T Nation

5 Exercises That a Fighter Needs


In no order...

  • Jumping rope.

  • Knuckle pushups. (I do the clap variation, except I don't clap for safety reasons, and I switch to regular knuckle pushups once fatigue sets in for the same reasons.)

  • Clean and jerk

  • Rope climbing

  • Swimming

Something like that would be a good list imo.


THis might not be good for the article but I don't do any of that shit.

For real gaining strength is gaining strength no matter how you put it.
You stick with main lifts.
Squats, deads, lunges, stiff leg deads, 1 leg squats, rdl's...you do things that build up strength in your posterior chain (hams, GLUTES, back etc).
That's it for legs really.

Then upper body anything can be done.
Pull-ups, chin-ups, curls, extensions, bench presses, incline presses.

Then you put things into perspective to make that strength "useful". Don't take this term to another level please lol.

You add in plyo's or explosive movements to EXPRESS YOUR STRENGTH BETTER.
Jump squats, speed squats, db swings, various jumps, leaps bounds.

You do this to make yourself MORE EXPLOSIVE with the strength you have, so it transfers over well.

Finally upper body explosive work in my opinion isn't quite neccessary if your hitting pads/bag because that is a plyometric/explosive movement already.

To make all that new strength AND explosiveness from the EXPLOSIVE work transfer to kicks.

Well you have to practice enough kicks, knee's to make that transfer over to it.

For real that's all there is to it in my opinion.

Conditioning...run and SPAR (what better way to get condition for a fight then to actually fight?), and if you like to do some circuits crazy stuff..go for it..but I wouldn't go overboard with it. Perhaps once a week to mix things up and still get a good condition workout.
Because if your practicing kicks, punches, knees etc enough (on the pads etc) you won't need it.

For my fight I didn't do anything other than SPAR a lot, hit pads everyday, bag everyday.
And lift a few times a week to maintain strength for fight.




Dude what is the deal on necroposting???

  • especially with fuggingbullshit*


haha i had no clue this was an old thread...don't disturb the spirits!!


Me neither, it was on top of the page when I answered, what the hell?


hahahaha. I have seen T-Nation do a "back to the future" once in awhile and have threads from months ago pop up- like a screen shot from weeks back appears and they're the only threads you can access.

No harm.


? Your concept of stance training is odd to say the least. FWIW you generate power from stances and dissipate it with lunges. Stances should be trained deep (like squats -- remember how we keep telling people to squat deep???) for power, but realistically, your stances will be no wider than normal walking stride and probably no deeper than a few inches, with the occasional frantic bob and weave. :o) What determines what stance you have is how you draw power from the ground. This depends on which foot (or feet) draws power and angle of hips to target. E.g., western boxers tend to fight in a front stance. TKD guys like to fight in a modified back stance to free up the front leg. If you think stances don't work, you've never gotten hit by a boxer.

Now, most of the stupidity with stances is because an awful lot of classical MA-ers just don't understand them. For instance, how many times have we seen systems where everyone gets in a horse stance and punches? I'd walk out of a school at that point because that is the worst angle to use a horse stance. It is a bit better side to side and totally rocks straight down. Grapplers use it a lot for getting weight on people, e.g.. It also works for things like squats and therefore certain throws. Actually, a lot of older systems had grappling components that were incorporated into forms (or kata). With the rise of sport karate people forgot what the forms did, even most of the so-called masters. If you know a kata with weird strikes, chances are excellent you are looking at escapes, joint twists or takedowns.

Anyway, thought I'd stick in my $.02.

As for exercises, the question is goofy. Oh, it will make a great fitness article and you can put pretty much anything in there you want. A beginner needs a completely different approach than a seasoned pro. This is the fallacy of doing something like the "Chicago Bears Workout". Those guys are in great shape and are addressing some specific need. On top of it, which martial art? Kung fu wants to develop that funky grace but a Muay Thai fighter is trying to turn into a tank.

-- jj


I was using the term in regard to traditional "stance" (i.e. horse, bow and arrow, cat, etc...) training. I'm well aware that all fighting systems use some form of fighting stance and that some of them are very effective.

Practicing low stances (which I have done in the past when I did some TMA's) is good for developing endurance in the legs, flexibility in the hips (depending on the stance), and balance. So, I'm not saying that they're useless.

But plenty of boxers, kickboxers, MMA fighters and RBSD practitioners don't do low stance work, yet have plenty strong legs, can generate plenty of force and can definitely fight. So, not all systems train stances in the traditional sense, which is what I meant when I said that.

Interesting points.


I was always under the impression that throwing tons of punches from a horse stance was to build endurance in the legs and was more of a test of will and mental fortitude than anything else.

I never heard anyone in my old dojo say that you should immediately drop down and throw punches from the horse stance... actually the advocated the sanchin stance, which is pretty solid for punching.

And the dojo that i was on definitely had a good amount of grappling and throwing aspects. Good teachers still remember.

And- for my part, all your power comes from your feet. if your footwork ain't right you may as well go home.


Ok, but still, why teach people something wrong? It is fine to simplify techniques for beginners. Problem is that I have seen a fair number of TMA-ers who will try and punch you from a horse stance at some point because, well, they've thrown a large percentage of all their punches from that position. And their teacher didn't pop up and say "Sorry but this is bogus. We might throw 300 punches that way at the beginning of class, but we really didn't mean it."

Footwork is good. More people should do it, but don't -- it's sort of like eating all your veggies for the day. Yes we all should do it, but we'll start in earnest tomorrow. Promise. The most dangerous part of a boxer is his feet, as they say.

-- jj


Oh I agree. I had many similar issues with TMA's. However, keep in mind that they are more situational than sport arts. There's alot of instances in TMA's where you throw punches from your hip. Will you do that sparring? No. Would you do it if something suddenly broke out at a bar you were at? Much more likely.

Many things that aren't applicable to an MMA match are very applicable to the street.

Footwork is everything. That's part of the reason that I stopped the TMA I was doing- once I learned (from an MMA guy, ironically) what footwork was, I didn't want to hear anymore about anything else.


Jacob's Ladder.


It depends complete on your fighting style but for the most part I'd go with and you'd cover most of your bases:

Obviously sport specific first but if we mean supplemental strength exercises:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Handstand Push-ups or Walks (suprised nobody named this one already for combat its much more useful than military or overhead press and can be done in a weightless gym [like a dojo])
  3. Clean & Jerk
  4. Body Levers / Dragon Flag
  5. Push-ups

Supplemental endurance work:
1. Skipping rope
2. Sprinting
3. Swimming (suprised only one person named this when its so good not only for muscles but does wonders for your lung capacity)
4. Running

And however you want to put it but plyometric work in or out of sport specific. You do handstand walks, and burpees and you probably don't need to do any of the other strength training exercises. Thats why yes some fighters do very little weights.... but you better believe their doing plyometrics.


Funniest shit about this post is I gurantee the majority of the top ten fighters in the world do none of this.


push ups AND handstand but no chin/pull ups?
I beg to differ, sir!

  1. Jiu jitsu
  2. Wrestling
  3. Boxing
  4. Muay Thai
  5. Judo


Are those EXERCISES?
face palm




I was referring to this
1. Deadlift
2. Handstand Push-ups or Walks (suprised nobody named this one already for combat its much more useful than military or overhead press and can be done in a weightless gym [like a dojo])
3. Clean & Jerk
4. Body Levers / Dragon Flag
5. Push-ups