How to build explosive power as an MMA fighter – Guest Post

Ian Frood is a friend of mine who is a strength and conditioning coach, who is also really interested in MMA. We were lucky enough that he submitted a really awesome article to help those are interested in getting explosive power from their workouts. Check it out!

A question often asked of Conditioning coaches and trainers is “How can I punch harder?” or “How can I slam someone?) The answer is simple. Build explosive power.

Well it sounds simple to me, but I already know how to do it. Getting strong is easy, just lift heavy things and eventually you will get stronger. But how do you get more powerful? This is where the science comes in,

Power= Work (mass x distance) / time

“Work is defined as the product of an objects mass (weight) times the distance the object is moved. Work is divided by the elapsed time involved, which produces a unit of power, measuring the rate at which work was performed.”

To apply the description to a gym environment this means the weight (mass) of the Barbell, the distance it travels (for example arms length), and the amount of time it takes to travel there.

 There are two types of training you do to increase your power and they are Olympic weightlifting and Plyometrics.

Olympic weightlifting can be defined as

“Olympic weightlifting tests ballistic limits (explosive strength) with smaller weights, such that the lifts must be executed faster and with more mobility, because of a greater range of motion during the lifts. However, parts of the lift, especially in the clean and jerk, do test for absolute strength, as power is not an issue in executing that part of the lift.

While there are relatively few competitive Olympic lifters, the lifts and their components are commonly used by elite athletes to train for explosive and functional strength.”

Plyometrics can be defined as

Plyometrics (also known as “plyos”) is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded and then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength, elasticity and innervation of muscle and surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. Plyometrics is used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, providing explosiveness for a variety of sport-specific activities.”

Examples of Plyometric exercises include Jump squats, Box Jumps, and Clap Push ups

Below is an example of a strength program for MMA incorporating both Olympic lifts and plyos.

(NB please seek advice from a qualified Strength and Conditioning coach before attempting this program. It is meant for those with a lot of training experience.)

Exercise Sets Reps Intensity Rest
Power Cleans 5 4 Explosive 3 – 5mins
Push press 5 4 Explosive 3 – 5mins
Weighted Pull ups 4 To Failure Moderate to fast 3 – 5mins
Bench Press/Clap Push Up* 44 65 Moderate to FastExplosive 3 – 5mins
Squat/Box Jump* 55 66 Moderate to FastExplosive 3 – 5mins
Rotator Cuff 3 10 Slow 1 – 2mins
Neck Strength 3 10 Slow 2mins


* Exercises follow back to back

Train Hard!

Yours in Strength

Ian Frood Dip.

Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach

Head Coach

Frood Strength and Conditioning

For information contact me at



  1. 44 sets of bench press . . . . . . . intense

  2. Do I read that right pushups 44 sets x 65 reps and squat box jumps 55 sets x 66 reps? …. Wow looks like a tough workout I wonder how many could do that one you’d have to be elite

  3. The exercises involving press ups and box jumps are complexes, so you would do a set of bench press then a set of 5 clap push ups straight after, same with the squats, a set of squats followed by a set of box jumps. So it 10 sets total per complex. Thanks for readind

    Ian Frood
    Head Coach
    Frood Strength and Conditioning

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