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.
These are pretty self-explanatory, but mind your technique. "I keep my back straight and squat down till my open hands touch the outside of both calves," Rutten explains. "Then I explode upward, land softly, and right away repeat. I never rest in between reps, only in between sets."
Another more expert variation is to try to tuck your knees into your chest in the air during each jump. Bas suggests going for sets of 20, but as with any exercise, your goal is to try to break your numbers every time.
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes