Whenever I train people in the gym, I often cringe at what I see other people doing.
Bad form is everywhere and I can see people’s bodies getting destroyed as they’re supposedly working out.
Not only that, some of the exercises and routines I observe people doing are pure lunacy.
But one thing I can’t stand is when mixed martial artists are told to perform exercises that are completely useless or downright dangerous.
I mean, if you’re going to tell a fighter what to do, you’d better be damned sure that you know what you’re talking about, because this guy’s (or increasingly so, gal’s) health is at stake.
For the average Joe who hits the gym to get bigger biceps and impress the ladies, a little bad advice here and there won’t kill him.
But for the combat athlete who’s about to step into the cage against some brute who wants to tear his head off, poor training advice could mean the difference between winning a fight and being too gassed to keep your hands up and getting KO’d with an ugly cowboy punch.
Needless to say, I take my job seriously.
So in this article, I’m going to expose one of the absolute WORST exercises to do as a fighter.
And just because you see a UFC fighter doing an exercise on TV or in a YouTube vid doesn’t mean it’s gotten them to where they are…
A lot of times fighters would be better off not doing an exercise instead of ruining their bodies with some of the idiotic stuff I’ve seen.
Anyway, without further adieu, here’s one of the WORST exercises for MMA…
Drum roll please…
PuNChing WiTh BaNDs (hardcore)
This is a popular one and while on the surface it seems like it would be a good exercises, it’s not.
When you throw a punch, you want your arm to be relaxed and more like a whip as opposed to being tight and pushing instead of punching.
You also want full extension of your arm and once you’ve achieved this, you want to pull your arm back as fast as possible to throw the next one or defend yourself.
But when you punch with bands, 3 things happen that will screwup your punching mechanics:
1) You need a tense arm to punch with the band, not a relaxed one
2) You tend to limit your range of motion punching with bands instead of using full extension
3) The band pulls your arm back instead of you pulling your arm back, so your body gets trained to not pull your arm back (bad for combo speed and bad for defence
This is what happens when ‘experts’ who have no foundation in how the body actually works or the actual mechanics of martial arts skills looks at MMA and tries to create a training program for it.
They basically get you to mimic the skills of the sport with added weights and resistance.
Your strength and conditioning program should train your muscles and nervous system to be stronger, faster and have better endurance, but it should not try to mimic the skills you perform and spend hundreds of hours mastering, because it will screwup the mechanics and timing, wasting all of your hard work.
If you want to be good at punching with your fists, train punching with your fists, don’t train punching with weights or bands in your fists (light dumbbells 1-1.5 lbs are an exception when used in certain situations, it’s like punching with a heavy boxing glove on).
The role of your strength and conditioning program is to develop your muscles and nervous system.
You then take your new, improved muscles and nervous system and train your punching so that you punch harder, faster and longer.
If the mechanics and timing of the exercise doesn’t screw with the technique, it’s A-OK, but in this example, the mechanics and timing are very different and will harm technique, so I recommend avoiding it. There are other ways to develop punching power, speed and endurance where you don’t need to use this exercise.
See, I’m not just a pretty face, am I?
So there’s one of the worst exercises you can do for MMA…
(Don’t worry, my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program is purposely free of these foolish exercises)
But there are a lot more that I see all the time and I’m sure you see too.
Hit me up with what you think is one of the worst exercises are in the Comments section below and in my next article, I’ll take the worst of the worst and break them down biomechanisticologically-style.
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