One of the titans who dominated the early days of mixed martial arts back in the nineties (you know, before it was even referred to as MMA), Sebastiaan "Bas" Rutten was arguably the most fearsome striker in the world. He went on to become a UFC champion, and was undefeated in the last 22 fights of his career – when he earned a reputation for devastating his opponents with his trademark liver shot. On an episode of National Geographic's 'Fight Science,' Rutten's kicking power was tested, and the results showed that a single strike could splinter ribs and rupture internal organs.
It's no surprise that a key component of Rutten's daunting prowess was an equally daunting training regimen and sky-high overall fitness levels. He recently hosted the World Series of Fighting (watch it at wsof.com), but we sat down with him a few weeks ago and asked him to walk us through his favorite exercises, which, understandably, tended toward explosive moves that enhanced his colossal kicking power.
Inclined treadmill sprints
"This is the hardest conditioning drill for me," Rutten says. "It's very good for explosive power." When Rutten is at his fittest, he runs on the treadmill for 10 minutes at 11 m.p.h. Then, he does a quick static stretch before beginning sprints. Here's how: Turn the incline on your treadmill as high as it goes, then sprint at a sustained 9mph for 45 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, and then begin your second rep of 10. "The 45 seconds seem to go very slow, and then the rest seems fast," Rutten laughs. "You just have to keep going – the 9mph part just comes." Unless you're an anaerobic beast, you'll need to build up to that level first. But it's intense no matter where you start.
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes