Power Training for MMA


There are 3 types of fighters in MMA, those who are great athletes – e.g. Tyron Woodley, those who are technically superior – e.g. Demian Maia and those who have both e.g. GSP.

Building explosive power, is arguably the quickest way to up your MMA and BJJ game. Just be careful – power training is great for improving speed and athleticism but also an efficient way to get injured – so start off with low volume, short workouts, get your technique perfect and warm up extensively.

Plyometrics for MMA

Many people use Complex Training, combining normal , concentric weightlifting, followed immediately with a plyometric exercise.

For example, complete 1 set of deadlift, immediately followed by 1 set of depth jumps.

For some MMA specific plyometrics exercises, please see the video below:


Olympic Lifts for MMA

Besides plyometrics , the other main way to develop power is to use Olympic Lifts such as power cleans and high pulls.

These are excellent for building explosive hips.

Power Cleans

Hang Cleans

High Pulls

Power Shrugs (effective but ideal for beginners as easy technically)


I’ve left out snatches on purpose. My issue with this exercise is related to the reward/risk ratio…it causes so many injuries that’s just not worth it in my opinion. One dislocated elbow could end your MMA career and you can build explosive power using less dangerous exercises.

Olympic Lifts are normally performed for reps of 3 to 5. For example a routine may include 5 sets of 5 reps of power cleans. If you don’t have a coach to check technique, it may be best to stick with power shrugs and high pulls…if you have any shoulder issues, go light to begin with on high pulls.

Periodise any training programmes – you don’t want to be doing heavy Olympic lifts a week out from a fight.

There is a great webpage here that outlines a number of Olympic lifting programmes.


Once you have a base of eplosive power, look to replicate and drill specific MMA movements as closely as possible.
Bas Rutten used to get his training partner to lie across him in a modified side control, whilst he completely sets of explosively bridges or ‘bucks’ to launch his partner in the air.

Here’s another idea to increase your bridging power. Just be careful with very specific movements, its easy to overtrain and get overuse injuries if you’re sparring lots too.


About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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