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MMA Strength and Conditioning (Push Presses)

There are so many exercises to choose from in the Strength and Conditioning World, but only few that are really worth a damn. A lot of people focus on working Sport Specific Movements, but the body doesn’t just care about improving performance; but improving joint health and stability as well.

Strength and Conditioning is typically focused on building a strong athlete IN THE GYM. But what truly matters is building the best athlete in the cage. Even as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, I’d rather have most of my athletes spending more time drilling wrestling, boxing, or grappling than working with me in the gym.

But if they do work with me, there’s three things I need to work on:

1.) Increasing durability (keeping you doing MMA and not getting injured)
2.) Improving Recovery Ability (doing the bare minimum strength work, so you can drill MMA better and more often).
3.) Focusing on your weak spots (If you are a fast athlete, make you stronger. If you are a stronger athlete, make you faster).

In this three-part series I’ll profile three movements fitting the bill for improving all three things I typically see in MMA athletes. Although these three movements may be nothing new; by doing them more often, you’ll speed up performance improvements because you’ll have a better balanced body – One that doesn’t just outperform your opponents, but outlasts them as well.

All of these exercises help load the body is opposing movement patterns from motions typically used in the MMA game. Gone are the days of body part splits; and here and now are the days of focusing on how our body moves in a coordinated fashion from head to toe.

Yesterday we went over Partial Rack Pulls as a means of improving strength/conditioning in a way that’s beneficial to folks interested in Mixed Martial Arts. Today will move on to the second of the three effective exercises working in a similar manner -Push Presses.

Any overhead press movement involves straightening your back, but with this variation you also learn to transfer power from the ground, all the way up to your hands. You learn to explode off your legs, deliver the power to your torso, and burst that energy up into your arms, all the while again balancing your development as a fighter.

My Recommendations:

– Kettlebells are highly suggested
– Barbells tend to put your wrists in a more awkward position, and don’t allow the sustained efforts we’d be looking for.
– Kettlebells come in kilograms and for most fighters a 16 kilo or 20 kilo kettlebell will suffice.
– You’re looking to go in the 10-20 rep range. 4-8 sets.
– More if you already have a higher level of conditioning.

The rack position of the Push Press allows you to do two things:

1.) Work on your breathing with a compressed diaphragm.
2.) Developing better arm endurance to keep your face pretty by learning how to keep the kettlebell secure in the crook of your elbows.

Here’s a demo by Adam T. Glass, Oldtime Strongman Juggernaut, featuring a variation on Push Presses that allows quite more speed at the same time:

Tomorrow I’ll be back with some pointers on Partial Bent-Over Rows. Until then, you can find me in “The Play Pen”, editing videos of myself playing with my clients, training clients for Pure Greatness, or writing smart ass articles on Easier Strength Training. If you’d like to contact me you can email me at apolakifitness@gmail.com, friend me on Facebook (Darryl Lardizabal), or shoot a Tweet my way (@XPO312).

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