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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.

1 Like

Welcome, Sir.


I like this thread.

Im going to write a bit here I think.
I had really good sucess with a variety of work

O-liftsand fake O-lifts
cleans, snatches, High pulls DB snatch snatch pulls , jump shrugs,
these where bread and butter basic stuff

jumps plyo crap
box jumps - think more continuous then singles or triples
instead of jumping on the same box - jumping between boxes.

continuous broad jumps - I got ALLOT out of these
doing 3 - 5 of these continuous where tremendous
kneeling jump- these suck ass but are great

continuous hurdles - these are awesome

Med Balls- we fucked around with these allot.

an eastern bloc s&c type got me to eventually do these

or a variant with a snatch or clean.
this is the great louie simmons - teaching some stuff we did

same progessions the Eastern bloc guy had us do.
sometimes with a med ball - a toss slam or what have you
these kneeling jumps and snatches very effective.

and here is my man crush doing some fun plyos-

and here is my same man crush putting together allot of the things I mentioned and more.

we didnt have bands ( Im old ) which I would recommend using
we ran often with someone holding you back with rope or just their arms.
I mention this eastern bloc coach he was great
I wish I paid more attention to him.
He was a Javorek disciple I came across when I trained somewhere different.
Javorek is the father of the barbell or dumbell complex.
I am a fan.

I was fortunate to travel a bit overseas.
and see some methodology from a kodokon judo school I went to for a long long time.

I saw some very brutal basic methodologies in the eastern bloc and cuba for wrestling that I wish I could have recorded

when I got older ( thirties)
I found re-building some power
box squats and trap bar jumps pretty good

there is allot that works
a quote I hear allot now that is applicable to this
is ’
‘anyone really embarking on this kind of training to be competitive
isn’t going to be really balanced’
this kind of training while effective can become brutal and take a toll over time.

just my ramblings here


These ramblings were extremely helpful, I appreciate the wisdom bro. I will be incorporating those kneeling jump clean/snatch etc from louie. Im now down to one month until my fight so I dont know how much adaptation I will be able to get as of now, but I will be incorporating all of these suggestions moving forward.


Thanks bro, im hoping this is the case for me, my main training partner is a 185er but he walks around at 200-205 and im 160. next time we spar I will take this into account and just keep shooting on him.


Another poser here from the “I’ve never done MMA, but I was a pretty good high school wrestler” club.

If I could give myself “one weird trick” that I’ve taken up as an adult which would’ve made me a better wrestler back then, I would have done heavy sandbag lifts / carries as part of my training. I did a fairly standard powerlifting-style program - lots of back squats, front squats, box squats, bench, and power cleans - and that was great, but lifting a really heavy sandbag (or stones, but a sandbag is cheaper/easier & doesn’t require mixing cement and waiting a week-plus for it to dry) also requires explosiveness & teaches you to roll & engage the hips without the technical demands of learning a full clean or full snatch.

I’m generally with @SkyzykS that so much more of wrestling (and more generally, fighting) is skill / speed / timing than pure strength, so it’s likely of limited value to spend a lot of time learning something as technical as the full Olympic lifts. I think you’d get a lot of the same benefits from adding sandbag lifts / carries with less relative effort spent learning technique. Others, your thoughts?


Do Olympic lifts make you explosive or do they make already explosive athletes more explosive?


No exercise will build explosivness from nothing. They’ll teach you to use what you have. Some people are more genetically fast twitch than others. The olifts do that but so Will plyometrics, dynamic stuff, etc.


I take it the other poser is me, although I did make it clear I didn’t actually compete in extra curricular wrestling.

I have been doing sort of the same as heavy sandbags, in unilateral moves like Bulgarian split squats and exploding up. Some have described it as a finisher, I figure I am pretty strong from it.


It depends on whether you’re talking about potential or actual. One can be potentially very explosive, but without training it be actually kind of meh.


Lol, I hope you didn’t take offense. I was more poking fun at myself for posting in a “combat” forum in a thread about MMA / fighting with the extent of my experience being high school wrestling. A few of us posting here from time to time have that story, it seems. I just try to make clear that whenever I chime in on a thread like this, it’s from that perspective so people can decide whether to take my advice seriously or not in context of that particular thread / question.


I wasn’t horrifically mad to begin with.

Still, this thread mirrors my thread from the other week.


I dunno man. I think you’re selling yourself short. You managed to be ranked in a very competitive state.

Also, I get sooooooo frustrated watching some mma bouts where even some rudimentary wrestling skills would have changed things entirely. Sloppy shots, head outside the hips, no digging to work through the takedown, etc. Needless to say, it’s a real problem. :joy:

I find myself yelling at the youtubes about these things, and even worse, so does my wife.