Best MMA Exercise 3 of 5: Ball Throw and Sprawl

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Starting Position: Throwing Weighed Medicine Ball Against Wall

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Position 2: In the time that the ball is being slammed against the wall, perform an explosive sprawl to the ground. 

Hopefully you have been enjoying this week’s series on MMA’s best exercises.  I have narrowed it down to 5 – one for each day of this cold December week.  Once again, you do not need to be an MMA fighter to work these exercises into your routine.  Although space and sometimes equipment may interfere with this being in tomorrow’s routine, I have some modifications that can be made to spice up your routine and give you a taste of why MMA training is still intense with or without all the tools.  This particular drill can be done solo, but is also very successful with a training partner.  The idea is to use a weighed medicine ball which adds intensity, builds punching strength and also buys you enough time to make a full body movement (like the sprawl).  If you try to use a gym ball against the wall, it will come back way too fast and you will end up chasing it around most of the time.  However, if you are training with a partner, any ball will do, but no extra kudos point for throwing your 5th grade gym class ball. In which case, your partner can just act as Vanna Whilte and clap each time you get up from the ground to catch or when they catch the ball you sprawl and then they throw it when you get up and perform the sprawl.  In other words, you are alternating.
Ball Throw and Sprawl: It is critical to begin this drill in a fighting stance.  You can either throw the ball two handed (which is the easiest), or off of a straight cross or jab (I like alternating the throwing arm to maximize the sport specific training aspect of the drill).   After throwing the ball, drop explosively into a sprawl (which is the drill for defending a take down).  If you are not sure of the perfect sprawl technique, don’t sweat it.  I actually love this exercise with a classic burpie push up.  If you are still not sure what I am talking about, a burpie push up is when you bend both knees, lowering to the ground, lowering your hands on the floor, kicking your legs back into a plank position, dropping into a push-up and then reversing yourself up to your original standing position.  The key is to avoid hinging from the hips when going to the ground (or bending over) and when you are getting back up, get your hands into a guard to help lift your upper body more quickly.  When you are fatiguing, skip the push up to avoid injury.  Remember you can bounce the ball against a brick or concrete wall from a safe distance so the ball does not hit you in the face, a trainer or friend can roll the ball back to you or you can do this across a room with a partner catching the ball and throwing it back.
How Many? If this exercise is brand new to you or if you have not been doing explosive training, start with 5 reps.  Take plenty of rest or allow your heart rate to lower from an anaerobic level and repeat for 3 sets total.  Increase your intensity by adding reps.

Let me know if you work this or already have it as part of your regiment.  Give readers specific feedback on how you like to work this into your routine.

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