By Editors of Men’s Health
In the world of Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bas Rutten is a bit of a legend. He traveled the globe and trained in Japan throughout the 1990’s. After retiring in 1999, he was inducted to the UFC Hall of Fame and continues to give back to the industry that made him a household name.
Since hanging up his grappling shorts, the Dutch fighter has gone on to appear in many television shows and movies. He also owns a gym in California where he developed an MMA training system. We traveled to his Westlake Village facility to find out what it takes to get the body of an MMA fighter. The 12-move circuit is decidedly difficult—even for seasoned pros like Rutten.
For the workout, perform each move for 50 seconds and rest for 10 seconds in between each move. Do the entire circuit three times for an intense full-body workout worthy of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Lift the ball above your head and slam it down to the ground. Catch it, lift it back up, and repeat as many times as you can for 50 seconds. This move will help develop your core for “ground and pound striking.”
Lift your arms overhead and pull them down to your side as your knee comes up to your chest. Do this alternating on each side. Build up to multiple kicks per side before switching.
Fall into the push up position and let your hips touch the ground and get back up. This move is great at preparing your for takedown defense and building your core. You can think of them as “MMA burpees.”
Keep your arms against your body so you are using your triceps and extending your arms. This movement mirrors how you punch.
Jumps Over Bag or Shield
Jump over a bag or a shield laying on the floor without hopping or double jumping in between. Keep your feet together and immediately push off the ground each time.
Rutten likes to do his bicep curls holding a kettlebell, but says you can use any kind of weights accessible to you.
Lay on your back with your legs in a tabletop position. Use your core (and some momentum) to hop your back off of the floor. This is great for arm bars and triangle choke attempts for guard, plus it’s a tough ab exercise.
Ground and Pound on Bag or Shield
Straddle your bag and use your elbow to strike it. You can also perform knee strikes to target both the upper and lower body.
Set two markers on the ground about 30 feet apart. Run back and forth as many times as you can in 50 seconds. As you approach the marker each time, slow down to tap the ground. You’ll want to “put the brakes on” so you don’t run past your marker. This is a tough conditioning exercise that will really get your heart rate up.
Perform deep squats. For an extra challenge, make these jumping squats by bringing your knees to your chest.
Keep your arms straight as you swing the kettlebell. Make sure the movement comes from your hips, not from your shoulders. This helps develop powerful hips to stop takedowns.
Rutten developed this move himself to work the core muscles. Stand in a horse stance and cross your arms in front of you in an “X”. Start twisting your upper body side to side with explosive power and speed while keeping your head and lower body perfectly still.