T Nation

5 Exercises That a Fighter Needs


well, you do Horse no matter what martial art you come from

it builds root.

and not just that, I would suggest of the best exercises would be more of posture holding as well as punching with cables.

Analyze yourself every workout and understand what you can do to improve yourself.


Ummm.....no, you don't. Lots of arts don't involve traditional stance training.

Not that those type of exercises don't have any benefit, but combat is not waged in a static position like that. Developing proper mechanics and structure is important, but there are better drills to do it than the type you mention above.

Also, punching with cables isn't a great idea in my experience. Yeah, if you are already well versed in proper technique it can help you develop strength/endurance in your shoulders. But, then so can things like bench presses, plyometric push-ups, etc... which will not screw with your motor patterns.

Power doesn't come from the arms anyhow, it comes from the weight of the bodymass accelerating into the target through a correctly aligned body structure. Yes, this requires some muscle strength (and muscle mass will obviously add to the weight of the body), but it's far less than most people think.

That I completely agree with. Hopefully you also have a coach who will do the same.


i was gonna write one but this asshole already said everything i wanted to say. :stuck_out_tongue: jk .... the only thing ill add to this is REAL combat experience. e.g. sparring with many different styles, scenario fighting, 2 vs 1 3 vs 1, street fight... im speaking in terms of general fighting, not just sanctioned cage matches. theres nothing better than the real thing.


Hahah, I don't know about you buddy but I could think of a lot of better things than trying to fight 3 on 1. Shit sucks.


Getting the riot gear on and going 2 on 1 all out with helmets is what we call good times out here in the bushes.

Too bad the gear is so expense. you can even take a rifle butt to the face in the helmet, dazes you though.



could you give descriptions of those exercises please?
I am unfamiliar with some of the terms.


The reason I tell people to do the horse stance as much is because it makes them lighter on their feet.

I believe being light on the feet can make you a better MMA fighter too.


@ Sentoguy and Avocado:
You guys are right, but you can use the cables/bungee cables for improving chain punches (various gung fu styles), which are thrown with very little power derived from the hips. Also, some drills, like a mock shoulder throw against bungee resistance are nice exercises for explosive hip flexing.


yea, try 8 vs 1. and they arent your training partners.


been there. Done that. Got that broken tooth to prove it.


Sure you can, and for things like shoulder throws, or practicing shots (wrestling) I think that elastic resistance can be good.

But, from what I understand about the mechanics behind proper chain punching, using cables/elastic resistance wouldn't help too much. Maximal speed (and according to some power as well) is best developed through relaxation, and using added resistance just screws that up. Also, my understanding is that chain punches pretty much derive their power almost entirely from the hips (though it's a different type of mechanics than the rotational hip movement you see in a lot of styles). The speed of the hands simply increases the amount of force that is generated.

That's not the best video I've seen on chain punching, but it pretty much gets the point across.


Well, they are part of Charlie's "Gladiator" routine, and I'm not really at liberty to go into any details about it. But I suppose giving a brief description of a couple of those drills wouldn't hurt (Shihan, if you're reading this I hope you don't mind me giving people a little taste of what you've got to offer).

Resisted bear crawl- basically you get into a regular bear crawl position and either have someone lay down behind you grabbing your ankles, or have them stand in front of you with their hands on your shoulders. You then do your best to bear crawl as fast as possible, while they provide resistance (the stronger you are, the more resistance they give).

Wheel barrow hops- get into a wheel barrow position, but instead of walking, you do explosive push-ups and hop yourself along

Lysak has a ton of awesome conditioning drills and routines (honestly I think they're some of the best stuff out there for combat athletes) in addition to the above.

Here's a video with a little taste of some of the drills/routines/crazy training that Lysak does (and has his athletes do). Also, the other guy in the video is Master Sargeant Mike Cutone.

You can also find out more about their programs at:


2-Some kind of squat(i'd go with front squat or some single leg squat)
3-Chins or pullups.
4-Standing overhead presses.
5-Some full body exploseive move, snatch, clean and jerk, maybe with DBs.
6-Hill sprints.(sorry its 6, not 5)


It's a very interesting point you mention: Gung Fu guys of all sorts who are into chain punches/straight blast will tell you that it's power is tremendous and comes from the hips. They usually proceed to show you the one inch punch.

The thing is, it's simply not true.
A single blow in that fashion can be produced from the hips but not a rapid flurry of blows- which is the reason for doing chain punches.

Quick chain punch combos are practically like a frat curler - all arm. That's why using elastic bungie resistance (pull as well as push) mixed with bag training in the same session is beneficial for achieving that often cited 10 punches per second- aim (at least among Wing Chun people), in my opinion.


Well, I guess it depends on who you ask, and what you mean by "all arm".

According to Hawkins Cheung (Bruce's training partner for years while he was studying under Yip Man), Patrick Strong (one of Lee's original students), Joel Weinberg (one of Oshima's black belts) and several other high level WC guys you can still utilize body mechanics (hip power) during rapid fire chain punching.

Also, if you understand correct body mechanics then you know that punching power can never really come from the arm. It must come up from the ground, through the legs, through the hip, up the spine and down the arm into the target. No power actually comes from the hip. The hip is just one of several links in the chain that transfers power from the ground into the target.

