Strength Training Exercises to Boost Your Martial Arts Performance

In the pursuit of martial arts excellence, daily technique practice is indispensable. However, to reach your peak, incorporating strength training into your regimen becomes a game-changer. Without building strength, you risk hitting a plateau in your progress.

To continuously advance and elevate your skills, crafting a personalized strength routine tailored to your unique needs and goals is the key. Through this tailored approach, you can expect remarkable improvements in muscle development, speed, and cardiovascular endurance. This article reveals the best exercises to build full-body power that transfers to elevated skills. With movements like deadlifts, squats, and plyometrics added to your training, you’ll strike harder, react quicker, and outlast opponents. 

#1 Deadlifts Build Raw, Full-Body Power

Deadlifts are one of the ultimate full-body power exercises. They work all the major muscle groups—your quads, hamstrings, back, core, and more. By mastering deadlifts, you’ll gain benefits like increased striking power, better explosiveness, improved balance, and added muscle mass. In short, deadlifts can take your martial arts skills to the next level.

Moreover, top fighters will need deadlifts to develop the brute strength needed for MMA. 

It’s no wonder top fighters like UFC champion Israel Adesanya’s workout and training routine incorporates deadlifts sets and reps to maximize strength during top fights.

Now that you know the benefits, let’s get into proper deadlift form:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart behind barbell
  • Bend knees and grip bar outside legs
  • Keep back flat, chest up as you drive through heels
  • Lift bar by extending hips and knees
  • Slowly lower bar back to floor with control

Aim for 3–4 sets of 3–6 reps, gradually increasing weight. Just be sure to maintain proper form on each and every rep.

#2 Squats: Build Lower Body Strength and Power

Squats are another exercise that can dramatically boost martial arts skills by developing incredible strength in the legs and lower body. Regular squats will help you:

  • Increase power and explosiveness in kicks
  • Improve balance and stability for better footwork
  • Build muscle mass in quads, hamstrings, and glutes
  • Develop a strong core for absorbing strikes

The two main squat variations to include are back squats and front squats. Back squats allow you to lift heavier weights by having the barbell behind your neck. This targets the posterior chain. Front squats place the weight in front, challenging your core more. Aim for 3–4 sets of 6–10 reps.

To perform squats with proper form:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out
  2. Engage core, keep chest lifted
  3. Initiate movement by sending hips back
  4. Push knees out as you descend until thighs parallel
  5. Drive through heels to return to start position

For martial arts, focus on performing squats with power and explosiveness to build that athletic strength. Over time, increase the weight to continually challenge your lower body.

#3 Plyometrics: Develop Power and Agility

Plyometric exercises are essential for building the explosive power and agility needed for martial arts. This type of training uses quick, high-intensity movements to activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Incorporating plyometric moves like these will boost your athletic performance:

  1. Box Jumps: Explosively jump onto and off a box or platform. Work on increasing height.
  2. Jump Squats: Add a vertical leap as you come up into a squat position. Land softly and stabilize.
  3. Burpees: Flow from standing to the floor, kick feet back, return to squat and leap up. Intense!
  4. Lateral Lunge Jumps: Jump side-to-side in a low lunge position to build power.

Aim for 2–3 sets of 6–10 reps of each exercise. Maintain proper form as you push for more speed and height on every rep. Focus on quick transitions between movements.

Plyos increase strength, speed, power, balance, and agility – all essential for martial arts. Incorporate them into your routine 2–3 times per week for significant gains. Rest adequately between sets.


Strength lays the foundation for all martial arts success. You can drill techniques relentlessly, but power comes from tailored strength training. Exercises like deadlifts, squats, and plyometrics build the athleticism to take your skills to the next level. With a more muscular, faster, and explosive body, you’ll strike harder, last longer, and move with the agility of a champion fighter. Unlock supreme confidence in yourself and your abilities through strength.

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has been training in the art of kickboxing for over seven years, holds a Taekwondo black belt, and has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. He's a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster.
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Vladimir Vladisavljevic

Vladimir Vladisavljevic has a master's degree in sports and physical education. He has been training in kickboxing for over seven years and holds a Taekwondo black belt. He's also a huge mixed martial arts fan. Vladimir is a big deal in Bulgaria as a mixed martial arts commentator, analyst, and podcaster. He was known as The Bulgarian Cowboy in the Western world. In addition, he has a YouTube channel where he talks about his love of esports, one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Our testing and reviewing method.
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