The medicine ball has lost much of its prominence among MMA trainers in recent years, with the advent of kettlebells, CrossFit, and a variety of other training methods that are new, shiny and receiving plenty of attention. However, the medicine ball is a tough, durable piece of equipment which can be used by MMA fighters to make you more tough and durable. Let’s check out three movements you can use with the good old fashioned medicine ball to emulate MMA movements, explosiveness and stamina.
Medicine Ball Slam
Stand with your feet apart, at about shoulder level. Stand on your tip toes, and raise the medicine ball overhead with your arms fully extended. Using the power in your torso (core), slam the ball downward onto the ground. Catch it then pick it up on the bounce and repeat the raise, slam, catch movement for ten repetitions. Be sure to drop your chest and bend your knees with each repetition. You want to feel the CORE of your body doing the work with each slam, not your arms or back alone. Elongate your entire body to recruit all of these muscle groups. Slam the ball as hard as you can each time. Breathe each time a the ball explodes downward.
Rotating Medicine Ball Slam
This movement is a variation upon the standard medicine ball slam you just completed. You’ll target the lats and obliques on each side of the body specifically as you alternate swinging the ball around before thrusting the ball down. The second half of each rep will be identical to the first movement. Pivot the toe opposite the side of the body which is thrusting the ball downward. Work to feel the burn and muscle recruitment on the side of the body you’re using each time.
Rolling Back Medicine Ball Throwing
Lie down on the floor with the ball on your chest. Swing your legs back, then propel your body forward, launching the ball approximately 3 feet into the air, as if you were taking a basketball shot, complete with follow-through. Catch the ball and roll backwards, sending your legs straight into the air, then roll back and repeat. The aim here isn’t to “rock” – you want to be in control with each movement deliberate and focused. This movement targets sweeping and ground work function for the MMA fighter. You can throw the ball higher in order to utilize more triceps muscle. Just be sure to keep your body tight and flexed while the ball spends more time in the air. The catching of the ball will also require greater impact receptiveness, so be ready for that!
Work the medicine ball core training into your regular training protocol. Start with ten repetitions for each of these 3 movements, and complete them all at once in a circuit-style workout, for a total of 30 repetitions. Then wait 60 to 90 seconds, and do it again. As soon as the soreness from this workout in your chest, back and rib sections have subsided (usually in 2-3 days), you’ll be ready to do this again. Ideally, you will want to use 4 to 6 of these medicine ball circuits, several times each week.
MMA Medicine Ball Circuit Training can be very useful for helping you to develop arm and leg strength, overall core stamina, balance and control. You’ll essentially be using the medicine ball to strengthen those muscles which are most useful in MMA training and competition. Stamina will increase, as will your overall explosive power as a result. Use the medicine ball as part of an overall balanced approach to improving your MMA capabilities.