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4 Steps to MMA Core Strength

4 Steps to MMA Core Strength

November 28, 2016
Updated May 15, 2020

What if you woke up in a different world…Somewhere like Mad Max with a giant steel cage and the roar of thousands cheering and taunting.

Imagine yourself being escorted inside the cage, ready for battle, armed with only your training and fearlessness.

Ding, ding…bright lights…cheering…taunting…quick hands…BOOM, you’re on your back! Now this is where the workout begins.

As a former professional MMA fighter, I am familiar with the scenario above and what it takes to never back down, even when on your back.

It is common to hear that fighters do not have strength while on their backs, as it is considered a weak position of attack.

Although it may not be the best position of attack, it certainly does not need to be a weak position.

MMA Core Strength & the Kettlebell

In my career, I’ve given opponents a serious run while they were in my guard and it is all because of the mighty kettlebell. Some of the most important aspects of kettlebell training are directly related to fighting.

For example, increased hand torque from rotation in your press and greater strength/stabilization in your posterior chain.

Whether or not you are a fighter, you never want to have a point of WEAKness, especially with all the other imminent threats out there – zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, and Solange Knowles. So, now that you know what you are up against let’s do it!!

For the following workout, I have combined two great kettlebell exercises to help strengthen through the emulation of MMA style escapes and attacks from your back!

Floor Press to Half Turkish Get Up

Begin by laying next to a kettlebell on your right side, rollover to the kettlebell, lift up the kettlebell with your right hand, assisting the bell with your left hand. Once you’re set and on your back, you are ready to fight through the next steps…

Adam Von Rothfelder beginning turkish get up

Step 1: the kettlebell with a strong wrist and a slight rotation off your chest. With a strong hand lower the bell down with tension. As the elbow grazes the floor immediately, prepare the body for the Half Turkish Get Up.


Step 2: Bring the kettlebell to your chest and press it so that you arm back to the vertical position and locked at the top.


Step 3: Keeping your right knee bent, use your right foot and left arm to get yourself into a seated position almost like a sweep. Plant your right foot and use your left arm to drive up through your hips, bringing your left knee to the ground.


Step 4a: Keeping your foot planted, elevate your hips parallel to the ground and pause at the top.


Step 4b: Reverse and Repeat.


Notes: Tension is critical in all training, especially while targeting the core/spine area with overhead weight. Make sure to focus on your breathing to maintain proper tension and strength so you avoid injury and early fatigue.

Adam Von Rothfelder, born in 1982, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, is a former professional MMA fighter, personal trainer and owner/lead trainer at Drench Fitness Boutique. At 22 years old, Von Rothfelder immersed himself into the world of amateur and professional fighting and kickboxing. He began fighting and participating in kickboxing matches throughout Wisconsin. In 2006, he won the “Milwaukee Rumble,” an amateur kickboxing competition, and in 2007, he took second place in the Natural Bodybuilding Midwest competition. In 2008, he took second in the Midwest N.A.G.A Championship, which prompted him to enter the world of mixed martial arts.
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