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.
While standing in an upright posture, step forward with your right leg so that your right knee makes a 90-degree angle between your calf and your hamstring. Your left knee should hover just above the ground. Explode upward, alternating your legs in the air so that you land with your left leg forward. "I jump up, flip [my legs] in the air, and land, then jump up, flip [my legs] in the air and land, back and forth," says Bas. Thirty repetitions should have you close to tears.
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes