Learn How to Improve Your MMA Takedowns

By Elite Sports on

The ability to take your opponent down is an essential aspect of MMA. Takedowns can significantly increase your chances of winning a fight or at least leaving your opponent in a vulnerable position.

Takedowns have primarily emerged from martial arts like jiu-jitsu and wrestling. They are an important component of MMA as every lethal MMA fighter practice takedown.

If you are a good ground fighter then your first goal will be to take down your opponent and establish dominance.

So, let’s have a look at some of the best techniques to improve your MMA takedowns.

Also Read, Best Mixed Martial Arts Workouts

Importance of Takedowns In MMA

An effective takedown is a show of power for any MMA fighter. Unless the UFC decides to eliminate wrestling techniques or defines new rules, takedowns are the elementary skills that you need.

In the words of some veteran MMA fighters, takedowns and takedown defense has taken over MMA. If a fighter ‘A’ has good takedown skills then fighter ‘B’ then we predict that ‘A’ is going to win unless ‘B’ has mastered takedown defense skills.

Here is a graph demonstrating the UFC champions between 2000 to 2018 according to primary fighting style.

It’s clear from the graph that most UFC champions are the ones who have been sticking to wrestling as the primary fighting style.

We know that wrestling is a sport that requires taking down your opponent in order to score points and win a fight. So, it won’t be wrong if we say that the ratio of highest UFC champions is through takedowns.

If this is not enough for you to mark the importance of takedowns then look at the fighting style that created the second most UFC champions.

Also Read: The Best Wrestling Workouts To Help With Fitness

Yes, you are right, BJJ. It’s also a martial art that relies on taking down your opponent to establish dominance and making them submit.

Ground fighting is much easier than throwing powerful punches and maintaining fast footwork.

If you are not flexible enough and can’t make fast movements then your best move is to hold the opponent in an uncomfortable position to make them tap out.

Exercises That Help to Improve Takedowns

If you wish to improve your takedown skills then first you must focus on developing rigorous strength levels through specific exercises.

We have found some of the best exercises that break down the mechanics of skills performed while taking down your opponent.

Focus Points

  • Working on the posterior chain muscles i.e, muscles originating from the lower back to hamstrings.
  • Working on muscles of the rotational transverse plane i.e oblique, serratus anterior to increase our stability.
  • Incorporating balance and stability exercises.

Banded Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings engage the muscles in your posterior chain to produce the force for swing. You will intensify this workout by adding a resistance band with the kettlebell.

The resistance band allows you to fully explode your hips without decelerating. It’s a perfect exercise to develop hip strength and increase explosiveness.

How To Do It
  • First, you have to make a triangle using the kettlebell, band, and your feet.
  • Grab the kettlebell with both hands and lift it.
  • Swing the kettlebell till it’s parallel with your face.
  • Now, pull it downwards between your legs.
  • Repeat this movement.

Sets: 4

Reps: 12RM- 10RM- 8RM- 8RM (Increase resistance after each set)

Kettlebell Pull Through

This exercise helps in strengthening your core and rotational traverse muscles. These muscles help you in turn when you are executing a takedown.

How To Do It
  • Get on all fours.
  • Lift your heels by pressing your toes against the floor.
  • Place a kettlebell against your left arm.
  • Hold the kettlebell with your right hand and place it against your right arm.
  • Repeat this transition with both sides.

Sets: 4

Reps: 12RM- 12RM- 12RM- 12RM (For each side)

Sled Push

This is an incredibly beneficial exercise for improving your driving power that is essential for effective takedowns.

How To Do It
  • Stand against the sled with a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Start pushing the sled using force from your legs and butt.
  • Begin with lightweight and more distance.
  • Gradually increase the weight to increase explosives.

Useful Drills To Improve Your Takedowns

Medicine Ball Bear Hug

A bear hug is a dominant position in MMA that allows you to establish control over your opponent’s upper body and take them down.

To effectively perform a bear hug, you need to have immense levels of strength in your arms and upper body muscles.

How To Do It
  • Grab a medicine ball against your chest by crossing both arms.
  • Roll your left arm against the bag and grab its wrist with your right hand.
  • Hold it as tight as possible.
  • Walk while holding the ball tightly.

Wrestling Knee Tag Drill

The knee tag is a fundamental drill for all wrestlers. It helps in increasing the speed of your takedown and improving flexibility.

How To Do It
  • Stand in front of your partner, bending your knees and back.
  • Touch the front and back of your partner’s knee one by one.
  • Try to do it as fast as possible.

Reshot Drill 

This is an all-inclusive drill to improve your takedowns and defense at the same time. It allows you to push your body harder for a takedown and use maximum force against the opponent.

When you first try to take down your opponent, they have more chances of blocking it. The reshot takedown allows you to give another effective try for taking down your opponent.

How To Do It
  • Stand in front of your partner.
  • Drop your body, your chest should be above the ground (sprawling position).
  • Jump up on your toes, right into the shooting stance.
  • Grab the partner from his knees
  • Repeat this movement.

Medicine Ball Workouts to Improve MMA Takedowns

The medicine ball can work in great ways to engage the major muscle groups in your body at once and to build explosiveness.

The majority of the exercises performed through medicine balls are compound movements. It allows you to improve balance, makes you faster inside the cage, and also improves your grappling strength.

Here are some medicine ball exercises that help you to become better at takedowns:

Squat and Throw

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the medicine ball between both hands.
  • Bend your knees and lower your body (squat position)
  • Lift back up and throw the ball upwards as high as you can.

Slamming The Ball in Different Directions

  • Hold the medicine ball between both hands.
  • Slam it as hard as you can in your forward direction.
  • Then slam it in your right direction and then in your left.
  • Make sure that you are not only using the force of your arms for throwing, engage your whole body to assist the throw.
  • Perform at least 10 reps for each side.

Jumping Exercises for Improving Takedown Skills

Jumping is an effective exercise not only to build explosiveness but also for improving your balance and strength.

Some jumping exercises that you can perform for improving your takedown skills are:

  • Plyometric box jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Long jumps
  • Frog jumps

Takeaway

Practicing exercises to build explosiveness and power can be beneficial for improving your takedowns. To perfect your takedown skills, you should incorporate takedowns in your practice fights.

The truth is that getting better at takedowns could be the most difficult challenge for any MMA fighter.

Try the above-mentioned tips and exercises and you will experience improvement in your grappling strength power for perfectly executing takedowns.