If you know how to correctly position your body (structure) you can produce substantial (or even tremendous) power like this, even though to the casual onlooker, it would look like you were only punching with your arm(s). From there it's about knowing how to maintain this structure while continuing to move forward into your opponent (which adds weight, aka even more power, into the punches).

Finally the one inch punch isn't really an example of "hip" power per se (though the hip is a crucial component of it), but more so short power through proper mechanics.


Ok, not trying to start a flame war or anything, but am I the only one that finds this rather odd? So you are writing an article for a magazine (which seems to imply that as the author you are the expert), you come on an internet forum for advice and then the exercises you come up with on your own are skipping rope and push-ups?? I don't know, maybe it's just me....


That is exactly what I dispute. Rapid chain punches do not tap transfered "hip power".

Of course you can punch only with your arms. It sounds like you dismiss that as impossible. If you're lying on you back, you're punching only with your arms (well perhaps you can add some twist through abs and shoulder movement but that's about it)
Same goes for a standing fighter: You SHOULD use your legs and hips properly. Most fighters do this to a smaller or greater degree of success. But you can do it without or to a very insignificant degree.
Now chain punches are very fast.
You don't actually believe someone punching that fast can us hip & leg drive to support his punches? e.g. It's ALL arms.

or here, the way most guys tend to practise their chain punches-
standing still like a pole.

However, if you look at this link, you see that this wingchun practitioner punches at a much slower rate of fire. He can magnify his punching power with his lower body.

It's just an example I've personally experienced so many times.
"Yeah, looks fast, but has it stopping power?"
"Look here; Bruce's inch punch, it's the way we transfer power to our punches!"


I think that sticking to good compound movements and some strong man movements is the way to go.

Not to start a flame war here but here goes. I love push ups and I think they are one of the best and most underrated exercises out there,

However I do feel that knuckle push ups are bad choice. Simply put if you cut or open up your knuckles, you can't train or fight properly because those cuts take a while to heal up.


Well, I guess experiences differ.

Rich Ryan (who once ran the largest WC school in the states) taught us a technique called an "impact push" during one of the iCAT camps. Basically, if you get your structure down you can deliver a lot of force into a target with movement from only your arms. Yet, the force isn't actually coming from your arms, your arms just transfer it into the target.

Several of the other guys who I mentioned, who are master level WC/JKD/martial arts guys, also adamantly insist that it is possible to learn how to maintain this structure, even during movement/combat. By learning how to do this, you can learn to develop a lot more power in rapid fire chain punches than most people would think.

Well, yeah, if you are lying on your back then only your arms are supplying the force, but even then it still comes from the ground up.

From a standing position, even if you purposely try to punch powerfully with only your arm power, you cannot (or at least you can't generate any force in this manner, and you will literally be pushed backwards). In order to generate force, you must have something to push off of (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction), unless you back is against an immoveable object (wall/floor/etc...) then the only thing you have to push off of is the ground.

I agree that you can do this to a greater or less degree though. The lesser the degree, the more you will be pushed back, as you have no support. The greater the degree the more force will go into the target and the more it'll be displaced.

Chain punches are not the most powerful punches, not even close. But if you understand correct structure, they can still deliver decent amounts of force into the target. No, you can't rotate at the hips/knees/ankles/spine like a lot of punching styles teach. But as long as your structure is solid, you can deliver quite a bit of force.

Really all the rotation does is to help transmit maximal force from the ground into the target, it in and of itself doesn't produce force.

The first video that you posted was very low level WC. The guy throwing those chain punches was off balance most of the time and yeah, he has no idea how to generate force during chain punching. I do like the fact that he was actually practicing against a resisting opponent though, props to him for that.

The second one was fast, but it's pretty tough to tell whether or not he understands correct structure. It didn't look like he did to me, but since he's hitting an immoveable target, it's impossible to know for certain.

The third one would not be "chain punching" from my experience. Yeah, you are "chaining" punches together, but those are just combinations. In WC/JKD "chain punching" refers to a "straight blast" or rapid fire straight line punching.

I understand what you are saying, and no chain punches don't necessarily involve the same body mechanics as a one inch punch (though you could potentially start chain punching and then throw a full power punch using those mechanics into the chain).

My damn computer has been down recently and I'm still running it off of a live cd, so I can't view anything but flash videos (which luckily youtube is). As a result I am limited to what videos I can find on the web that would demonstrate how to properly deliver chain punches with power (not to mention that it's not something you see all that often, so even then it might be hard to find).

But here is a video demonstrating just how powerful WC structure can be if mastered. Check out the part towards the end with Sigung Tsui Seung Tin. What he placed on the scale was a mahjongg piece (to really minimize his balance) and the weight on the scale went up dramatically the more the other guy tried to push him backwards.

The second page is from Joel Weinberg's site. Like I said, I can't view the videos atm, but I've watched them before and Joel is incredible with his structure abilities. You can also check out the picture gallery to see some of his structure demonstrations.


Now, like I said before, I'm not claiming that chain punching is the most powerful type of punching, far from it. All I'm saying is that if you really know what you're doing, it's not just the "patty cake" style punching that most people think either.


The problem with the reduction in power (at least from a Wing Tsun) stand point is the target moves back ward. At that point you need to close the distance to maintain power. a Moving forward WT practitioner usually has a tremondous amount of power in their chain punches. Also IIRC WT believes the power comes from the adbuctions of the knees, not the hips. Other styles I can't comment on.