by Matt Wiggins – MMAWeekly.com
The week preceding UFC 71 was one of the biggest in UFC
history. Its light heavyweight champ, Chuck Liddell was on the cover of ESPN’s
magazine and had been a guest star on HBO’s Entourage. The UFC was on the
cover of Sports Illustrated. Liddell and the UFC were all over ESPN. Coverage
for UFC 71 was huge. It was looking like, if Chuck could avenge his loss to
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, he was destined to be one of the biggest
names in sports, even outside of mixed martial arts.
Well, we all know what happened. Rampage came out and KO’d
Chuck in less than two minutes catapulting himself into the spotlight. 2007
continues to be the year of the upset…
Seeing how there are a lot of new MMA fans out there, and
with all the coverage, I’m sure a lot of folks who had never seen the UFC (and
certainly had never seen Pride) wanted to find out more about Rampage Jackson.
I wonder just how many times Rampage’s name was typed into Google and You Tube
this past week?
Anyway, if you’re new to the sport – or at least had
never seen Rampage fight – you were in for a treat with a bunch of
exciting fight clips. Slams-a-plenty are there for your viewing pleasure.
Probably Rampage’s most famous slam was when he "power-bombed"
Ricardo Arona in Pride. When you want to introduce someone to Rampage, that’s
the clip you show.
But Rampage isn’t the only one slamming guys out of their
minds. Former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes is also known for his
slams. Need proof? Take a look at his slams of Hayato Sakurai, Frank Trigg
and him winning the title from Carlos Newton.
There are others, too. UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk
has slammed more than one opponent. Former UFC Champion Tito Ortiz beat Evan
Tanner when he knocked him out cold from a slam. It was in a losing effort,
but Kevin Randleman suplexed Fedor right on his head (good thing Fedor is made
of 22nd-century Cyborg technology or it might have broken his neck). Former
Pride Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva slammed Kazushi Sakuraba, injuring
his shoulder. And for all you "Ultimate Fighter newbies" out there,
if you want some "old school" slamming, get a copy of UFC 4 and watch
Dan Severn suplex Anthony Macias into the next county or a copy of Extreme
Challenge 22 to watch Travis Fulton literally choke-slam Jeremy Bullock. (That
one still makes me shudder.)
If you were around a few years ago, during my first stint
with MMA Weekly, you may remember that I wrote an article about training to
slam your opponent. Well, with all the new readers, and with Rampage’s title
win (and eventuality of seeing him slam somebody in the UFC), I figured it was
time to revive and update the article.
There are a few ways to train if you want to be able to slam
your opponent, but the first thing you’re going to need is some plain old brute
strength and power. Slamming – at least the way Rampage, Hughes and many
others do it – isn’t as much technique as it is just out-muscling your
opponent. (I guess I could insert an argument about how good it is to be
strong enough to dominate bodyweight, but I think I’ve made my point in the
past, so I’ll let that one go.) It’s time to get you strong.
Weights are great for strength training, but in many (not
all) instances, I prefer odd-objects, mainly the sandbag. I’ve touted the
effectiveness of sandbag training for years now. I won’t get into all the
arguments as to why it’s so good; just take my word for it. If you think
you’re tough, strong or powerful, a heavy sandbag will humble you in a hurry.
Sandbags are also perfect for slam training.
There are two main exercises you should focus for your slam
training: the Sandbag Shoulder and the Hug Morning.
The Sandbag Shoulder is pretty simple (notice I didn’t say
"easy"). Stand with the bag in front of you just between your feet.
Squat down and grab the bag (depending on how your bag is shaped, you can set
it up on one end if you like). Plant your heels into the ground. Your butt
should be down, back flat, head up, and chest spread. In one movement stand up
with the bag and muscle it to your left shoulder. When doing so, focus on
driving with the hips.
Many think that the kind of strength you need is that of the
lower back. While this is true to an extent, it is hip strength and hip drive
that allow you to pick up that opponent and slam him. Drive forward with the
hips, and your whole body will come up. DON’T LET YOUR BUTT COME UP! You will
then be lifting solely with your lower back and are asking to get hurt. This
is a no-no. Drive with the hips. You will use your upper body to continue the
momentum (or lack thereof) of the bag to get it all the way to your shoulder.
Once there, drop it to the ground, and repeat to the other side.
The Hug Morning is a variation of the Good Morning. This is
another one that will build incredible lower back strength and hip
strength/drive. The first thing you have to do is get your sandbag into a Bear
Hug (i.e. holding the bag around the center, vertically against the front of
your torso). You can do the beginning part of a Sandbag Shoulder to get it
there. Once you’re there, dip your butt backwards and lean forward. Your butt
should go pretty far back, as if you’re going to sit in a chair. The lean of
your upper body will mostly be as a result of your butt going back. At the
"end" of the movement, your upper body should be roughly parallel to
the ground (don’t force it there – as far as it goes is as far as it goes
– forcing it to parallel can put your lower back in a potentially
dangerous position) and your knees bent anywhere from 45-60 degrees or so (more
or less 1/4 to 1/3 squat position). From there, drive the hips forward as
forcefully as you can, straightening the body. Once again, don’t let your legs
stay straight and butt in the air. Make the butt go back so that you have to
drive the hips forward to straighten your body.
Once you get good and strong at these two exercises, you can
try a few variations. You can morph either into a variety of suplexes and you
can see if you can Hug Morning with enough force to get the bag all the way up
to your shoulder.
If you don’t have a sandbag, well, that’s no excuse.
They’re easy to make (takes less than an hour) and cheap (you can have one for
under $20). But, a water-filled keg or heavy punching bag could work, too.
How effective are these exercises? So effective that I made
them staples of Program #4 in my "Working Class Fitness – The
Give them a shot. You may not be slamming like Rampage in a
week or two, but you’ll be on your way. And when you do slam your opponent the
next time you roll, he’s going to wonder where it came from!
Hard, Rest Hard, Play Hard.
"Wiggy" Wiggins is a strength coach and author living in Cameron, NC.
Having trained 15+ years, Wiggy is a strength moderator at mma.tv, columnist
for MMA Weekly, and an avid fan of Mixed Martial Arts Training. His
site, Working Class Fitness.com,
is dedicated to designing low-tech, high-result workout programs for "regular
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