There are many ways to make legs strong and durable for sports. However, not all leg exercises are the best for that sport. As those who read my column would know, I am a big fan of “functional training”. To put it simply: training that works for your needs or strengths that you can use.
I will not have my athletes perform exercises that will not help them excel at their discipline. That being said, in my humble opinion, I think plyometrics are one of the best ways to develop “explosive endurance” in the legs. Plyometrics are any type of explosive or ballistic exercise that takes advantage of the natural elastic rebound built into the muscles. Many people associate plyos with box jumps or clap push ups. They are an excellent way to build explosive endurance in the body for sports specific movement.
When I was growing up in the gyms as a kid, I always thought one thing was funny – the guys who would have these huge upper bodies and no legs! Even then I thought to myself, with my martial arts background, that’s your whole base of support. In the ring or octagon when your legs die you die. This has been evident in just about every fight. When you think about it, you need “oak tree legs” to be able to effectively execute a power punch, a round kick, a shoot, a throw, or a mount – and the list goes on. Now that does not mean they have to be “quadzilla” legs, but they do have to be fit, strong, and never quit and I mean never ever quit!
One of my favorite pieces of equipment to use is an adjustable hurdle because they are inexpensive and portable and allow you to make a variety of drills for your sport or discipline. I like to use the hurdles in one particular way: jumping over the hurdles from a standing position with as little contact time as possible. I can guarantee that if you add these into your workout program you will bring your legs to a whole new level of endurance and power.
Kevin Kearns aka “Dr. Evil” is the S and C coach to Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, Kurt Pellegrino, Alex Karalexis, Marucs Davis, Alberto Crane, Dale Hart, and numerous other fighters. His newly released “Burn with Kearns MMA conditioning DVDs are selling worldwide. For seminar, workshop, online training, and certification info please go to BurnWithKearns.com or email Kevin@burnwithkearns.com.