I am a huge fan of anything unorthodox or anything that is out of the box. When you train fighters you need think like them and what they need in the ring. In the fight game there can be at times all out sprints, to period’s constant isometric pressure, and to times of explosive power. When you look at the body as a whole unit there are some key areas to consider when designing and implementing strength and conditioning program.

One of the first areas I look at as a strength coach is the lower back. Not just the lower back itself but the muscles that are used to support, stabilize, produce force, and neutralize force. These actions need to be done with spilt second timing with no hesitation and no concern for injury. The back can be a delicate area for the most seasoned fighter. I never want my fighters concerned that their back can’t hold up to anything at war time. The area I like to focus on with this regard is the glutes. I always remember the first time I met Vern Gambeta and he talked about when he first meets an athlete. He looks at the athlete and if they don’t have a “big house” or a butt, he says, well that’s the first thing I need to do. You may ask why? That’s because as Vern knows and has seen that you need these muscles for explosive power to support the back in athletic movements. Over the years I have seen the same from my athletes and clients; they need to develop this area as a “foundation”. It’s like building a house – if the basement is weak then the roof collapses.

WEC figther, Alex Karalexis

WEC figther, Alex Karalexis working his single leg dead lifts with a kettlebell.

Position 2 you can really see how these activate the entire leg with this motion.

One of my favorite ways to strengthen this area is a one legged kettle bell dead lift. I was recently certified by Grey Cook in his Functional Movement Screen system over the summer of 2008. The one-legged kettle bell dead lift exercise was on the top of the list in Grey’s arsenal. I agree with him 100% and it is now at the top of my list as well. This is one of the best exercises to train the back, glutes and legs, all while adding a balance factor. The first time Kenny tried this exercise he was impressed with how difficult it was and how much immediate benefit he felt. He said “that exercise is going to make me stronger.” It also helps reset a movement pattern that all of us need: the dead lift. When you couple that with the one leg attributes of this exercise, there won’t be a muscle in your leg you won’t feel.

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

Kevin Kearns has been a strength coach for over 20 years. He is the creator of BurnWithKearns.com and BePhysicallyFit.com. His new series for MMA Conditioning, “Burn With Kearns The Basement Tapes” is out now. For more information about seminars and workshops he can be reached at [email protected]