Why Your MMA Workouts Should “Pull” Away From the “Norm”

One of the biggest misconceptions when designing an MMA Workout is that all you have to worry about is what kinda qualities to develop.

(In other words, do you work on building strength, speed, cardio, endurance, etc?)

Now, while that question is of vital importance – you should know that being in shape can make or break any fighter – there is something else you should worry about, and that’s what kind of exercises you’re doing?

However, I’m not talking about that quasi ‘sport specific’ crap you see peddled out there. You know – those stupid, made-up movements where you replicate the stuff you do in the cage in the gym. Stupid exercises where you mimic punching, or holding somebody down, or that other junk. All that stuff is not only stupid-looking, but most of it is pretty useless when it comes to actual fighting. In fact, many times, it’ll completely screw up your mechanics and could actually make you a worse fighter.


Instead, I’m talking about making sure you target movement patterns, motions, and certain muscle groups. Building these things in a general sense is good – then when you do your skills work, drilling, and sparring, your body learns to apply all those new qualities (that strength, speed, etc – with the correct musculature) to your actual fighting.

See the difference?

When designing strength and power workouts, most strength coaches center upper body workouts around pushing exercises – stuff like the bench press, incline bench, or overhead press. This is because those exercises all use multiple muscle groups, can build a ton of muscle, and you can move a bunch of weight when doing them (which means you get stronger).

However, if you’re a fighter, there’s a better way to do it.

See, many combat sports – including MMA, wrestling, submission grappling, and more – have a very big pulling element to them. There’s a lot of it in grappling, sinking in submissions, and ground control. Even the clinch in your stand-up game is largely pulling.
You pull a helluva lot more than you push…

That’s when why I put together MMA workouts, I make pulling exercises a focus of workouts. You’ll see a lot of pullups, chins, rows, and other pulling movements – for max weight, max reps, and as ‘assistance’ type exercises.

In fact, there are entire phases in which even the lower body workouts utilize a lot of pulling work – stuff like deadlifts, high pulls, rack pulls, cleans, and more. Sure, these exercises all target your lower body, but they still make you pull – building a strong and powerful back, neck, traps, lats, arms, etc.

All stuff you need to be a competitive fighter. And all stuff that many other workouts (even good ones for other sports) leave out.

(And I sure as hell don’t want you doing any of that “hey, look at me – I do this dumbass-looking exercise that’s gonna screw up my MMA skills technique and maybe even get me injured because I’m a fighter!” type junk.)

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