By Solmadrid Vazquez

Female MMA fighters have amazing bodies. That’s because MMA involves so many techniques that the entire body is worked through a full range of motion. Arms, legs, belly, butt, core, everything. If only you could mimic their routine without having to get punched in the face! Well, fortunately you can! And you don’t even need to come up with an exercise plan on your own. I’ve taken the guesswork out and created a bikini body workout plan for you!

Have you noticed your dress size steadily creeping higher over the years? No bueno! Tired of unzipping your pants after eating a meal? No mas! Perhaps you’re already fit but are looking for a new addition to your current beach body workout. No problema!

You don’t need to have experience with MMA, know a left hook from a roundhouse, or aspire to be a fighter to reap the benefits of this routine. Using the 6 drills below will put you on the fast track to getting that bikini body you’ve been dreaming about. Here’s another great thing about this routine: you don’t need to buy any equipment! Which means you can do this workout at home, outside, or at the gym. Use this routine anywhere, anytime! Hey, I’m lovin this already!

You’ll be doing the drills in blocks of 3 at 1 minute each, and then resting for 1 minute before continuing to the next 3 drills.

Repeat the process until all drills have been performed 3 times each.

For example:

Drill 1 – Perform for 1 minute

Drill 2 – Perform for 1 minute

Drill 3 – Perform for 1 minute

Rest – 1 minute

Drill 4 – Perform for 1 minute

Drill 5 – Perform for 1 minute

Drill 6 – Perform for 1 minute

Rest – 1 minute Repeat x 2

As your fitness level improves increase the length of each drill. If you’re a beginner don’t push yourself too hard at first. Ease into the routine. If you’re adding these drills to your existing workout, incorporate them as desired. During the rest periods don’t stand still. Make it an active rest. By active rest I mean move around. Do something low intensity like walking in circles, stretching, or shaking out your arms. This will keep you focused and your body ready for the next drill. During the rest period take sips of water if you’re thirsty.

I have also included advanced tips. If you’re just starting out, skip these for now. Once the exercises become easy for you then add the advanced tip movements to really heat things up. Ready? Of course you are! Let’s get to it!

1) Cross hops cross-hops Cross hops not only tone your calves and quads, they strengthen your lung capacity and cardiovascular health too. Cross hops also build the timing and coordination needed in MMA.

> How to perform cross hops:

  1. Place towels, clothing, or string, in a cross shape on the floor in front of you.
  2. If nothing is available just imagine a cross shape on the ground.
  3. Stand with your feet about an inch apart.
  4. Hop back and forth, and side to side, across the lines on the balls of your feet.
  5. Stay as low to the ground as possible and try to land gently.
  6. Vary the hopping pattern, moving clockwise, counter-clockwise, and diagonally.

Advanced tip: As you get better at cross hops, alternate hopping on 1 foot to increase the difficulty


2) Jumping squats jumping-squats2 Jumping squats are the ultimate exercise for your butt and legs. Few things will shape and tone your glutes as well as jumping squats. They also increase your explosiveness, which is useful for throwing powerful kicks.

> How to perform jumping squats:

  1. Place your feet around shoulder-width apart
  2. Squat down until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground.
  3. Allow your arms to hang down so the tips of your fingers touch the floor.
  4. Spring straight up, jumping as high as you can with your arms straight over your head and fingers extended.
  5. It will look as if you’re trying to touch the sky.
  6. Land on the balls of your feet, lowering your body back into the squat position to complete 1 rep.
  7. Repeat. Try not to let your knees extend forward beyond your toes, as this can strain your back.

Advanced tip: During the jump, spin 180 degrees mid-air and land facing the opposite direction. This will work your core and improve your agility.


3) Shadow box with a jab – cross combo shadow-boxing Throwing punches at an imaginary opponent will tone your arms and shoulders, build your mental focus, and improve your body awareness. This is a staple exercise for every MMA fighter.

