How To Load The Squat For MMA Strength

by Jim Smith, CSCS

Before we get to the exercises, you've got to understand the demands on the core, then you'll understand why these exercises are so good for training the core effectively for mixed martial arts and other combat sports.

Although the most popular exercise for the abs is the situp or crunch, this is probably provides the least transference to improved power for a martial artist.

That's because to develop powerful strikes, rotational power is needed, and this happens when you transfer power from the ground, through your hips, through the core, and finally into your shoulders and fist to connect with a knockout blow.

So because situps and crunches are straight up and down, they miss the rotational component that's required for ultimate punching power.

Not to mention that when you're punching somebody it's generally done when you're standing and not lying on your back, but that's another story.

So, if we really want to develop power that snaps the heads of your opponents, we've got to train the core in the rotational pattern, preferably when standing.

That's where these heavy bag exercises come in.

The first one I call the HB Hand Pass.

Here's how you do it:

    Stand facing a heavy bag in a good athletic position.
    Put your hands out so that the palms face each other.
    Quickly push the bag from hand to hand trying to keep your arms stiff and do the task with your core, not arms.
    Perform for 10-15 seconds as fast as you can then rest for a minute.

The next exercise I call the Power Push.

    Stand facing a heavy bag in a fighting stance with your right palm on the bag.
    Pivot your foot and rotate your hips like you're throwing a right cross (if you stand conventional) and throw the bag as       hard and fast as possible.
    This one is good if you have a partner to stop the bag from swinging wildly.

Both of these exercises are great for developing a rock-solid core that is also functional for striking.

Stay tuned for more info on the squat and how you can use it for your mma strength & conditioning training.

Succes with your training and if you have any questions about your own training or the products on this site, feel free to contact me at