Ultimate Powerlifting Workout for Fighters: Enhance Strength and Performance

Fighters must be in condition to excel in their sport. In addition to mastering fighting techniques, they need to have anaerobic fitness, strength, endurance and flexibility. 

Strength plays a role in winning matches. That’s why it is essential for fighters to incorporate strength training into their routine, known as preparedness (GPP).

This article will share the strength exercises for fighters. Provide a sample workout for you to try. You’ll discover training methods for your fighting sport without having to follow bodybuilding or powerlifting routines. So, lets get started.

The 5 Best Powerlifting Workouts for Fighters

Do You Know?

The sports equipment market in the US is currently valued at $17.5 billion with expectations of surpassing $20 billion by 2025. Let’s relate this growth to the workout requirements of fighters.

Have you ever wondered how powerlifting workouts can enhance your performance, inside the ring? Whether you’re a wrestler, boxer, judoka or MMA fighter incorporating powerlifting exercises into your training regimen can elevate your strength and control to heights.

Let’s explore the five powerlifting workouts specifically tailored for fighters.

1. Zercher Squat

Zercher Squat

The Zercher squat, which is named after powerlifter Ed Zercher is an exercise, for fighters. It targets your body like what you need inside the ring or octagon. This particular movement specifically enhances your throwing and takedown abilities.

How To Do It:

  • 1. Position a barbell at waist height within a rack.
  • 2. Squat down. Loop your arms under the barbell allowing it to rest in the bends of your elbows. If necessary, use padding for added comfort.
  • 3. Engage your core muscles. Pull your shoulders down and back.
  • 4. Lift the barbell off the rack. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • 5. Maintain a position of your body as you bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat until your thighs are at least parallel to the ground. Avoid rounding or straining your lower back.
  • 6. Rise back up to a standing position. Repeat the movement.


2. Floor Press for Fighters

powerlifting, floor squat

While bench press exercises are well known they may not always be optimal for fighters as they can put strain on the shoulders. Instead consider incorporating floor presses into your training routine as they’re gentler on joints while still being ideal for combat sports. This exercise focuses on strengthening the muscles for pushing opponents while you’re positioned on your back.

How To Do It:

  • Place a barbell either on blocks or within a rack, at thigh height.
  • Lie down on the floor beneath the bar making sure to grip it wider, than your shoulders.
  • Lift the barbell. Hold it over your chest.
  • Lower the weight until your triceps gently touch the floor push it up.
  • Repeat this movement.

Important Note;

You have the option to use dumbbells or kettlebells for this exercise. For a fighter approach you can try bridge floor presses by lifting your hips. If you’re concerned about protecting your joints, consider using 7mm sleeves  for added support.


3. Towel Grip Chin-Up

For fighters having a grip is just as important as having arms and back muscles. This exercise targets your back, biceps and grip all at once—perfect for getting the most out of your workout time.


How To Do It:

  • Hang two towels over a pull up bar, beam or tree branch with them spaced shoulder width 
  • Grab onto the towels with your palms facing grip) hanging from them with your arms straight and feet off the ground.
  • Bend your arms. Pull yourself up until your shoulders are roughly level, with your hands.
  • Lower yourself down in a controlled manner. Repeat this movement.

4. Barbell Rollout

The barbell rollout is an exercise for fighters to strengthen their core muscles which’re essential, for both defense and attack. These muscles provide protection against stomach hits. Generate power for kicks, punches and throws. 

How To Do It:

  • To do the exercise start by placing a loaded barbell on the floor and kneeling behind it. 
  • Grab the bar with a grip that’s shoulder width apart and tighten your abs. 
  • Keep your arms straight as you extend your hips and roll the barbell away from you lowering your chest towards the floor. Be careful not to arch your lower. 
  • Engage your abs and lats to roll the barbell to your knees repeat the movement. 
  • You can also try doing this exercise while standing. Its considerably more challenging that way.

5. Pendlay Row

Another important exercise is the Pendlay Row. While it’s tempting to focus on chest and arm strength for punching power don’t forget about your muscles—they play a crucial role too! They help set up your punches and pull your arm back for strikes. Your back (along, with biceps) plays a part in striking well.

When it comes to exercises for the back there are options, like dumbbell rows or cable rows. However, the Pendlay row, also known as the dead-stop row stands out as one of the choices.

Taking pauses between repetitions gives your grip. Back a moment to recover allowing you to lift heavier weights. Additionally, these pauses increase the difficulty of each repetition by interrupting the stretch shortening cycle.


Here’s how you can perform the Pendlay row;


  • 1. Begin by placing the barbell on the floor. Stand with your feet positioned hip to shoulder width apart ensuring that your toes are positioned under the bar.
  • 2. Slightly bend your knees. Hinge forward from your hips while keeping your body parallel to the floor and maintaining a slightly arched lower back.
  • 3. With a grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width grasp onto the barbell.
  • 4. Brace your core muscles. Pull the bar up towards your abdomen while leading with your elbows. Make sure to keep your body stable and avoid relying on leg or lower back strength.
  • 5. Lower the barbell down to the floor in a controlled manner reset yourself in position and repeat.


Interesting fact; 

Did you know that estimates suggest that the gym, health and fitness club market in the United States is worth around $32 billion?



We are all aware that fighters rely on strength and technique to excel in combat sports such as boxing or MMA. These powerlifting exercises specifically target muscle groups, for grappling techniques delivering powerful punches and enhancing defensive abilities.

It’s not, about being physically strong. Also having mental resilience and agility. Our training sessions cover everything from the basics to techniques so no matter your current skill level we can help you improve as a fighter. Get prepared to enhance your martial arts training with us! Feel free to reach out to us or visit our website for details.


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