Power is king. Improve your power and dominate your competition with these simple and effective movements.

In this 6-part series, I will briefly explain the essential pieces that comprise a complete strength and conditioning program for a MMA athlete.

The six components are:
1. Dynamic Warm-Up
2. Explosive Movements
3. MMA-Specific Resistance Training
4. Flexibility
5. Energy System Development
6. Regeneration Time

While we may not include all six components into every single session, they are the foundation for our complete 8 to 10 week camp.

Power – The amount of work performed per unit of time, or simply: force X velocity. I don’t think there is any argument that training power is a very important piece in a complete program. A powerful body is crucial for the sport of MMA. To throw a punch, defend a takedown, shoot a single, land a head kick; these all require power to be effective. Try to take your opponent down slowly and without any power behind it and you’ll be face first on the canvas.

The placement of power movements in my routines will vary:
→ I will use them as part of a medicine ball circuit early in the workout (video below).
→ I will use them as a stand-alone exercise during a session.
→ I will use them at the end of a 2 or 3-exercise complex. An example would be a set of deadlifts followed by a set of broad jumps.

For this article, I’m going to show you a common medicine ball power circuit I do with many of my pro MMA fighters. In our system, we traditionally perform these movements right after our dynamic warm-up and before any other strength training or accessory training scheduled for the day.

For these movements I like to use non-bounce “dead” or “jam” balls as opposed to a bouncier, rubber ball. While I like bouncy medicine balls for their deceleration properties that is not my training goal in this phase. When we are talking about power, we want to focus on the speed of the movement. The dead balls allow us to really drive up the kinetic chain (feet to legs to hips to shoulders to hands) and throw the ball as hard as possible without having to worry about it coming back. For example, try a med ball rotational wall throw with the two different types of balls and see the difference for yourself. You cannot fully explode with the bouncy ball as you have to be concerned with rebound. Again, I love this deceleration concern. In fact, I use bouncy med balls, slosh pipes, Kamagon balls, etc., all the time in my sessions. I just simply don’t use them here. With the dead ball, you can focus on the task at hand, fully load the hips and glutes, and drive the ball into the wall to achieve maximum speed and power.

For sets and reps, I typically have the guys perform 6-10 reps, 2-3 sets. If we are scheduled to do some additional strength training (think squat, deadlift, presses, pull-ups) afterwards, I won’t go too heavy on the volume here. I have played with different set/rep schemes and this seems to work best for most of the guys. If we did 5-6 sets, some of the guys were a bit tired for the rest of the workout and if we just did 1 set, we really weren’t seeing too much carry over into the ring. Of course there are many other factors involved; the rest of the exercise program, the rest of their training for the week, nutrition, sleep, girlfriend, stress, (aren’t those last two the same thing?), etc. My point is what works best for one may not be ideal for the other. These are currently some of the top movements we are using with the medicine ball. Give them a shot and improve the power in your game.

About Doug
Doug Balzarini is currently the strength and conditioning coach for the Alliance MMA Fight Team in Chula Vista, CA. He is also the founder of DBStrength.com, which provides fitness-related articles and education. Previously, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 for 6 ½ years as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

A Massachusetts native, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business Management from Westfield State University. Since moving to San Diego he has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU, obtained an ACE Personal Trainer certification, the NSCA-CSCS certification, TRX instructor training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, Spinning certification, FMS training, and received his CPR/AED instructor status. He has also appeared in dozens of fitness videos, written numerous fitness articles, completed a MMA Conditioning Coach certification program and has competed in multiple grappling tournaments.

Prior to working at Fitness Quest 10, Doug worked for the American Council on Exercise as the Continuing Education Coordinator where he was responsible for managing over 400 continuing education providers.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.