T Nation

Explosive Movement Transfer to Takedowns?


Hey fellas, was wondering if anybody had some tips for becoming more explosive in an mma type situation. Mainly regarding movements to increase the explosive power in my double leg. I typically do a strength upper body plyo lower body, strength lower body ballistic upper body routine 1-2 times a week along with my technique training/sparring 6 days a week. I fight regularly usually every three month so staying un injured is a concern. Appreciate you guys.


I’m not an MMA guy but I wrestled in high school and I’ve done a few boxing matches. In my experience explosive plyo stuff is overrated for fighters. I did all that stuff never really noticed a difference but what did carryover to takedown and punching power was squats (at the time I did box squats) and deadlifts. Don’t get me wrong they have their place but squats, deads, rows/weighted pullups and overhead presses/bench should be your meat and potatoes


I’m sorry that I really don’t have anything very helpful to add, but just want to second what @timcarpenter said. I read a Louie Simmons interview (on T-Nation) and he trained a fighter using mostly squat variations, good morning variations, sled work, and DB overhead pressing, and his first fight after training with Louie was his best one yet. Doubt he did much “explosive” work per se, although maybe some dynamic lifting, but his increased strength, especially in his hips, really helped with everything.

For all sports, squatting, pushing, and pulling seem to have served me best.



Its my understanding that GSP used olympic lifts as a regular part of his training. That said, i don’t know that first hand so you do the research. Second the olympic lifts do have a bit of a learning curve to them, unlike say a squat or a benchpress (i can lie down like that on my couch). On the other hand once you get the basic technique down they are quite different than most common lifts. Your starting down in a crouch, like in wrestling. As the weight on the bar increases your speed CAN NOT slow down or you miss the lift. Heavy benches or heavy deads or heavy squats almost always result in you slowing down the speed of the lift. That simply doesn’t work in olympic lifting. Go on Youtube and watch an oly lifter train, the speed they use on a 50% of max lift is the same speed they use on a new personnel record. It has to be. You can’t olympic lift slow. Period. Also, unlike a benchpress, or deadlift or squat, olympic lifting also requires balance, coordination and timing. It is in fact a very very explosive movement, especially the heavier you go. Unlike powerlifting, it requires athletic ability, natural or learned. Don’t believe me? Go see how many powerlifting records are set by guys over 30. Then go check when was the last time an olympic weightlifting gold medal was won by a man(or woman) over 30. Its a young man’s sport because it requires you to be athletic, explosive, with balance and timing. Olympic lifters over 30 don’t just sudden loss their love for the sport…they get beat by younger more athletic explosive lifters. I’d guess that 9 out of 10 major college football programs use powercleans as a fundamental part of their strength programs. Technically its easier to learn and safer than full cleans and jerks, but they use it for the same purpose that your asking about “explosiveness”.
i think GSP did pretty good in MMA.


But is it worth the time for a fighter to learn a whole other sport? The weight room stuff for a fighter should add to his in ring performance. No argument that Olympic lifting requires explosive power. But it’s so technique intensive. Like jumps, cleans have their place. But bottom line is squats are going to give a fighter better bang for the buck. Think about this say a guy that fights at 170 can squat 400+ he’s probably gonna be able to throw someone his size around pretty easily. and you’ve not wasted a bunch of time learning a skill that’s just not needed in the ring.


My BJJ instructor is an accomplished olympic lifter and that skill absolutely transfers to his takedown abilities. He’s 175 and he can throw me with a seio nage when I’m resisting and I weight 100 pounds more than him. He often explains the mechanics of takedowns in barbell terms.

I think the carryover with olympic lifting and power cleaning is less about explosiveness and more about using your entire body to manipulate heavy weight as it’s moving through space. He’s pretty explosive too, but his timing is so good and his ability to put the power in the right spot at the right time is what get’s it done.


Being stronger is always good, but takedowns have so much more to do with technique, timing, and digging through a sprawl that explosiveness and strength are virtually meaningless if you are in relatively good shape. If I were going to recommend anything it would be sprints and/or Bulgarian split squats.

Tagging @Basement_Gainz to see what he thinks.


@aaronp181 I never went to states in wrestling. But I got 100% better with one simple tip from my coach (who did send kids to states and was on the Olympic team at one point in his youth).

Wrestle the heaviest, strongest dude in the gym. Practice takedowns against someone several weight classes above yourself. I was 185 wrestling the heavyweight kids (230+) in practice. It took a lot more force and technique to shoot a double and elevate a kid 50lbs heavier than me.

When you go back to wrestling people in your weight class it feels like a cheat code. This one tip is the only reason I ever won any matches in high school.

This is good practice for the heavy guys too because they’re wrestling someone who’s a great deal faster than their normal competition.


Welcome, Sir.