Having a strong core is important in MMA because most of your power is generated there. Since there are several muscle groups in the core, I’m only going to focus on one for this article. The abdominals are arguably the most important muscle because they stabilize your entire body and while they don’t generate as much power as the other muscles, they’re still incredibly powerful.
When you’re working your abs for MMA, you’re going to want to focus on two things: 1. explosive power, and 2. endurance.
In order to build up explosive power in your adominals, you’ll want to do several exercises that stress the core through powerful and quick movements. Some good examples of these are power cleans and deadlifts. These exercises will put a lot of strain on all of your core muscles, but they’re also fantastic for building up a strong and explosive core base, including the abdominals. Since it’s hard to isolate the abdominals for this type of exercise, these are the two best that I can suggest. Some other exercises that you can do are snatches and power straights, both of which are very good.
For endurance training, you’ll want to do slower and more deliberate exercises. These are your traditional abdominal exercises, like sit ups and crunches. If you want to get sculpted abs, you’ll want to train more endurance. Some of the best exercises in that regard at the 45 degree incline crunch, which’ll put a ton of stress on your abs and hanging leg raises. Both of these will require a ton of endurance and strength to do in any significant amount and will promote such in your abs. While I don’t believe abdominal endurance is too important in MMA, it’s still very important, especially if you’re fighting a wrestler. Where do you think most of the power of reversals comes from?
Remember that functional ab strength doesn’t always correlate with a ripped look. The best way to get ripped looking abs is to have a low amount of bodyfat. If you want to reduce the amount of fat on your body, you can eat slightly fewer calories than you burn. With that in mind, you should be hungry throughout some of the day.
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