How to Train Like an MMA Fighter | STACK
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Train MMA Style With the TRX Rip Trainer

September 22, 2011

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.)

Rotation
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.

Power
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.

Metabolism
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

  • Assume staggered stance with left foot forward, facing away from mount
  • Hold Rip Trainer at chest level with shoulder-width grip and Rip Cord at left arm
  • Forcefully extend left arm forward and step with left foot to perform jab
  • Flex left arm in controlled manner and step back with left foot to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified time; perform set with right arm

Rip Punch

  • Assume staggered stance with left foot forward, facing away from mount
  • Hold Rip Trainer at chest level with shoulder-width grip and Rip Chord at right arm
  • Forcefully extend right arm forward and drive through right hip to perform punch
  • Flex right arm in controlled manner to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified time; perform set with left arm

Rip Pitchfork

  • Assume quarter-squat stance facing mount
  • Hold Rip Trainer in front with shoulder-width grip; hold bottom of Rip Trainer with left hand, with right hand grasping near Rip Chord
  • Simultaneously extend hips and knees
  • Rotate through core and flex right shoulder to perform pitchfork motion
  • Lower in control to start position
  • Repeat for specified time; perform set with left arm

Rip Windmill

  • Assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than hip-width with mount to side
  • Hold Rip Trainer in front with shoulder-width grip; hold bottom of Rip Trainer with left hand, with right hand grasping near Rip Chord
  • Lower into quarter-squat and rotate core in one, fluid motion to create circle with Rip Trainer
  • Repeat for specified time; perform set on opposite side

In the above video, Holman demonstrates each exercise and shows you some advance moves to make them even more effective.

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
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