6 Ways to Enhance Power, Speed, Agility, and Quickness for Combat Sports: MMA, BJJ, Wrestling, and More


When it comes to combat sports like MMA, BJJ, and wrestling, having superior power, speed, agility, and quickness can give you a significant edge over your opponents. However, before diving into complex exercises and explosive movements, it's crucial to establish a solid foundation of movement. In this article, we will explore a variety of drills and exercises that will help you develop coordination, body awareness, speed, power, and athleticism.

  1. Learning to Move Efficiently: Building a Foundation

Efficient movement patterns and foundational strength are essential for every athlete. Focus on mastering the following basic movement drills to improve overall athleticism:

  • Squatting: Develop lower body strength and flexibility.
  • Lunging: Improve stability, balance, and leg strength.
  • Hinging: Strengthen your posterior chain and improve hip mobility.
  • Pushing and Pulling: Enhance upper body strength and control.
  • Crawling: Develop core stability and coordination.
  • Walking/Running: Improve cardiovascular endurance and leg power.
  • Side Shuffle: Enhance lateral movement and quick direction changes.
  • Carioca: Improve agility and coordination.
  • Butt Kickers: Strengthen leg muscles and increase stride frequency.
  • High Knees: Enhance lower body power and coordination.
  • Skips: Develop explosive leg power and improve coordination.
  1. Medicine Ball Drills: Harnessing Upper Body Power

Medicine balls are invaluable tools for developing upper body power in combat sports. Focus on various throwing exercises that can be performed against a wall, on the ground, or with a partner. Incorporate the following basic medicine ball throws into your training routine:

  • Chest Pass: Enhance explosive pushing power.
  • Overhead Throw (Soccer Throw-In): Develop power in a vertical motion.
  • Rotational Throws: Improve rotational power for strikes and takedowns.
  • Shot Put: Enhance explosive pushing power from a standing position.
  • Hinge for Height: Develop explosive power in a hip-hinge movement.
  • Hinge for Distance: Enhance power and distance in a hip-hinge motion.
  • Slam: Strengthen the entire body and improve explosive power.
  1. Ladder Drills: Building Strength and Coordination

Ladder drills are excellent for building strength, coordination, and firing up the nervous system before intense work. Start with simple techniques and gradually increase speed and complexity. Incorporate the following ladder drills into your training regimen:

  • 1 Foot per Square Running: Improve foot speed and coordination.
  • 2 Feet per Square Running: Enhance coordination and agility.
  • In, In, Out (Icki Shuffle): Develop lateral quickness and agility.
  • Ali Shuffle: Improve coordination and footwork.
  • Rotational Switch: Enhance agility and quick direction changes.
  • Cross Overs: Improve coordination and footwork.
  1. Jump Rope Drills: Time-Tested Agility Training

Jumping rope has been a staple in combat sports for a long time. It improves quickness, explosiveness, and footwork. Try the following jump rope drills:

  • Two Feet: Develop coordination and timing.
  • Move Right and Left: Enhance lateral quickness and agility.
  • Move Forward and Back: Improve coordination and endurance.
  • Circle Right and Left: Enhance footwork and agility in circular motions.
  • Side-to-Side Bounding: Develop lateral explosiveness and coordination.
  • Front-to-Back Bounding: Enhance explosiveness and coordination.
  • 1 Foot Hops: Improve balance, coordination, and quickness.
  • High Knees: Develop lower body power and coordination.
  • Double Unders: Enhance endurance and timing.
  1. Agility Drills: Mastering Quick Direction Changes

Agility is vital in combat sports, where rapid changes in direction are crucial for reacting to opponents, setting up attacks, and defending. Try the following agility drills:

  • 2 Cone Shuffle: Shuffle quickly between two cones.
  • 3 Cone Drill (5-10-5 Drill): Sprint from the middle cone to each side cone and back.
  • Box Drill: Set up four cones in a square and perform various movements.
  • Reaction Drills: Respond to commands or cues from a partner or coach.
  • Cone patterns: Set up cones in different patterns and react accordingly.
  1. Plyometrics: Reactive Power Training

Plyometrics involves powerful contractions in response to rapid stretching, developing reactive power in your muscles and connective tissue. Progress through the following levels:

  • Level 1: Jump to a box or step without gravity.
  • Level 2: Jump to stick or hold the landing, introducing gravity.
  • Level 3: Progress to bouncing or stuttering movements.
  • Level 4: Engage in true plyometric exercises with repeated jumping or bounding.

Building speed, agility, and quickness requires time, a well-thought-out plan, and consistent practice. By incorporating these drills into your training routine, you can expand your exercise library and significantly improve your performance in combat sports. Remember to prioritize proper technique, gradually increase intensity, and always listen to your body to avoid injury.


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