by Troy Macraft

Not only do huge shoulder and chest muscles make a warrior look more imposing, but these muscles, when properly trained, can also make him more dangerous. Without a strong set of deltoid and pectoral muscles, the warrior surely has less chance of victory and a greater chance of injury.

These powerful muscles are used in almost every upper-body motion in MMA and protect the most unstable and often-attacked shoulder joint. Offensively, these muscles are essential in throwing powerful punches in stand-up, crushing an opponent in the clinch, and during take-downs and submission attempts. Defensively, these muscles are used to keep the hands up during stand-up, to pummel in and out of the clinch, and to fight off takedown attempts on the feet and submission attempts on the ground. Understanding this, the warrior must develop a set of cannonballs for shoulders that will protect the shoulder joint and demolish the opponent.

The warrior needs to understand that this area of the body is not worked best with a single pushing exercise like the bench press. Beneath the large shoulder muscles lie the four muscles called the rotator cuff. These muscles are used to decelerate the arm when punching and to rotate the arm during clinches, ground work, and submission attempts. Since these muscles are small and commonly under-trained, warriors often injure them.

Since the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint of the body, there are many possible positions that the shoulder joint can attain during an MMA match. Make sure that the shoulder is being trained at many angles and in many directions in order to help stabilize this mobile and often unstable joint. Injury to this area can be devastating and career ending. The right exercises will ensure that the only career that is in jeopardy is that of your opponent.

Without a powerful set of arms and hands, the warrior is powerless against his opponent. There is nothing more impressive than a chiseled set of arms on a warrior.

In addition to being one of the first lines of defense, the arms and hands are also the offensive extensions of the power transferred up through the feet, legs, core, and shoulders. When this energy is transmitted properly through a stable and strong warrior, the power output of the grip and strikes from the arms and hands is nothing short of explosive. Along with powerful strikes, the arms and hands are obviously also instrumental in clinch work, wrist control, takedowns, and all submission attempts. This region of the body is also critical defensively for shielding the body and head from foot and hand strikes and for submission escapes. Without strong arms and a strong grip, it is as if the warrior has chosen to bring a knife to a gunfight.

For instance, chin-ups and pull-ups are great exercises to train both the muscles of the arms and the grip.

A warrior cannot control his opponent if he is pushing him away. Even though a warrior may be hitting the gym hard, that warrior's training methods in the gym may not match the demands of actual competition in the ring. One of the most common errors in upper-body training is the overuse of pushing versus pulling movements used in training for fighting.

MMA has developed into a system that often involves pulling an opponent into a clinch, taking the opponent down by keeping them close, and then keeping him off balance, controlling and possibly submitting him with pulling movements on the ground. In everything from all takedown attempts like the double leg and arm drag to your opponent trying to get away or establish posture, you must be constantly using strong, continuous pulling movements. Even as an opponent drives into your guard or shoots in, or you snatch down on a guillotine for the finish, pulling is still more important than pushing an opponent away, to create off-balancing and control. The arms assist the warrior in these motions, but it is the large and powerful muscles of the back that make everything happen. This is why the warrior must have a chiseled back resembling a bag of rocks under his training shirt. Develop this critical area and you will have the edge over an opponent who focuses solely on upper-body pushing movements in the gym.

The pull-up and chin-up are probably two of the oldest known exercises. These are awesome exercises for the development of the muscles of the back, arms, and grip. The pull-up is also a great exercise for identifying relative body strength. This means how strong a warrior is at his or her body weight. Since most MMA events utilize weight classes, your goal as a warrior is to be the strongest competitor pound for pound in your weight division. Whether you are light or heavy, you need to be able to perform many pull-ups. The gold standard for warriors is at least 20 pull-ups for a maximal attempt. If you cannot do 20, you need to either lose weight or get stronger at your current weight.

For you to really get the most out of your training, there has to be variety in not only the exercises but also in the directions of the movements.

About The Author
Troy Macraft The MMA Zone - Where traditional and the cutting edge collide! http://www.TheMMAZone.NET