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Critical Component Series – Explosive Medicine Ball Movements

Critical Component Series – Explosive Medicine Ball Movements

Power is king. Improve your power and dominate your competition with these simple and effective movements.

In this 6-part series, I will briefly explain the essential pieces that comprise a complete strength and conditioning program for MMA athletes. The six components are:

  1. Dynamic Warm-Up
  2. Explosive Medicine Ball Movements
  3. MMA-Specific Resistance Training
  4. Flexibility
  5. Energy System Development
  6. Regeneration Time

Having discussed why the dynamic warm-up begins any workout we perform at camp, it makes sense to now look at some of the movements and exercises we do to increase power and strength.

Power – A powerful body is crucial in MMA. To throw a punch, defend a takedown, shoot a single, land a head kick; these all require power to be effective. Try to take your opponent down slowly, and without any power behind it, and you’ll be face first on the canvas.

The placement of power movements in my routines will vary:

  • I will use them as part of a medicine ball circuit early in the workout (video below).
  • I will use them as a stand-alone exercise during a session.
  • I will use them at the end of a 2 or 3-exercise complex. Ex: set of deadlifts followed by a set of broad jumps.

Here I’ll show you a common medicine ball power circuit I do with many of my pro MMA fighters (like Travis Browne). In our system, we traditionally perform these movements right after our dynamic warm-up, and before any other strength training or accessory training scheduled for the day.
For these movements I like to use non-bounce “dead” or “jam” balls, as opposed to a bouncier, rubber ball. While I like bouncy medicine balls for their deceleration properties, that’s not our training goal in this phase. For, when talking about power, we want to focus on the speed of the movement. Dead balls allow us to really drive up the kinetic chain (feet to legs to hips to shoulders to hands) and throw the ball as hard as possible without having to worry about it coming back.

To see the difference, try a med ball rotational wall throw with the two different types of balls. You cannot fully explode with the bouncy ball as you’ll be concerned with rebound. Again, I love this deceleration concern. In fact, I use bouncy med balls, slosh pipes, Kamagon balls, etc., all the time in my sessions. I just don’t use them here. With the dead ball, you can focus on the task at hand, fully load the hips and glutes, and drive the ball into the wall to achieve maximum speed and power.

For sets and reps, I typically have the guys perform 6-10 reps, 2-3 sets. If scheduled to do some additional strength training (think squat, deadlift, presses, pull-ups) afterwards, I won’t go too heavy on the volume here. I have played with different set/rep schemes, but this seems to work best for most of the guys. 5-6 sets leave some a bit tired for the rest of the workout, and doing just 1 set doesn’t carry over well into the ring.

Of course there are many other factors involved; the rest of the exercise program, the rest of their training for the week, nutrition, sleep, girlfriend, stress, (aren’t those last two the same thing?), etc. Point is, what works best for one may not be ideal for the other. Regardless, these are currently some of the top movements we’re using with the medicine ball. Pick up the ball and improve your power and athletic performance.

To improve your workouts and explosiveness, 1R would also recommend the following supplements:

  1. BSN Amino X – This preworkout supplement will increase muscle endurance and protein synthesis, while giving you with the needed push to take your workouts, and results, to the next level
  2. Optimum Nutrition Threshold Beta-Alanine – Will help increase your workout capacity which will improve performance and strength during high intensity training
  3. Cytosport Creatine – By increasing your body’s ATP production creatine will help you become more explosive, more powerful, and more athletic when taken before or after workouts

17 / 11 / 2017 1R