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5 Calisthenic Exercises for MMA Fighters

The Best Calisthenic Exercises for MMA Fighters

MMA fighters require more than just proficiency with their techniques, they also need sufficient levels of mobility, flexibility, balance, agility, strength and endurance. Especially for those that want to be truly competitive, they always need to be in peak condition. Fortunately, there are a variety of excellent calisthenic exercises for MMA fighters to take advantage of; here are five.

It’s great to be able to lift heavy, run fast, and add muscle mass, but are you working on exercises that can specifically help your martial arts skills? Are the workouts that you are doing hindering you from developing further in your said art? It can happen.

Calisthenics exercises are always a good thing to use with MMA training; you don’t need a lot of equipment, you can do them virtually anywhere, and you can condition your body in a short amount of time. Below I have put together 5 calisthenic exercises for MMA fighters to help build strength, conditioning, balance and agility, and will especially help if you are a competitor in MMA.

Calisthenic Exercises for MMA

Sprawl Knees

Calisthenic Exercises: Sprawls

The Sprawl is one of the most utilized moves in wrestling, grappling, and MMA. The best thing about it is that is not only usefulness in competition, it can build serious strength in your core as well as endurance and stamina. Adding the knees into your Sprawls engages more of the lower body muscle groups to enhance strength and improves your technique and speed with throwing knees.

To do this exercise, start standing, a little crouched, with your legs over shoulder width apart (or in a lower fighting stance). Squat your body down, until both your hands touch the ground. Shoot both of your legs back, and drop your hips towards the ground. Hop back the legs, to return to the standing position. Once back in standing position bring one of your Knees up in front of you. Try and shoot your hips forward and be on the ball of the other foot to enhance balance and strength. Then go right back down into the sprawl Alternate knees every time you come back up.

Rolling Uppercuts

Calisthenic Exercises: Rolling Uppercuts

Uppercuts are used all of the time in martial arts, especially in boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA, but they are also relevant in many of the striking-centric martial arts. Rolling Uppercuts will not only help with shoulder mobility and endurance, they will also enhance your core strength. It will also help you gain speed for your uppercuts as well as other punches.

Start off in your fighting stance (or a little over shoulder width apart with your hands protecting your face and elbows tucked in). Start off slowly rolling your shoulders and having your hands roll over one another. Make sure you are a little crouched down and your core is engaged to enhance the movement. Gradually get a little faster with the arms and shoulder rolls. If you want to build a little more strength with it, try holding a dumbbell in each hand.

Stationary Bear Crawls

Calisthenic Exercises: Stationary Bear Crawls

Stationary Bear Crawls are perfect for you if you don’t have a lot of room to move, but still want to increase balance and full body strength.

Start off in a crawl position with your hands and feet on the ground slightly greater than shoulder width apart. Have your knees slightly bent towards the floor, but your hips raised high. Move your right hand forward while simultaneously moving your left knee towards your left elbow. Place them both back in the starting position and alternate to the other side. The farther you reach and move, the more it will work your body.

Plank Elbows

Calisthenic Exercises: Elbow  Planks

Elbow attacks are synonymous with Muay Thai, but you can also see them in other martial arts like Krav Maga, Karate, and MMA. This workout will help strengthen your elbows and shoulders all while working heavily on your core.

Start off in a low Plank position. Bring your right elbow off the ground and rotate it (as well as your body) towards the sky, moving into a side plank position. Replace it back in the starting position and then switch sides. The more that your rotate your body, the greater the strength you will build in your core and shoulders.

Triple Jump Knee/Kick

There are many types of jumping attacks throughout MMA, and what better way to build your agility and stamina then to practice those while also building the strength in your legs.

Start off in a crouched position (fighting stance), bend your legs to a half squat, and then do two small jumps. Jump once more, but this time jump up as high as you can and bring your knee in front of you and then land in a half squat. Begin again using the opposite knee. Once you have perfected it with the knee, try throwing a kick in front of you instead.

Martial Arts Calisthenic Workout

A fun way to put these together for really explosive strength is with this timed workout. Do all of the exercises for the allotted time with minimal rest in between exercises. Take a 1 to 2 minute rest before starting the next set and try and do it for 3 to 5 sets.

A1: Sprawl Knees – 45 seconds
A2: Rolling Uppercuts – 45 seconds
A3: Stationary Bear Crawls – 45 seconds
A4: Triple Jump Knee/Kick – 45 seconds
A5: Plank Elbows – 60 seconds (Core Finisher)