Preparing for a fight should never be a solo mission. A training partner can push you physically and mentally, similar to how you will be challenged in the cage. (Learn how to train like an MMA fighter.)
As a coach, it’s great to see two athletes push each other to the limit and feed off each other’s energy. Their innate competitiveness will fuel their desire to win, even when they are learning a new technique or lifting in the weight room.
You and your training partner will go through the same process. You can lean on each other for moral support and motivation while dishing out a good old-fashion butt kicking in the cage. (Try this Rampage-inspired workout.)
Next time you’re in the gym with a partner, try this “Bad Partner MMA Workout.” Your “bad partner” will apply resistance or loading to each exercise. Perform each exercise for 60 seconds, then switch roles. Repeat the circuit four times, then try the bonus drills.
Note: Choose a partner who is as driven as you and who will push you further than you would push yourself. Do not forget to reciprocate!
The Bad Partner Workout
Resisted Sprints: Place a thick resistance band around your waist and have your partner hold it behind you. Sprint as fast as you can while your partner attempts to slow you down.
Wheelbarrow Walks with Push-Ups: Start in a push-up position. Have your partner grab your ankles so you are now in an incline position. Begin walking with your hands. As you walk, your partner yells “Push-Up” at random times. When you hear your partner’s cue, stop and do five Push-Ups. Continue walking.
Physioball Plank with Kicks: Assume a plank position with your elbows and forearms on a physioball. Have your partner attempt to kick the ball out from under you. The goal is to provide a slight disturbance, not to launch the ball. For an additional challenge, change the power and frequency of the kicks.
Piggyback Ride: Carry your partner on your back without putting him down. Start off running and slow down if needed, but don’t stop until the time is up.
Kettlebell Swing to Power Bomb: Perform Kettlebell Swings with your partner standing in front. After two or three reps, have your partner push the bell down when it reaches its high point to force you to decelerate the weight.
Sled Pull and Push: Load weight plates on a sled and have your partner stand or sit on top of it. Pull the sled any way that you can (e.g., hand over hand, double pull) for 20 yards. Then push it back to the start. Time each other—the loser does 10 Burpees.
Tire Fight: Stand a tractor tire on its side and place your hands on the tire. Have your partner assume the same position on the opposite side. Take turns pressing the tire as hard as you can toward your partner. Press it back and forth for a 10-15 reps, or until one of you taps out.