MMA Strength Training with Death Sets


MMA Durability Exercising

When most people think of training with heavy weight, they follow the mindset that it must be done with low reps. Same kind of thinking goes with the reverse: light weight, a lot more reps. When it comes to MMA strength training however, MMA fighters are the rare type of athletes that need not only raw MMA strength, but strength endurance as well, or the ability to exert maximum or near maximum effort over and over for a long period of time. One way you can incorporate this into your MMA strength training routine is through power complexes, where you superset a compound exercise with heavy weight and low reps immediately with a light or body weight exercise for a lot of reps.

This is a very effective way of developing both MMA strength and strength enduranace, and you can do this to develop your power and power endurance as well.

Death Sets

Another but much less known method fighters can incorporate into their MMA strength training routine is called “Death Sets,” and by their name you’ll get a glimpse of how grueling they are.

The concept of death sets is simple: heavy weight for a lot of reps.

Huh? Isn’t that a paradox?

Maybe, but this can be done with a few exercises, mainly compound MMA exercises for the bigger muscles.

The most grueling exercise you can do, but also perhaps the most beneficial as a MMA fighter and complete athlete overall, are death sets with squats.

Here’s how you do them. Load up the barbell with weight you would normally do 10 reps with. How do you make this into a death set? Do 20 reps with it instead. On paper, this may sound illogical and even impossible, but most people underestimate their capacity with certain exercises.You can’t do this with every exercise, such as isolation exercises, but with the major compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bent-over barbell rows, you can definitely give it hell.

Try incorporating these into your MMA strength training workouts a couple times a year.

I usually don’t suggest doing them more then 2 to 3 times a year, 6 or so weeks at a time, as it’s too exhausting to do in conjuction with regular MMA conditioning and skills training and requires a lot of rest in between each workout (3- 4 days in between each). You’ll not just discover it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do physically, but you’ll be developing strength, strength endurance, conditioning, cardio, and mental toughness all in one.

Travis Lutter
Jiu Jitsu


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