7 Exercises to Build Rotational Strength and Power for Fighters

by Corey Beasley

Exercises Build Rotational Strength
Photo credit: UFC

Very rarely are we ever moving straight forward or straight back during sports

During a match or fight, we are constantly rotating, pivoting, circling and fighting for position. Whether its throwing a powerful right or jockeying for control, almost all of our movements involve some sort of rotation. We here things like “squish the bug,” “hip escape,” “arm drag” and more everyday. In order to become stronger in these situations, its important to train the muscles involved when we are in the gym.

In the following video clips, I am going to show you some of the exercises and drills that I have used with my athletes.

7 Exercises to Build Rotational Strength and Power for Fighters

1. Rotational Lunges – Typically used post warm up to continue opening up the ankles, hips and upper back before we move onto resisted lifts. This is an awesome way to introduce movement in new directions and prepare the body for exercises in a variety of planes.

2. Rotational Sandbag Squat – Front loaded squat that includes a pivot toward the top of the movement. We typically use this variation closer to fights, as we transition from traditional lifts to more fight specific movements.

3. Single Arm Versapulley Rows – Single arm rows on the Versapulley are very unique. You pull and the machine matches your resistance on the way back. This eccentric resistance is an incredible way to build strength and is funalternative to traditional cable or dumbell rows.

4. Barrel Tilt – Dont let the simplicity fool you on this one. Tilting these heavy barrels is one of the most challenging drills that we use with our athletes. The resistance is high and it is perfect for building muscles used while tying up, fighting for underhooks or other positions during a match or fight. Killer for developing that wrestler/judo ‘hands on’ strength.

5. Landmine Archs – The barbell is jammed into a corner or into a Landmine anchor. Energy is generated through the feet, legs, hips and torso, while the bar simply moves in an arch from thigh to thigh. Great for developing strength throughout the body for punch, throws and more.

6. Chain Sidewinder – Using a 100lb chain, we simply rotate quickly from side to side. Similar to throwing quick hooks, this is a great, smooth way to resist these rotational patterns.

7. Rope Sidewinders – Identical to the above chain drill, the rope variation is lighter and allows faster speeds. We typically use this variation closer to the fight to enhance speed.

*While these may seem odd for some, I can assure you that they are incredibly effective at developing strength and power that transfers onto the mat and in the cage.

We typically use these exercises are various times throughout the camp, in coordination with other resisted movements. Depending on your goals, these movements can be used in coordination with the rest of your strength and conditioning program.

Hopefully these will expand your exercise arsenal and provide some new ways to challenge yourself and/or your athletes.

Give em a try and let us know how it goes!

PS…Big thanks to Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall for allowing us to film a few clips during his recent workout!

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