The 5 Best Exercises For Explosive Grappling Power

The 5 Best Exercises For Explosive Grappling Power

Written by Matt D’Aquino. He is a 2008 Beijing Judo Olympian as well as nationally ranked freestyle wrestler and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt. Matt has a passion for teaching all aspects of grappling especially the fitness and conditioning aspect. 

To participate in Grappling you must have a lot of speed and strength, otherwise known as power. Here are 5 exercises that will build a lot of full body power resulting in you being able to be faster on the mat and have greater strength when turning in for techniques.



Powercleans are a fundamental exercise that will develop power in the legs, hips and back. You know the feeling when you are four minutes into a fight and you have nothing left but you must use your last bit of energy to explode for a technique but your body is not responding. This is the time when doing countless powercleans in the gym will pay off. Powercleans teach you to explode quickly pulling a weighted bar with you. To do a powerclean you must have rubber coated Olympic plates and a bar that will allow you to spin underneath it.

– Begin with your feet shoulder width apart and grip the bar just outside.

– Bend your knees and bend at the waist so your shoulders are just over the bar

– Maintain a slight curve in your lower back

– Straighten your arms so they are not bent

– Inhale

– Using your legs begin driving through the floor, lifting the bar off the ground

– exhale

– When the bar passes your knees continue the next part of the movement by thrusting your hips forward and simultaneously contract your trapezius muscles

– As the bar continues to travel upwards start the ‘catch’ by bending your knees to get under the bar.

– While keeping a grip on the bar rotate underneath and finish with the bar resting on your upper chest with elbows high

– Slowly lower the bar and repeat



Everyone who has done any sort of martial arts, boot camps or person training knows what a burpee is. Simply squat down, extend your legs out into a push-up position, perform a push-up, bring your legs back to a squatting position and proceed to explode upwards jumping as high as you can. Perform these as part of a circuit or a warm up at training. Burpees will not only develop tremendous leg power but also get your heart rate through the roof resulting in a higher vo2 max.


Sumo Deadlift high pulls


A killer full body exercise that will have your legs, back and shoulders screaming.

– With a wide stance, grasp the barbell in between your legs with palms facing towards you

– Make sure your back stays straight throughout the entire movement

– Using your legs, lift the bar off the floor and using your arms begin an explosive lift upwards

– Keep your back straight and weight on your heels

– As the bar passes your hips thrust forward to assist the bars movement upwards

– Finish by completing an upright row movement with the bar at shoulder height

– With a controlled movement return the bar back to the starting position.

– Repeat

Perform tabata intervals with Sumo Deadlift high pulls will definitely build tremendous full body endurance.

Medicine ball throws


High throws and shot puts are all explosive exercise that Judokas should be doing on a regular basis.

To perform a shot put simply stand 3-5 meters from a wall. Hold a medicine ball at shoulder height (like a shot put) and throw it against the wall as hard as you can. Retrieve the medicine ball and repeat for desired number of repetitions. This exercise will not only develop Upper body power but also get each of your arms working independently which is useful during grip fighting.



Flat or hill sprints should always be factored into a competitive judokas fitness and conditioning program. Sprints develop leg speed and power and are great as they simulate a competition match so closely. This is due to the fact that in a relatively short amount of time your heart rate goes from resting to through the roof.

Short sprints should not be performed year-round as they are very physically demanding and the Athletes will need a chance to recover.

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