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MMA Strong

Use these novel exercises to build knock-out power

MMA Strong

Although I don't compete in MMA, other than against my sparing partners, a good deal of my training is for performance, and not just being bigger and leaner.

And even though I may be almost twice as old as some of the guys I spar, my training for strength and power gives me a clear advantage. If you practice MMA then you know that it requires you to be a jack-of-all-trades. I'm not just talking about fighting styles. You also need to be a jack-of-all-trades in regards to your athleticism. Your body must be trained for strength, explosive power, and endurance. And when it comes to power and strength you even need to be a jack-of-all-trades in that arena too. Most other athletes typically need to be strong and powerful in just a few directions. For example, a football lineman needs only to be strong in a forward pushing motion and a side-to-side motion. An MMA athlete, on the other hand, needs to able to apply his power and strength with all muscle groups and in all directions. That's because you never know what position your body will be in and in what direction you'll need to push, throw, trip, or strike an opponent.

Because you need power and strength in so many muscle groups and need to be able to apply it in so many different directions, your strength training needs to deviate from just the standard strength moves like the bench press and squat.

That's why I am giving you eight strength moves that you need to add to your current strength-training program or even combine them as a whole-body strength workout. They're perfect for building power and strength in the muscle groups an MMA athlete needs to build up and in some of the directions the MMA athlete needs to apply that power and strength in. They'll not only help you become an MMA jack-of-all-trades, but they'll help you jack up your opponents. And for those of you who are MMA spectators and not MMA athletes, adding these five exercises to your current training program will provide you functional power and strength that can be applied to many other sports and activities, not too mention enhance your strength on the standard strength-training exercises.

Diagonal Bench Press

This exercise will help you develop the power and strength to throw opponents off of you when you're on the ground. It's similar to the bench press, but the bench press only trains your strength and power when both your arms are perpendicular to your torso. That might help you press off an opponent who has a sidemount on you, but what if he's in your guard or has you in a full mount? The diagonal bench press is designed to help you toss an opponent off of you in this position as it mimics pressing an opponent off of you with your hands placed on their neck and upper thigh so you can sweep them and reverse the position.

To do this exercise lie on the bench press bench holding a barbell with a staggered grip (left hand using an underhand grip and the right hand using an overhand grip) over your chest. Lower the bar towards your body while keeping your left arm near your left chest and moving your right arm down by your hip so that the barbell runs across your body from your left shoulder to right hip. This is the start position. Press the barbell up as explosively as possible and then slowly lower it back to the start position. After completing all reps on that side rack the bar and repeat on the other side. Do this exercise when you normally do bench presses or other chest exercises. Do 2 sets of 5 reps using a weight that would normally allow you to complete about 20-25 reps. Do these two sets as explosively as

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