t work then a qualified NSCA Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) should be the person that you seek out. 

Now having said  all of this there are some things to consider before looking into engaging in a combined plyometrics and strength program. One big detail is your age. The age of the athlete is important because if  an athlete has not yet reached puberty then they should be discouraged from participating in any plyometric training that involves a high level of intensity.

This is kind of a big deal because with young kids still developing in the early stages their body’s may not be able to tolerate the stresses of overly intense plyometrics and strength combined. Once again, consult a professional before considering anything. Plyometrics and strength can be great for kids in terms of their fitness and athletic development for martial arts and sport as long as they are coached to follow a safe, sensible, and intelligent progression. 

In addition to this lifestyle factors, personal level of fitness, and experience also fall under the umbrella of considerations before moving forward with a plyometrics program. This is where the value of a credentialed strength coach (CSCS) can help with the next plan of action. 

If you’re an MMA fighter, or seasoned martial artist there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be engaged in a well thought out plyometric training program. This is something I’ve been able to do for many years over the course of my coaching career. I’ve experienced athletes literally transform their lives by incorporating a smart plyometric training regimen and this is something I’d strongly consider for you. 

Plyometrics And Strength: Getting Scientific

Ok, so I’m about to drop a little science on you with what plyometrics do to your body. The reason for this is to try and express to you what is happening and how it is beneficial to your MMA and fitness strength and conditioning program. I’m about to spit out some strength coach lingo and just wanted to give you a heads up so that you can hang in. I’ll try to make it as painless and as brief as possible. 

Basically muscular contractions involve concentric and eccentric actions. The concentric action is where the muscle tensions and contracts by shortening. In the eccentric action the muscle tensions and lengthens by stretching. In plyometrics the combination of these two actions are effectively harnessed by combining the rate at which these two things occur within a certain action. Are you still with me?

Plyometrics And Strength: The SSC…

So basically during a plyometric event the purpose is for you to obtain what is known as the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC). The SSC occurs within three very rapid phases. The first phase, or eccentric phase is initiated by lengthening and stretching the muscle, there is a brief period between (amortization phase), and then the concentric phase occurs by the muscle tensioning to shorten out of the eccentric phase. We can use plyometrics to further exploit this event as well as allowing the body’s nervous system to readily adapt for this through the implementation of this forceful movement. 

Once again you must have a sound level of absolute total body strength, core strength, and are able to recognize your own limitations before moving forward with this type of plan. However, if you are a trained fighter, or seasoned athlete and have met the criteria that I have presented here then you can start adding some serious pop to your training and you don’t even need any equipment to do it!

The beauty of plyometrics and strength is that they can just as easily be applied for both the upper and lower body. 


The Takeaway

Remember that plyometrics involve short burst powerful muscular contractions that are incredibly beneficial for MMA, sport, fitness and life performance. You want to be smart about your progression of applying plyometrics to your MMA and fitness program in terms of the intensity of the drills.

Are  you currently utilizing plyometrics in your MMA fitness program? 

Are you incorporating both upper and lower body plyometrics? 

Post up and share in the comment section here 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.


It’s changing lives already!

Brandon Richey Fitness strength student and Muay Thai National champion Jeff Perry performing a knee strike on Thai padsRelated Articles:

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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.

This Post Has 2 Comments
    1. Andrew no problem my friend. Anytime you are curious or have a question about any of this just feel free to drop one right here in the comment box. It helps to reach other readers as well. Thanks for the response Andrew. Hope all is well.

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