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Top 5 Plyometric Drills For MMA Fitness

Top 5 Plyometric Drills For MMA Fitness

1. Are you familiar with plyometric drills and what they do for your physical fitness and performance? 

2. Are you currently incorporating a safe and effective progression of plyometric drills into your MMA, Combat, and Fitness training? 

3. If you are incorporating plyometric drills into your MMA and Combat training are you properly initiating the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC)? 

What Are Plyometric Drills For MMA And Fitness Training?

If you aren’t sure about your answers to the previous questions then today’s topic is focused on helping you to start to be more confident in your answers. If there is one element of physical ability that is true of a great fighter, or just a fit athlete for that matter, it’s the ability to perform quick explosive bursts of movement.

Plyometric drills are exercises that train your muscles to perform quick forceful contractions based off what is known as the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC) when you’re performing powerful movements.

The SSC essentially involves three phases during the muscular contraction. It involves the eccentric contraction (stretching of the muscle), the concentric (immediate shortening of the muscle), and the amortization phase (the brief transition between the eccentric and concentric contractions). The key to developing explosive power for MMA, Combat, and other athletics is being able to make the amortization phase as brief as possible in order to maximize force production during the given movement.

Here are 5 explosive plyometric drills for your MMA and Combat fitness needs to help you to develop an adequate SSC for your fight performance.

1. Plyometric Drills: Jump Rope Skips


Jump rope skips are a lower grade plyometric, but are a great prerequisite for adapting the body for more intense plyometrics for greater power production. The jump rope skips can be leveraged for producing a sound SSC while at the same time allowing for an adequate adaptation for quicker and more forceful movements which are specific to MMA and Combat fighting.

Jump rope skips are also tremendous for conditioning your body for MMA and Combat as the cardio aspect can be adjusted and scaled to suit the needs of your sport and life needs. In addition to this the jump rope skips will hone your ability to develop greater coordination and reaction time.


Start by hopping on two feet to get your timing down as you swing the rope. Once you’re able to execute several swings of the rope without disruption make the transition to hopping on one foot as you place one foot in front of the other. Keep the knee of your lead foot up as you skip. In other words, your knees should never point towards the ground below your hips.


Perform 3 to 5 rounds at 2 to 5 minutes each to start in practicing to master the jump rope skips.

2. Plyometric Drills: Jump Rope High Knees


Jump rope high knees are the next step in the jump rope and plyometric drills progression. With jump rope skips you’re essentially executing a lower grade plyometric by performing several small hops in succession. With the jump rope high knees you’re taking this to the next level by transitioning to sprinting in place while integrating the timing of your jump rope.

This is tremendous for intensifying your plyometric training and elevating the SSC to transition and graduate you into even more explosive plyometric movements. The jump rope high knees will also drastically improve your reaction time and coordination which is essential for striking and counter-striking in MMA and Combat scenarios.


Begin with your jump rope skips and as you get into your timing perform the jump rope high knees the same way with the exception that when you put your lead leg forward forcefully elevate that knee as you pull it up to start the sprinting in place. Whip the rope fast with every knee pull until you can maintain the timing of whipping the rope with each high knee.


To start practice performing the jump rope high knees for 5 to 10 rounds for 15 to 30 seconds at a time.

3. Plyometric Drills: Box Jumps 


A true box jump is designed to potentiate your nervous system. In other words box jumps should be leveraged to produce maximal power output while enabling you to train this power output in an intelligent manner.

Box jumps shouldn’t be programmed for the purpose of being a “conditioning drill.” In other words performing the jumps in rapid succession just for the sake of getting your heart rate up should not be the focus of box jumps. On the flip side box jumps shouldn’t be performed at all out maximal height just to make the highlight reel of a YouTube video either.

The point of box jumps here is to help you to execute a quality forceful jump with control and efficiency to build explosive leg power. Your intensity of a box jump can be scaled by adjusting height and by you loading yourself to perform them with either a weighted vest, or a pair of dumbbells in your hands.


Start your box jump with a height that you are confident in handling. Start with your feet at the base of the box a take a stride length away from the base to get your distance away from the box.

You’ll want to start with your hands above your head. From here you’ll want to create momentum by performing a countermovement rapidly swinging your arms down by your sides as you simultaneously descend your hips sitting your butt back into the hinge position.

