MMA fighters are some of the most powerful and best conditioned athletes in the world. They must be able to produce crushing punches, kicks and throws, while withstanding their opponent’s attacks for three five-minute rounds.
In any sport, it’s essential to train how you compete. The closer your workout mirrors your sport, the better you will perform. Pete Holman, TRX Rip Training development director and former U.S. Taekwondo champion, has developed a TRX Rip Trainer MMA workout that closely simulates a mixed martial arts fight. The best part? You can do it at home, in a gym or in the octagon.
The workout incorporates four exercises—the Rip Jab Punch, Rip Punch, Rip Pitchfork and Rip Windmill—that mimic fundamental MMA skills, like punching, throwing and absorbing a blow. Performed with the Rip Trainer, it enhances rotation, boosts power and increases metabolism (the body's ability to produce and use energy).
Although the Rip Trainer MMA workout is designed for fighters, it is appropriate for athletes playing football, hockey, lacrosse and other high contact sports. Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk performs MMA-inspired workouts in the off-season to improve his explosive power, hand speed, footwork and flexibility. (Watch Hawk perform his functional MMA workout at D1 Sports Training.)
Almost every MMA skill involves rotation of the core muscles, including the hips, abs and low back muscles. Try punching with just your arm; then punch again, driving with your hips and core, and notice the difference in power.
When you do Holman's four exercises, the asymmetrical resistance (an uneven load affecting one side of the body) created by the Rip Trainer will challenge your core rotators. The result? A stronger and balanced core so you can more powerfully rotate into a punch or throw, or stabilize against your opponent’s body blows.
Speed kills in MMA, which is why power (amount of force produced in as little time as possible) is more important than absolute strength.
Holman’s Rip Trainer workout excels in this area by engaging the power-generating lower body and core with full body and explosive movements. In addition, the exercises challenge your muscles in ways that closely match fundamental MMA skills, so you become more powerful and efficient in these movement patterns.
Your conditioning workouts should match the demands of your sport. This ensures that your energy systems and muscles can power you through a game or a match without succumbing to fatigue.
Holman designed the Rip Trainer MMA workout to directly reflect the demands of an MMA fight. Three intense, five-minute circuits will develop your metabolism so you can deliver powerful blows and be at your peak throughout every fight.
Perform the following four exercises in circuit fashion. Do each one for 30 seconds per side (one minute total), rest 15 seconds and move on to the next exercise. Repeat the circuit three times.
Rip Jab Punch
In the above video, Holman demonstrates each exercise and shows you some advance moves to make them even more effective.