When I started thinking about portable MMA training gear it dawned on me that for a piece of equipment to be truly useful for mixed martial arts training, it had to perform on at least three fronts – namely strength, conditioning and skills work. I also wanted to make the equipment as portable as possible. Something light that could be incorporated into a large gym bag at least. So with all that said and done, here is my first piece of equipment.
This is probably the most ideal piece of kit for MMA (and taking with you on holiday). It’s about as portable as it gets and can go from weighing almost nothing to up to 80 kilos in some cases. Obviously, by this range of flexibility, you can use a sandbag for low weight higher rep cardio style conditioning work, all the way up to the maximum effort to strength work. It is also good as a substitute grappling dummy. You can use it to train slam downs and ground and pound. Another great use for a sandbag while you are away from a gym, is to use it as a punch bag. Fill the bottom part of it with sand and tightly pad the rest of it out with clothes. Then hang it from something and you have a virtual heavy bag on which to practice punching and kicks.
Of course, you can put more than stand inside a sandbag if you don’t have access to a beach for instance. You could fill it with dirt, wet clothing, or anything else that has some kind of weight to it. I’m not going to go into the infinite variety of exercises you can use with a sandbag. Suffice to say it is limitless what you can do with one. Brock Lesnar trains with a 100kg sandbag from time to time to increase his manhandling strength.
Two types of rope here. Jump rope and the stuff they use on ships. Keeping with the portable theme, a decent piece of rope goes a long way in terms of training for raw strength and the type of grip strength needed in modern MMA and grappling. It’s best to have various thicknesses of rope, so that you can train all sorts of grips. I like to use rope for all kinds of pull ups as it stresses the grip and forearms and has great carry over to grappling strength. Rope can also be tied to odd shaped but heavy objects that you could otherwise not take hold of. This will enable you to perform all sorts of exercises with things like logs and rocks. Presses, pulls, curls and throws are possible this way. Like the sandbag, the rope is portable and light.
The boxers favourite for many decades. There is no limit to what you perform with medicine ball exercises. They come in all sorts of weights and some have handles. I prefer the solid round ones as they bounce better and can be thrown against walls and come back in a straight line. They are great for developing punching power, abdominal strength, and are fun to use. It is best to have a selection of different weights to enable you to train different aspects of strength. They are also good for training with a partner or alone.
So there you have it. 3 pieces of valuable MMA training gear that you could take anywhere, and use for any aspect of strength and conditioning.