I have been around martial arts and weight training for over 30 years. There are plenty of ways to train these muscles to be stronger. For fighters it’s not just a matter of strength but it also a matter of performance.

medicine ball chest pass I remember when Ken Shamrock was on as a coach on Ultimate fighter and had his strength coach with him. One of the up and coming fighters complained that he was not training to be a bodybuilder; he wanted to train like a fighter. Now I ‘m not bashing bench pressing and all the other chest and back exercises in the gym, they are great for hypertrophy. What I am saying is let’s incorporate some more “real world” strength and activate more muscles. Muscles do not function in isolation but as an integrated unit. They act as well choreographed instruments of strength and power.

Here’s the best part: the more muscles you activate, the more calories you burn, and the more fit you become. This lends itself to the Burn with Kearns philosophy of More Fitness, Less Time, and Better Results. Whether we are fighters or not we all want the most bangs for our buck in the gym. Everyone wants to obtain the maximum amount of results in the minimum amount of time and see results.

If you look at everyday movement in the body there are, to quote my friend and mentor, JC Santana, 4 common patterns or pillars. They are push/pull, locomotion, level changes, and rotation.

Push/pull is usually focused on in the gym with bench pressing and lat pull downs, which are very good exercises. To activate more muscle we utilize a stability ball for 2 classic moves, the chest press and the one arm row.

one arm chest press
starting position of the one arm row

All of my fighters love these two movements for the simple reason that a feel a lot of other muscles working at once. The other reason they enjoy them is it “feels like something [they] will use in a fight.” That being said, a single arm chest press on a stability ball will bring you to a whole new level understanding muscular activation. The one arm row with stability will make you realize how “knee in the stomach” position feels for the person on the bottom and the top.

Article courtesy of BurnWithKearns.com & Be Physically Fit, Inc.

Kevin Kearns is the creator of Burn With Kearns .com and Be Physically Fit.com. A 20 year veteran of strength and conditioning, he is the S and C coach of UFC Fighters Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, Alberto Crane, Kurt Pellegrino and WEC fighter Alex Karalexis. For seminar, certification programs, and workshops please contact Kevin at BurnWithKearns.com or Ron at [email protected]