HSP MMA Series Part 2: Power

What is power?

Power= force x displacement/time

The equation above is in simple scientific terms.

Here’s how it applies to you:

The more force you can apply in the least amount of time, the more powerful you are.

The best way to develop force is by strength training.

You need to think of a pyramid; at the base of the pyramid is strength.

The next level to the pyramid is power.

Without strength, you cannot be powerful.

Much like that analogy, you can’t build a strong house on shit foundations.

A strong foundation is a good strength base.

Once you have the base level of strength, you can start to think about developing power.

You can’t develop power out of thin air.

You would be surprised at some of the conversations I have had with fighters.

“I’m feeling slow”

Ok, well what are you doing about it?


If you’re not physically exerting yourself in the right manner, you wont be developing any physical capacities.

You need to be training and not just 6 weeks out from your fight.

To a degree, constant fight training will be breaking you down.

This all sounds really simple but its quite mind bending for me personally to think about the amount of fighters who are stuck in the old ways.

The ones that have embraced good S&C have excelled.

As I emphasized in the last blog, skill is the #1 in fight sports.

Click Here to check my last MMA piece on strength

But your physical conditioning will have a big impact on the overall results you achieve.

Are you training “power” correctly?

This question comes about from a series of consults I have had with athletes in general.

Most people have a weird idea of what power training actually is.

Its split into 3 categories, they are:

1.     Ballistic training (loaded jumps, bench throws etc)

2.     Plyometrics (jumps)

3.     Olympic weightlifting (clean, snatch)

Back to the question….which is the best?

Depends on the athletes: experience, age, level, time and a whole bunch of other factors.

Olympic weightlifting is a skill in itself, top oly lifters spending 10+ years developing this skill set. Yes it’s the best form of “power training” according to the result is produces but does take a while to perfect.

You can’t give an athlete with no experience a barbell and expect them to bang out power snatches with good technique.

We run Olympic lifting skill classes for our fighters, in these we teach the components of: snatch, clean and jerks weekly.

We break them down into smaller movements/progressions so they can be easily learnt.

Once they are at a good level we can incorporate them into our programming.

The only way we are going to get our guys to a good level over the long term is consistent practice.

If you’re practicing snatches, cleans and jerks a few times week with: light/moderate loads, good technique and good coaching you’re on a winner.

In our athletes programs we use a series of jumps and throws to stimulate: RFD (rate of force development) and the SSC (stretch shortening cycle).

Both RFD and SSC fit nicely into the overall spectrum of power training.

There are a few other factors that go into power training but that’s going to get far to deep for a blog.

You can look at any scientific paper on: plyos, ballistics + oly lifting and they will all say the same thing.

They work.

How they are incorporated into programming is athlete specific.

How important is power in MMA?

I’d say correct power training is very important.

Not as important as having a solid strength base.

Obviously taking into consideration that this athlete has good mobility and no injuries.

The faster the strike delivered by the athlete, the more chance the strike will have a devastating impact on their opponent.

Increased power could be the difference between a win and a loss.

What are some common rules to follow with power training?

·      Quality over quantity

·      Focus on intent of the movement

·      Maximise velocity of the: bar, ball or jump to its fullest potential

·      Low reps per set

·      As soon as velocity decreases past a threshold, shut it down

·      Multiple sets to maximize the velocity

·      Jumps: minimal ground contact time essential

Plyometrics contacts per session:

Beginner: 80-100

Intermediate: 100-120

Advanced: 120-140

Plyometrics sessions per week:

2-3 depending on time point in the year/goals.

How do you incorporate power training into a program?

As I alluded to above, we like all of our guys to oly lift when they’re ready.

Once a certain technical proficiency is met, we will start programming oly lifting and its variations into our programming.

Most of our fighters training twice a week so here’s a run down of our programming:

In our programming our “A” exercise will usually be an oly lifting or its variations.

If they’re not technically ready we roll a ballistic variation.

We program low reps, multiple sets with an emphasis on velocity/bar speed.

We monitor the velocity with the push power bands and collect the data over time.

Once we have a data series we can break down progress in velocity over time with the same load.

For reference we are aiming for <1.6 m/s for most of our oly lifts.

Guys with a good strength base can get this done.

I’ve seen data from other athletes around the globe/sports and feel it’s a good standard.

I know some coaches are aiming for <2.0 m/s which is ELITE.

Usually we will program jumps/throws into the tail end of our warm-up to “excite” the system ready for work.

I hope this brief blog gave you some insight into power training.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

By Tim Frey MS.c