Doing a weekly routine of lower body exercises is important! Whenever it comes to training MMA, a lot of leg strength is involved. To become stronger for MMA practice there were some lower body exercises that I did that I found very beneficial.
With the types of exercises I did, I have noticed a change in my athletic performance for MMA.There are 10 of them. And I would like to share with you all of what they are and how it has benefited me.
1. Barbell Squats
When it comes to barbell squats, what I do is I go up in weight for all 4 sets that I do. The number of repetitions I do is 5 because I am working to develop strength not size. I am also working on being more explosive as well, which is very important in MMA.
On the Clinch Gear blog article, they mentioned that doing squats “leads to greater explosive power function.” With this ability, I can put more power into my takedown shots. When it comes to striking, doing squats can help develop your explosive power towards kicking too.
2. Zercher Squats
Zercher squats was a game-changer for me once I added it into my strength & conditioning regiment. The form of this exercise is kind of similar to when I get double under hooks to defend a takedown.
Double under hooks is a wrestling technique I use whenever I am wrestling in the clinch. I found this exercise very beneficial in not only building lower body strength but also developing stronger resistance for my double under hooks.
Once I had the opportunity to take part in live MMA wrestling rounds, I noticed my increase in strength has allowed me to defend takedowns a lot better.
3. Kettlebell Swings
Kettle Swings I found very beneficial in developing both my glute and hip strength for MMA. The use of your hips is everything in this type of discipline. You use them for all aspects such as wrestling, striking, and grappling. When I first got into weight training, I never really did kettlebell swings.
Once I decided to add them to my program, it has made a huge difference in my performance.
The results that I got out of this was crazy! With an increase in hip strength, I was able to develop:
- Kicking power
- Strength to stop a momentum of a takedown
- Hip explosion for wall wrestling scenarios
How the momentum can be stopped is by using the hips to bump and hit the person’s shoulder. There are even situations where I am against the wall during wall wrestling sessions. It sucks being against the wall.
But, to escape from it, I had to use my hips to explode and turn the person against the wall. Exploding is kind of related to performing a kettlebell swing. Therefore, doing this exercise has helped me with getting out of bad situations during wall wrestling sessions.
4. Barbell Deadlifts
Deadlifts I found was a good way to increase my strength for performing takedowns. The form and posture of performing this exercise is kind of similar to performing a takedown. It’s similar because it involves using a straight back posture to perform it correctly.
There was a point in time where I stopped doing deadlifts. But, once I got back into them I noticed a change in my strength.
With an increase in strength, takedowns became not as difficult to perform. Getting a takedown is all about technique. But with an increase in strength to add along with it makes it seem effortless.
With a bad form and poor posture, the chances of performing a takedown are not going to work! I have done this myself many times. And you know what happened? The person I was shooting on sprawled and defended my takedown attempts over and over.
With perfect timing and correct posture, the chances of getting a takedown is higher.
5. Hip Thrusts
This exercise has helped me with increasing my hip bumping ability for Jiu-Jitsu scenarios in MMA. Hip-bumping is used for sweeping, or when I get trapped in side-control or mount to escape.
When I first got into Jiu-Jitsu I had really weak hip strength because of how I neglected to work on them. But, the more I participated in Jiu-Jitsu class the stronger my hips have gotten. I was beginning to have stronger hip-bumps which got me satisfied.
To make my hip bumps even stronger, I remember my Jiu-Jitsu coach told me to add the hip thrust exercise to my strength and conditioning regiment. Just like the barbell squats, I would only do 5 repetitions to build strength.
As I kept up with this exercise, my hip bumps have gotten even stronger. Now when it comes to performing escapes out of side control and mount, it feels a little easier. Why is it a little easier? It’s because the higher-level grapplers I train with still made me feel defenseless lol.
6. Split Squats
I found doing split squats was a good way to improve on my stability and strength in both my legs. With an improvement in strength and stability from this exercise, it has allowed me to maintain control of my body while performing kicks.
I even had a stronger balance as well, which has benefited me to defend single-leg takedowns better.
7. Glute Bridge
The benefits that I got out of the Glute Bridge are similar to what I got out of doing Hip Thrusts. Unlike the hip thrust exercise, the glute bridge consists of using a dumbbell or without while performing higher repetitions to build endurance.
An increase in endurance will help with performing more hip bumps for a longer time when grappling on the ground.
Knee ups I found as a good way to increase knee stability. I usually use dumbbells for this exercise, and I like how this exercise mimics the motion of performing a Muay Thai knee. Being consistent with performing this exercise has increased the strength in my knees.
It has caused an improvement in my balance as well. And with that, it has allowed me to be able to defend takedowns better.
9. Resistance Band Leg Adduction
This exercise works the side Glute muscle, which I found as another way of increasing leg stability. When it comes to using the resistance band, I would tie it around a beam or pole to perform the exercise.
This is another type of exercise that has increased my strength for defending takedowns. To perform a proper side leg raise, I had to use resistance to keep my body still while raising my leg.
After doing this exercise for about 2 months, I felt my resistance to defending takedowns have improved dramatically. When I was doing wall wrestling rounds with a bunch of training partners, they would have difficulties trying to get me down to the mat.
10. Prowler Push
I have a love-hate relationship with this exercise. I like how this exercise gasses myself out quicker than any other exercise. But what I don’t like about it is how my legs would feel like jello after my set is done.
I can feel my quadriceps burning while lying down on the floor to recover after completing this exercise. It’s painful at first, but at the same time that’s how I know, I am working to get stronger.
The prowler push has given me a stronger drive for performing a single or double leg takedown. With a stronger drive, the chances of getting a takedown were better for me.
If you want to enhance your performance for MMA, it’s essential to train your lower body for this type of discipline. All the exercises mentioned in this article are the key to helping you develop lower body strength to prepare you for wrestling & ground grappling scenarios.
In MMA, you will always have training partners who have an overwhelming amount of resistance. Therefore, doing lower body exercises that incorporate within the sport will help you prepare for grappling with strong grapplers in your class.
Developing explosive lower body strength is essential since it’s beneficial for performing stronger strikes & wrestling takedowns.
If you have anymore questions about the lower body exercises that enhances performance for MMA, please feel free to leave a comment or send a message.
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Hi there! I’m Austin, editor & owner of the Mixed Martial Arts Life or Lifestyle (MMAL) blog. Martial Arts have been one of my biggest passions for years & I have spent most of my life learning different types of disciplines. To find out more about my adventures & passion for martial arts, read all about it here on my blog.
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