From here you’ll immediately want to swing your arms back up as you rapidly perform triple extension of your ankles, knees, and hips to propel your body off the ground and softly land on the box. I’ll often cue my students to pretend they are landing on a glass surface so they will control their landing onto the box.

Make sure you land with your feet at the same shoulder width distance apart as when you started the jump. Also step down off of the box instead of jumping off of the box. The other point of box jumps is to reduce compressive forces on your joints so that you can adequately perform powerful jumps in a safe and intelligent manner.


Perform 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 10 reps on your leg power and plyometric training days.

4. Plyometric Drills: Single To Double Leg Box Jumps


The single to double leg box jump is the next progression for intensifying the box jump (aside from loading) to help you with generating more force production off each leg. If you’re looking to significantly add to your kicking power then these should be a part of your strength and conditioning plan.

By jumping off one leg you are having to create more stability and force in order to make the jump. However, by landing on both feet on top of the box you still allow for a more stable landing, as well as some additional cushioning until you can progress to landing solely on the same jumping foot.


Start out just like the standard box jump except lift one leg off of the ground. From here perform the same countermovement as stated in the standard box jump swinging the arms from overhead and hinging the hips back. Immediately extend at the ankle, knee, and hip to propel your body to land on the box with both feet.

Once again make sure to jump hard, but land soft as if you’re landing on a glass surface. Step down off of the box and perform the next jump off of the opposite that you started with. Alternate jumping off of each leg until you reach the desired number of repetitions.


Start incorporating the double to single leg box jumps ONLY after you’ve become proficient with performing the standard box jumps at 24 to 30 inches in height on a regular basis. Perform 3 sets of 4 to 7 reps on each leg on your leg power and plyometric training days.

5. Plyometric Drills: Plyometric Push Up (With Bench)


When many coaches talk about plyometric training they tend to get stuck in a rut with focusing solely on the lower body, but the fact is that upper body plyometrics are needed too…especially if you’re looking to develop some serious hand speed and knock out power with your punches.

The plyometric push up is a fast and effective way to train the SSC for your arms developing significant arm power and force production. When you incorporate them utilizing a bench as I show here in the video you’re able to quickly pull these into your workout.

Additionally the bench also helps you to gauge your power as you can quickly assess how far off the bench you’re capable of push your body when performing the plyometric push up. In addition to this it’s a bit friendlier on the wrists, elbows, and shoulders utilizing the bench as more weight is distributed to your feet as you perform these.


Place your hands on the bench in line directly underneath your armpits. Lower yourself into the base of the push up and forcefully push yourself off of the bench generating enough force to elevate your hands from the bench. As you fall back towards the bench absorb the landing lowering yourself into the next push up to execute a subsequent repetition.

Once again land softly (like your landing on a glass surface) and keep your body straight and rigid from your shoulders all the way to your ankles and at a 45 degree angle to the bench. Don’t break form at your core, or pillar when performing these.


Perform 3 to 5 sets of 4 to 7 reps on your upper body power training days. For a more advanced variation perform these directly on the floor from a standard push up position, or after potentiating your nervous with a heavier strength movement such as the dumbbell, or barbell bench press just prior to the superset.

I would ONLY recommend performing these if you are proficient at performing standard push ups and handling free weights for bench pressing with higher intensity.

The Takeaway From Plyometric Drills

By including plyometric drills into your training you give yourself an immediate upgrade to your MMA and Combat fitness program. Training the SSC to be an immediate form of force production in your movements in life, in the ring, and in the weight room will completely transform your fitness and performance.

Are you currently following a safe and effective plyometric program? 

Do you incorporate sprinting and jumping into your strength and conditioning? 

How many days a week do you perform plyometric drills? 

Are you guarding joints when performing plyometric movements? 

Please post up in the comments below to tell us about it!

Also if you want to learn how to tie these together then make sure you check out my brand new 90 Day MMA Strength And Conditioning Program right here below! I guarantee it’ll get you into the best shape of your life, or I’ll give you your money back no questions asked.


It’s changing lives already!

Related Articles:

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3 Top Conditioning And HIIT Workouts For MMA And Combat Fitness

4 Point Hip Stretch Series: Squat Prep Your Hips

5 Unique Strength Drills To Enhance MMA Performance And Serious Fitness

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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