Not for the faint of heart, this circuit is made up of stability exercises – demonstrated by none other than MMA fighter Ronda Rousey — to improve upper-body and core strength, both of which are important for MMA fighting.
What to do: Perform the prescribed number of reps for each move, then immediately move onto the next. After your last exercise, return to the first move and repeat the circuit up to three times. (Beginners, follow the tips with each exercise to make the moves easier.)
Stand on the dome of a BOSU ball with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides. Squat down, then extend your legs and raise your hands to shoulder level. Press the weights above your head, then lower your arms back to the start. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Tip: Leo Frincu, Ronda’s trainer and owner of Results Studio (leofrinchu.com), suggests that beginners do this move standing on the floor before progressing to this version. Once you’ve mastered the version shown here, turn the BOSU upside down and perform the move on its flat surface.
Begin by kneeling on a stability ball. Place your hand on a wall or have a partner support you as you extend your legs one at a time to stand on top. (A slightly deflated ball may make this easier, and taking off your socks and shoes may help you get a better grip.) Have a partner stand a few feet away – close enough to help you down if needed – and toss you another stability ball. Throw it back to her for a total of 10 reps.
Tip: This is obviously an advanced move – if you have any hesitations at all, stand on top of an upside-down BOSU ball and have your partner toss you a medicine ball (Frincu recommends six to eight pounds). When that becomes too easy, prepare yourself for the advanced version by trying to stay upright on the ball for as long as you can.
Medicine-Ball Plyo Push-Up
Start in a push-up position on the floor with a medicine ball positioned between your hands. Bend your arms to lower your body towards the floor. Forcefully extend your arms, allowing your palms to leave the ground, and land with both hands on top of the ball. Replace each hand to either side of the ball before repeating. Aim for eight to 10 reps in total.
Tip: Reduce the intensity by placing one hand on the floor, one on the ball, and performing regular push-ups, advises Frincu. (Five on each side is a great place to start.) For an intermediate variation, perform a push-up with one hand on the ball, then “walk” your hands to switch hand positions. Repeat, alternating sides.
Position your stomach on the top of a stability ball, place your hands on the floor and lift your feet. Keep your eyes on the floor and your shoulders level with the ground as you rotate your left hip towards the ceiling, then your right. (Don’t allow your feet to touch the ground throughout the entire set!) Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.
Tip: According to Frincu, this exercise is a coordination exercise that helps fighters focus their eyes on their opponent while in the cage. If you’re a beginner, make your motions smaller, or keep one foot on the ground as you pivot.