The MMA Lower-body Power Workout

MMA Kick Fight

No matter what you want to do in the gym, building the body of a mixed martial arts fighter starts from the ground up.

No matter how hard you can punch, if you lack strength and power in your lower body, then you’re going to be missing a very important piece of the puzzle. But note: This routine will work muscles you haven’t felt before, and may lead to an increase in swearing upon standing and sitting.

Try to push through it, because the exercises here will increase testosterone production, recruit a ton of muscle fibers, and speed up your metabolism—all leading to a leaner more athletic looking body.

Try these to maximize your results:

Dynamic warmup

Start off with a dynamic warmup, which will increase blood flow, stimulate the nervous system, prevent injury, and get you mentally prepared for the workout ahead.

Early week workout

Make your lower body day the first workout of the week, which will make you less likely to skip out on it.

Work out barefoot

Try some of these exercises barefoot to strengthen the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the foot and lower leg. Just make sure it’s okay at your gym.

This lower body workout by Training for Warriors Director of Operations, John Annillo, C.S.C.S.:

Target muscles:
 Lower Body


Skill level: Intermediate-Advanced

 Perform both workout A and B during the week alternating between the two each workout allowing at least 48 hours in-between. Time Needed: 1 Hour

How to do it: After warming up, perform the exercises in the workout following the numerical order. Perform the first and third pair of exercises as a superset i.e. 1a/1b and 3a/3b with no rest in-between the pair.

Workout A

1a. Squat 4×5
1b. Squat jumps 4×5
*Rest 2-3 minutes between each set
2. Straight-leg deadlift 3×10
*Rest 45 seconds in-between sets
3a. Walking lunges 3×12 (each leg)
3b. Bar hip raise 3×12
*Rest 45 seconds in-between sets

Workout B

1a. Deadlift (4×5)
1b. Lunge jumps 4×5 (each leg)
*Rest 2-3 minutes between each set
2a. Good mornings (3×10)
*Rest 45 seconds in-between sets
3a. Split squats 3×12 (Each Leg)
3b. 45° Raise 3×12
*Rest 45 seconds in-between sets

How to perform the exercises

1. Squat

Set up a barbell on the supports of a squat rack. Step underneath the bar, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and let the bar touch your upper traps. Grab the bar with your hands as close together as is comfortable. Nudge the bar off the rack, take two steps backward, and stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly outward. Take a deep breath and bend your hips and knees, lowering your body as far as you can (try to squat to where your thighs are below parallel to the floor) . Explode back upward to the starting position. That’s one rep.

2. Squat jumps

Get into an athletic stance as if you were about to jump, and lower your body until your thighs are about 45 degrees to the floor. Explode upward, jumping as high as you can off the floor landing with soft knees. That’s one rep.

3. Straight leg deadlift

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a bar at hip level in front of you. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend at the hips and slightly at the knees until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

4. Walking lunges

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, step forward a few feet with your left leg. Lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Push off from your left foot taking a step forward with your right repeating the sequence for all prescribed reps.

5. Bar hip raises

Lye on your back with bent knees and a barbell on your upper thighs. Push your feet into the ground as you squeeze your glutes and raise until there is a straight line from your knees to your chin. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position. Deadlift Stand over the bar with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, crouch down and grab the bar overhand, your hands about shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders should be directly over or even a little behind the bar, and your eyes should be focused straight ahead. Driving with your legs, straighten your hips and knees, pulling the bar to hip level as you come to a standing position. Reverse the motion to return the bar to the floor. That’s one rep.

6. Lunge jumps

Get into a lunge position with the thigh of one leg forward and parallel to the floor and the knee of the rear leg nearly touching the floor. Explosively jump straight up as high as you can and switch legs in midair, landing with the opposite leg forward. Immediately repeat the jump, switching your legs back. That’s one rep.

7. Good mornings

Set up as you would to do a squat. Begin to lower your body as in a squat, but when you are a quarter of the way down, start bending at the hips as if you were trying to lower only your chest to the floor. Be careful: You must keep your lower back arched at all times. Once you’ve lowered yourself into a half squat with your torso almost parallel to the floor, reverse the motion and return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

8. Split squats

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your left leg a few feet in front of your right. Now bend both knees and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor (it should look like the second position of a lunge). Complete all your reps and then switch legs.

9. 45° raise

Set up face down on a Roman Chair. Bend at the hips maintaining a natural arch in your torso. Contract your glutes, abs, and lower back as you come up until there is a straight line from the back of your head to your ankles being careful not to hyperextend your back.

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