ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Olympic Lifts for MMA

Updated on May 25, 2014

Explosive Power in MMA

MMA is a sport that requires coordination throughout the entire body, combined with continued explosive power. Being able to explode over and over again is very taxing on the muscles, cardiovascular system, and the central nervous system. Many fighters will gas in the first five to ten minutes of a fight that can go on for as long as twenty-five minutes.

Many MMA athletes have a hard time reaching this level of fitness, especially if they haven't been lifting for a several years prior. For these athletes, Olympic lifts and their derivatives might be the best way to gain quick explosive power combined with fantastic anaerobic conditioning.  These Olympic lifts give them the ability to go for the full fifteen or twenty-five minutes while maintaining a frantic pace, which allows them to overwhelm their opponents.

Pros of Olympic Lifts for MMA

There are many benefits associated with using Olympic lifts in an MMA strength and conditioning program. If more athletes used it, fighters would gas less and put on better fights. Here's a list that details the benefits of including Olympic lifts in your MMA workout.

  • Aside from heavy compound lifts, it is the quickest way to train strength.
  • Nothing comes close to developing the same sort of explosive power.
  • Olympic lifts will increase strength while limiting muscle gain, allowing a fighter to become stronger without moving up in weight.
  • Olympic lifts give more "bang for the buck," which means shorter workouts while still getting the same or better results.
  • It increases muscular coordination and cooperation, and therefore balance and agility.
  • Many of the movements are functionally similar to those used in MMA, making it easy to translate the power to the cage.
  • Olympic lifts will also increase cardiovascular conditioning, which means the fighter can last longer while using more force.
  • Since Olympic lifts almost entirely use eccentric contraction, the risk of injury is very low if they are done correctly.
  • They are modular, which means you can just practice on certain parts of the lift if you have a hard time doing the full motion.

Cons of Olympic Lifts for MMA

Like all exercise programs, one centered on Olympic lifts does have its downsides. Fortunately, they are few--although the main point of contention is pretty major and should not be overlooked. The choice of an Olympic program versus a standard program depends on your training background, which I'll discuss later.

  • Olympic lifts require a long time to master, which can detract from skill training and the like. While the movements translate well to MMA, it's still better to spend the time actually training how to fight.
  • It is very taxing on the central nervous system and the endocrine system, which can lead to a CNS crash and overtraining if done more than necessary.
  • While Olympic lifts are safe if done properly, they still put the joints in compromising positions which can increase the risk of injury if they are done incorrectly
  • It is very hard to learn proper form without instruction, so these exercises should only be practiced with an experienced lifter.

Should I use Olympic Lifts?

The choice to use Olympic lifts in your strength and conditioning program depends almost entirely on what your training background is.

You should not consider Olympic lifts if...

you've been lifting for a long time, then you might not benefit from Olympic lifts as much, as you already have a very strong base. You don't need to build it up as much, so adapting an entirely new form of training will not be a worthwhile investment. This is especially true if you don't have much training in martial arts, as the time spent on learning the proper form for the various Olympic lifts can instead be spent on training striking and grappling.

You should consider Olympic lifts if...

you're relatively new to lifting, but have a strong background in martial arts. If you've been cross-training for some time or are elite in any aspect of MMA, then you can probably spare some time to learn the proper form. Since many martial arts gyms do not stress weight training, you probably won't have much experience in it, so switching to Olympic lifts won't be a serious shift in training activities--you'd still need to spend time learning proper form for the normal lifts, so why not spend a little extra time learning even better ones?*

*Note that you'll still need to build up your core stability when preparing to do Olympic lifts.  Do not forego deadlifts, squats, or any similar exercises.  They are a required precursor to a successful and injury-free Olympic lifting program.  Core stability is absolutely required if you are going to do these.

Clean and Jerk

Here's an example of the clean and jerk, which is probably the best lift in the world. It's great for training explosive power, but also very hard to learn. If this exercise is too difficult to learn or you have no one instructing you, then you can instead work on hang cleans, power cleans, or high pulls, or any other derivative.

You should not attempt this exercise until you have improved your core stability, specifically in your lower back. This is an exercise that should be respected; a lack of caution will lead to injury.

Power Snatch

The power snatch is a variation of the snatch designed to promote power and explosiveness. This is one of the best exercises to gain explosive strength. In my opinion, the power snatch is easier to learn than the clean and jerk, so this might be a better exercise for MMA athletes.

Note that the power snatch is NOT an Olympic lift, but a derivative of one. 


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TheMMAZone profile image


      7 years ago from Kansas

      Olympic lifts are the best for MMA functional strength. Thanks


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)