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.
Upright leg splits
Bas says that when doing the splits, people often make the mistake of leaning over to balance on their forearms. The fact is, we don't kick like that. We kick in an upright posture. "I stand in the splits, but straight up. My feet slide wider and wider, and while I do that I pull back on my hands to stretch my forearms," he says. "I also place my elbow behind my head and stretch my shoulders."
Credit: Photograph by Dustin Snipes