> How to shadow box:

  1. Stand with your left foot forward, elbows bent in front of your ribs, your hands up in the guard position, hands lightly clenched. (Reverse these directions if you’re left handed)
  2. Envision an opponent directly in front of you.
  3. Throw a jab directly at the chin of your imaginary opponent by extending your left arm forward, turning your palm towards the floor, and then immediately retracting your arm back to the guard position.
  4. Throw a cross with your right arm by rotating your hips counter clockwise, lifting your heel off the floor, extending your right arm forward, and turning your palm towards the floor.
  5. Then return your arm back to the guard position.
  6. Repeatedly throw the punches and mix up the combo. i.e. jab/jab/cross, jab/cross/jab
  7. Move about the room while throwing the punches.

Advanced tip: Throw the jab-cross combo as fast as you can for the entire minute without pausing. Say No when your arms beg you to stop and say Hello to sculpted deltoids and triceps!


4) Bear crawls bear-crawls2 You’re gonna feel the burn with this one. Bear crawls are effective at working the entire body as a whole unit; exactly what’s needed to shoot in on an opponent to take them down.

> How to bear crawl:

  1. Clear a path in the room so nothing will obstruct your way as you crawl.
  2. Get on your hands and knees with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and neutral spine placement.
  3. Lift your knees off the ground, rising to the balls of your feet.
  4. Move your left hand and right leg forward simultaneously.
  5. Then move your right hand and left leg forward simultaneously.
  6. Repeat this motion to perform a bear crawl back and forth across the room.
  7. Do not allow your knees to touch the ground as you crawl.

Advanced tip: Every 10 seconds alternate between forward bear crawls and reverse bear crawls (crawling backwards).


5) MMA knee strikes knee-strikes Throwing MMA knee strikes will strengthen your core, glutes, and cardiovascular endurance. They are used to mix up the striking game and confuse the opponent. They are also an effective defense against takedowns when timed well.

> How to throw MMA knee strikes:

  1. Stand with your left foot forward, elbows bent in front of your ribs, your hands up in the guard position, hands lightly clenched. (Reverse these directions if you’re left handed) Envision an opponent directly in front of you.
  2. Take a half step forward with your lead leg.
  3. As you step forward, slightly turn your lead leg counter-clockwise so your foot points to the 11 o’clock position, and land on the ball of your foot.
  4. This opens your hips, giving the strike more power.
  5. Thrust your rear knee up and forward at a 45 degree angle, aiming the tip of the knee at the opponent, and drive your hip into the strike.
  6. Lean back slightly for balance and keep the foot of your striking leg as close to your butt as possible.
  7. Bring your knee back along the same path it traveled and return to the guard stance on the balls of your feet.
  8. Repeat the motion for additional knee strikes.
  9. Every ten knees switch your stance and throw knees strikes with the opposite leg.

Advanced tip: Alternate stances with every knee strike. Maintain good form and stay on the balls of your feet. Make the stance switch as fluid as possible.


6) Burpees

burpees Despite their funny name, burpees are all business. They are often called the king of conditioning exercises, and for good reason! They will work all of your major muscle groups, burn calories at light speed, and melt the fat off your body. Getting good at these will allow you to go several rounds with anyone in the cage!

> How to perform a burpee:

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart
  2. Drop your body to a squat position with your palms flat on the ground
  3. Quickly thrust your feet back, while extending your arms.
  4. The position will look similar to a pushup with arms extended.
  5. Immediately return your feet to the squat position with your palms on the floor.
  6. Jump straight up from the squat position, extending your arms above your head.
  7. It will look like you’re trying to touch the roof.
  8. This completes 1 burpee rep.
  9. Repeat the steps to complete additional burpees.

Advanced tip: Add a pushup to the burpee. After you drop down and thrust your feet back, do a pushup, then return to the squat position.

Congratulations, you made it through the entire routine and are one step closer to your bikini body! Give yourself a pat on the back and think about taking up an MMA class. You’ll burn tons of calories, make friends, and learn to protect yourself should the need arise. And if you have any friends that are looking for a kick-butt routine, please share this with them.