A fighter’s body should be a streamlined machine, as lean and muscular as it needs to be – no more, no less.
That requires efficient training, says mixed martial arts trainer Chad Waterbury, author of Huge in a Hurry. This workout develops strength, size and endurance simultaneously, packing so much exercise into 15 minutes that you’ll shrink your waistline, too.
Complete the four moves as a continuous superset, doing six reps of each move. Complete as many complete rounds as possible in 15 minutes, resting as needed between rounds.
Start in a modified push-up position, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your feet far enough forward that your hips rise. Now lower your body until your chin nearly touches the floor. In a continuous motion, raise your head and shoulders while lowering your hips until they almost touch the floor. Reverse the move to return to the starting position.
Grab a chin bar using an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Hang from the bar with your arms straight and knees bent. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, slowly lower yourself, and repeat.
Inverted Shoulder Press
Place your feet on a bench and your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Raise your hips so your torso is nearly perpendicular to the floor; your arms should be straight and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your head nearly touches the floor. Push back to the start position.
Upright Power Row
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms toward your body. Lean forward slightly from your hips. This is the starting position. Pull the weights up and to your sides as you straighten your torso, turning your palms toward each other on the way up. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Want to keep this a strict bodyweight session? Sub in close-grip chins.
Chad Waterbury’s fighters often end their workouts with a continuous 2-minute set of squats holding a medicine ball against their chests. “It’s great for building leg and core endurance,” he says. For a regular guy, he recommends a 10kg ball, dumbbell or weight plate.
While conditioning your legs’ endurance, the drill also builds size. “The quadriceps respond well to higher reps,” Waterbury says, noting that cyclists and speed skaters, who work these muscles for hours a day, often develop giant thighs. The drill burns fat, too, working your muscles in continual motion while you lift your body weight – plus whatever weight you’re holding.