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.

In the last two segments we went over Push Presses and Partial Rack Pulls. Today we’ll move on to Partial Bent Rows.

3.) Partial Bent Over Rows – Most people focus on full range of movement exercises ALL the time, but I personally think that’s a waste of time. During a clinch, a ground battle, or a striking match, more often than not, the elbows and hands are near or outside the body, typically in front of us. Very rarely do the elbows and hands go behind our body. Partial Bent Over Rows help take care of the missing range and help further develop the overall functionality of your body.

My Recommendations

– Use a Dumbbell
– Change up between using light, medium, and heavy weights
– If light go for upwards of 15-20reps (10-15 sets)
– If medium go anywhere from 5-8 reps (5-8 sets)
– If heavy work within the 1-3 rep change (1-4 sets)
– Medium is suggested more often than not with light coming in second and heavy a distant third.

An Extra Modification to Make These Exercises THAT Much Better:

The only thing I would add is to be willing to change up your leg position. There are many strength and conditioning coaches that focus on loading the body symmetrically, i.e. feet in the same line with each other, back neutral, hands approximately the same width apart. Personally I believe that’s crap. The problem is your fight stance loads your body in one way. Whether you are right foot dominant or left foot dominant; even if you try to balance it out during practice, many athletes still seem to have a huge preference of one foot over another.

Your strength practice should reflect this preference, by keeping the leg you wouldn’t normally use in front of you. If you are right foot dominant I suggest your stance have your left foot forward. If you are left foot dominant I suggest your stance have your right foot forward.

Although these modifications are small, they are huge payoffs when it comes to creating a more functional body that not only can give a beating, but can take a beating as well.

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 [email protected], friend me on Facebook (Darryl Lardizabal), or shoot a Tweet my way (@XPO312).