Whether you’re a power puncher or a wrestler, explosive power is essential to being a good fighter. That’s why British welterweight contender Dan Hardy spends a lot of time on the plyometric drills that develop it.
‘With the hurdles, we’re looking to train Dan’s stretch reflex reaction using his bodyweight,’ explains Hardy’s strength coach Ollie Richardson. ‘As he lands on the floor he’s using that reflex to power over the next hurdle, looking to impart as much force into the floor as possible. Training your nervous system to react in that way can be the difference between landing a punch and having one landed on him.’
For the more advanced athlete, Richardson recommends reactive strength drills. ‘These work the lower posterior chain, including the achilles tendon and calf complex,’ he says. ‘The harder you push the tendon, the harder it’ll spring back – so by tightening that spring, we’re ensuring that Dan will move back and then push off faster. It’s a pretty advanced move though, so don’t try it without strengthening your calves for a couple of months first.’
Hurdle jumps, sets 3, reps 4 jumps
- Set up three or four hurdles at roughly waist height.
- Jump over them with both feet together, concentrating on landing on your toes and rebounding quickly.
Reactive strength drills, sets 3, reps 5 each side
- Bounce rhythmically from toe to toe. Your heels shouldn’t touch the floor at all.
- Keep your knees soft and not locked out – you’re trying to overload your achilles tendon, and if you absorb too much with your knee joint you lose the training effect.
Fight move – fake shot to combo
'If your opponent’s trying to force you into a kickboxingmatch, he’ll often drop his hands when you threaten a takedown,'explains Hardy. 'That’s when you come up with a left hook and crack himround the face. That brings his hands straight back up so finish offwith a kick to the midsection.’
Here's how you do it:
- Bend your knees and step forwards as if you’re going for a takedown.
- Instead of finishing it, straighten up and throw a left hook.
- Your hips should be facing to the right. Pivot left as you throw a kick at your opponent’s abdomen.
If you're gonna try to develop explosive power like Dan Hardy, might as well try his core workout, too.
Next month we're starting a new UFC workout series with Hardy's stablemate Paul Daley. Subscribe to the mag (opens in new tab) to ensure you don't miss any of his innovative drills.
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