MMA Strong With One 45-lb. Plate
Mix up your routine with these MMA fighter-tested moves.
One second you're throwing jabs and crosses, the next you're squeezing an arm and neck with everything you have, and moments later you're fighting off a choke yourself. In order to be successful inside the Octagon you need the explosiveness to land a knockout punch and the muscular endurance to keep those punches coming. And any fighter will tell you they're two very different things.
It's sometimes difficult to emulate a fight with machines in a weight room. That's why after a sparring or grappling session, professional fighter, Aljamain “The Funk Master” Sterling, goes to the weight room, walks past the bright new equipment and grabs an old, dusty 45-pound plate.
Using just that single plate, Sterling performs a continuous total body workout. 45 pounds doesn’t sound too tough right? Try not putting it down for 20 minutes like he does.
Working at a furious pace, Sterling transitions from pressing the plate over his head, then holds it across his chest for lunges, then it is on to squats, curls, tricep extensions and rows. “I treat a plate workout like I would a fight,” says Sterling. “I do an exercise for 30-40 seconds, then take a five-second break before the next one. That’s what it’s like in a fight because you explode, then you circle and catch your breath.”
Aside from performing your basic movements, he also throws in some moves he refers to as Around the Worlds and Bus Drivers for extra punishment.
“Bus drivers are when you hold the plate out in front of you with your arms outstretched and turn it left and right as you would if you were, well, driving a bus,” says Sterling. 30 seconds of this brutal exercise that leaves the stabilizer muscles in your shoulders torched, and you’ll never take power steering for granted again.
"Around the worlds" are when you take the plate in front of you at 90 degrees, then rotate the plate around your head. This exercise works your shoulders and back while tightening your core, which are essential to have strong in a fight.
For those of us who don’t make our living choking out other professional fighters, it is recommended that you start off with a 25- or 35-lb. plate and perform continuous exercises for as long as you can, slowly building up the weight and workout length.
“This is a great workout if you find yourself getting bored in the weight room,” says Sterling. “Like in a fight, you get to mix it up and 20 minutes later, your entire body is spent.”