During my time studying in school I have also added in 9 pull exercises into my weekly strength and conditioning regimen. I found that it was important to maintain my pull strength because I found it was a good way to stay conditioned for clinching or grappling situations in MMA.
When I was done with school and got right back into training, I have noticed an increase in my strength from whenever I am wrestling or grappling with my fellow training partners while we were practicing.
Since the 9 pull exercises that I have done in my routine were so beneficial, it made want to share what I have done to maintain my strength.
1. Skier Pulls
I have a love or hate for using the skier machine because of how it makes you work your cardiovascular system.
I usually like to do eight 30-20 intervals whenever I do this exercise. So, I like going all out on the skier for 30 seconds and then slow it down for 20 seconds. After that, I repeat the process.
This exercise has given me benefits for being able to last longer during live grappling rounds in MMA.
2. TRX Rows
I like doing the TRX Rows because I find it gives me the benefit of being more explosive. I also perform an isometric hold at the end for about 10 to 20 seconds to develop resistance.
What I got out of this exercise applies whenever I am wall wrestling for MMA. Wall Wrestling involves a lot of explosive pulling strength & the use of resistance.
Ever since I started doing the TRX rows, I have noticed an increase in my resistance strength.
I found Chin-ups as a way to condition myself to have a solid Muay Thai clinch grip. The Muay Thai clinch involves pulling your opponent’s head around with both of your arms to create openings to throwing knees to the head or the body.
Since my grip strength increased, I can now hold on to the neck of my training partner tighter. With a solid grip, it makes it harder for my training partners to escape out of my clinch during practice.
4. Barbell Rows
When it comes to pulling during wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu based scenarios, your latissimus dorsi muscles are involved. Barbell Rows is an excellent exercise to strengthen them to develop the grip strength for pulling sequences.
5. Romanian Deadlifts
Romanian Deadlifts is another exercise that has made me stronger. For this exercise, I would lift heavy volume for only 5 repetitions to build strength. This type of deadlift exercise allowed me to strengthen my lower back.
Building it up allowed me to develop a good posture when it came to performing wrestling takedowns. Whenever it comes to wrestling for MMA, having a straight posture is essential because it creates a higher chance of getting a takedown successfully.
6. Isometric Bicep Curls
Instead of doing an original bicep curl, I would do the isometric hold version of it. How long I would usually hold the barbell would be about 30 seconds. I found this beneficial towards building a solid grip whenever I apply under hook body locks.
With an increase in strength from this exercise, my training partners are now having trouble escaping my under hook body locks.
7. Medicine Ball Hold Cable Chops
This exercise was shown to me by my coach, which I found excellent for developing my core strength for wrestling. This exercise is implements by holding both the cable from the cable cross machine and the medicine ball at the same time.
This exercises can also be done using a resistance band as well. Once everything is in place, rotate your body to work your core. This exercise mimics a wrestling scenario where you have under hooks on your training partner.
The objective is to use your core muscles to move him or her around to create openings to get a takedown or escape a terrible position.
8. Medicine Ball Good Mornings
I found this exercise gave me the same benefits as the Romanian Deadlifts. The only difference is the motion of this exercise, which has also helped me develop strength in my under hooks for wrestling.
How this type of exercise works is you have a big medicine ball that you hold from underneath. Once your hands are in position, slowly lower your upper body forward about halfway with a straight back posture.
After that, explode straight back up into the original position. Since this exercise has developed the under hook strength for wrestling, it has given me the ability to defend takedowns better.
9. Sled Pulls
Sled pulls is what I found great for developing explosive strength in using my legs for pulling scenarios in MMA. My objective is to have a more dominant position for myself when it comes to the wrestling clinch.
Therefore, you are using both the upper & lower body strength to pull to gain a dominant clinch position. If you want to have a solid base for pulling, I suggest adding this exercise to your regiment.
It is a combination of strength & cardiovascular-based conditioning, so it’s perfect for preparing for MMA wrestling scenarios.
When you are grappling in MMA, you will realize how much pulling is involved once you wrestle. Everybody has a different level of resistance strength in this type of discipline.
Therefore, it is essential to do a pull exercise day to prepare yourself to grapple with your training partners of different strength levels. If any of the 9 pull exercises mentioned are new to you, give them a try.
Once you begin to see strength results, add the ones you find beneficial to your own training regime.
If you have anymore questions about pull exercises to condition for MMA, please leave a comment or send a message.
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.