Being back in MA for a few weeks with no clients or athletes to train, it’s a great opportunity for me to catch up on my writing and videos. I also have a TON of video that needs to be edited from this past year.This particular video was shot a couple months ago at Blackline Training Center in Carlsbad, CA. It shows Bellator fighter AJ Matthews trying out some Stroops bands. It includes three kicks; leg, body, and head, and each kick is shown with no resistance, the light resistance band, and the heavy resistance band. We also shot an upper body version with the left hook.

AJThe result of one of those kicks…

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t typically load skill-specific movements with MMA athletes. Adding external load, such as bands, tubing, dumbbells, etc., to their punches and kicks can alter their technique, affect their muscle memory, and throw off their timing, balance, and coordination. You can clearly see this with the heavy band on some of his kicks…his balance is challenged after every kick he throws. Now, all that being said, adding some light resistance to some of these movements is probably fine. Again, it’s not part of the program, but I don’t think throwing it in on occasion is a bad thing. Watch his form on the kicks and punches with the light band; he seems to stay solid and controlled throughout the movements.

As long as you build that strength base with fundamental, compound movements, throwing on some light resistance bands may be a good way to improve your sport-specific power.

About Doug Balzarini
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

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