Since mixed martial arts requires so many capabilities all at once, strength training can get confusing. Knockout power is determined by how much force a fighter can produce during a punch. For a fighter to deliver a knockout blow, he or she needs high levels of maximal strength, relative strength and rotational power. (Don't forget, power comes from the ground up. Check out lower-body exercises to build punching power.)
Assuming technique is good, these components, combined with a well-placed punch, will take your opponent down. That is the essence of MMA knockout power. Here's a breakdown:
There are two types of strength. Maximal strength is absolute strength. If fighter A can bench press 400 pounds and fighter B can press 200, fighter A has a higher level of maximal strength.
Maximal strength is important, as it literally denotes how strong you are. The higher it is, the greater your capacity to produce force. (Preload your muscles to help build up this strength.)
Relative strength is a measure of how strong you are in relation to your body weight. If fighters A and B both bench 400 pounds, but fighter A weighs 160 and fighter B weighs 180, fighter A has a higher level of relative strength.
This is important, since MMA has weight classes. Strength training can lead to great muscle building gains, but if it unintentionally moves you to a higher weight class, it could be counterproductive. The goal is to be as strong as possible while staying in your weight class.
Power comes from the hips. All mixed martial artists are told this when they step into their first martial arts class. The reason is because you must rotate your body fast to produce power. The faster the rotation, the more force you will produce for your punches. Since total force is a product of your strength and speed, it's crucial to increase both.
Four-Week Workout Program
Now that you understand the components, here's a workout program to get you on the right track. Follow this program and watch your challengers crumble to the mat.
Train on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Start with Workout A on Monday and Workout B on Wednesday, and alternate between them for four weeks.
- Rotational Med Ball Throw - 3x3 each side
- Deadlift - 3x5
- Pull-Ups - 3x8
- Hip Thrust - 3x5
- Offset Push-Ups - 3x3 each side
- Bicep Curls - 3x8
- Box Jump With 90-Degree Twist - 3x3 each side
- Squat - 3x5
- One Arm Row - 3x6 each arm
- Bulgarian Split Squat - 3x6 each side
- Dumbbell Bench Press - 3x6
- Tricep Extensions - 3x8
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