By Jay Cardiello
If youâ€™re looking to get a lean, muscular physique and a shredded core, you could do a lot worse than training exactly like an MMA fighter. How do I know? I was an international martial arts champ as a teenager, and now I train with the Gold Team Fighters USA, a tough bunch of MMA pros. Here are five moves I use with those guys. Do â€™em a few times per week, coupled with a diet. high in protein and low in calories, and before long youâ€™ll start to resemble Jon Bones Jones. Though we wouldnâ€™t recommend challenging him to a fightâ€¦
Workout note: do all five MMA moves in succession, performing as many reps as you can in 30-, 60- or 90-second blasts, depending on your training level. Do a total of three sets, resting 30 seconds between each.
The pull-up is an amazing way to strengthen your upper back, trapezius muscles, shoulders and abs. If you really want to train like an MMA fighter, you have to be able to perform many, many pull-ups. (Quick review: pull-ups involve your palms facing away from your body. Chin-ups, which are easier, involve your palms facing toward your body.) If you have trouble doing even oneâ€”with good form, meaning smooth and under control, not relying on momentumâ€”donâ€™t worry. Theyâ€™re hard. Build up your back muscles with bent-over rows and lat pulldowns. Then move on to assisted pull-ups, chin-ups and finally the real deal.
In MMA, you need a strong core and lower body to be able to slam your opponent into the ground. (Good example of a guy with phenomenal core strength: Rampage Jackson.) Superman Ups will develop this strength. Start by laying flat on your stomach. Lift your head, both arms and both legs off the ground, so that youâ€™re â€śflyingâ€ť like Superman. Hold for 30, 60 or 90 seconds, exhaling out at the top and making sure to squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and lower-lumbar region. Referring to every girl at the gym as â€śLoisâ€ť? Optional.