“Just like you need sparring partners of all shapes, sizes and ability levels, so too should you strength train with varied implements with sport specific goals in mind. I find the bruteforce sandbag to be prefect as a supplement to an MMA fighters strength and conditioning toolbox, for a few reasons."
- Coach Mays, Trained in MMA since 2004, Co-Coach of Team FAST
SINISTER SANDBAG WORKOUT
Wicked workout from Train Aggressive using the Brute Force Barebones Sandbags.
THREE ROUND THROWDOWN
MMA Conditioning with the Brute Force Sandbags. Three rounds, three minutes each.
Recommended MMA Training Gear
Step Into The Unknown
MMA is a diverse sport where strength and conditioning really does make a huge difference, and a high level of these should be a goal for all MMA athletes. When you step into that cage or ring, you’re stepping into the unknown. As much as you can prepare for MMA competition, we all know that anything can happen when that bell sounds. Your strength and conditioning program should reflect this. It should prepare you for the physical demands of the sport as a whole, but also prepare you for the unknown nature of competition. We can aim to do this by utilizing training protocols, methodologies, and implements that closely match MMA.
I’m a fan of using odd objects for MMA strength and conditioning – especially sandbags. Your opponent is the ultimate odd object – hard to control, constantly shifting and generally uncooperative! Match the training tools to this and you’ll be a long way to developing some strength and conditioning you can use.
Just like any regular strength and conditioning program, you need to base your exercises on big, multiple body part compound movements, with a big emphasis on power. Why? Because that’s what you’ll be required to do in competition. The sandbag is a great option for developing MMA specific strength, power, and conditioning for several reasons:
1) It’s very hard to get a hold of and it really makes you work for each lift. The constantly-shifting center of mass makes most standard exercises infinitely more challenging. It’s the next best thing to trying to hold onto an opponent who doesn’t want to be held onto.
2) The sandbag allows you to experiment with a variety of different grips that have parallels in MMA. A bear hug grip is like holding an opponent in a clinch; the zercher position is like having double-under hooks on an opponent; and gripping onto the material of your sandbag will help with gi-control.
3) The sandbag is about as close as a free-weight will get to replicating an opponent – its size, shape, and center of mass can all be very similar. Try using your sandbag for technique drills rather than just traditional exercises. Practice some side escapes from under a heavy sandbag, some powerful hip-bridges to develop the strength to escape from a mount or some bear hug load carries to build standing control strength.
When training for any competitive environment (even if it’s recreational), your training should be focused on the demands of that sport. Sandbag training is a great match for the demands of MMA so it’s a natural fit.
Courtesy of Matt Palfrey, Sandbag Fitness, Brute Force Europe