UFC Workout With Dumbbells

Mac Danzig demonstrating downward punching
(Image credit: Future)

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each exercise with only 15-30 seconds of rest between exercises. Once you’ve completed the last exercise, rest for two to three minutes before repeating the circuit. Aim to do three to five circuits in total depending on your fitness. 

Pick the heaviest weight that you can manage, so each exercise is challenging but so you can complete it without compromising good form. 

1 Dumbbell punch walk

Reps 10 (forward and back)  Rest 15-30sec

Dumbbell Punch Walk

(Image credit: Future)

Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and get on all fours with your legs spread out wide behind you and your hips in the air.

Dumbbell Punch Walk

(Image credit: Future)

Rotate your torso to the right and raise your right hand up, as if you were winding up to throw a punch.

Dumbbell Punch Walk

(Image credit: Future)

Now bring your hand down as if you were throwing a punch – but don't throw it hard – and plant it on the floor. Immediately wind up with the left hand and repeat. That’s one rep. Continue in this fashion, ‘walking' across the room on your hands for 10 reps, and then reverse the motion so that you walk backwards for 10 reps.

2 Single-leg dumbbell row

Reps 10 each side  Rest 15-30sec

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and balance on your left leg. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, bend forwards at the hips and knee and lower your torso until it’s at 45˚ to the floor. Row the left-hand dumbbell to your side.

Lower it, and then row the right-hand weight. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps, and then switch legs and repeat.

3 T press-up

Reps 10 each side  Rest 15-30sec

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and get into a press-up position. Perform a press-up as normal. Rotate your body 90˚, reaching towards the ceiling with your left arm. Your body should form a T shape. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

4 Cage climb

Time 30sec  Rest 15-30 sec

Go near a wall, fence or staircase and get into a press-up position, resting your shins on a gym ball. Reach out and grab the fence, or firmly plant your hand against the wall or stairs. Begin climbing up it, one arm at a time. Climb as high as you can, and then reverse the direction to return your hands to the floor. Repeat for 30 seconds.

5 Dumbbell punching

Time 30sec Rest 15-30sec

Hold a light dumbbell in each hand and get into a fighting stance. Begin alternating jabs and crosses, throwing each punch very lightly. Do not swing hard.

6 Downward punching

Mac Danzig demonstrating downward punching

(Image credit: Future)

Time 30sec Rest 15-30sec

Keep the same dumbbells you used in exercise 6 and get into an athletic stance, your fists cocked by your sides. Begin lightly throwing looping punches diagonally towards the floor. Emphasise drawing your arms back up to recoil for each punch.

7 Dumbbell uppercut

Reps 20  Rest 15-30sec

Stand in an athletic stance holding two dumbbells. Rotate your body to the left, pivoting on your left foot and throwing an uppercut with your right hand. Uppercut with the other hand. That’s one rep. Do not throw hard punches – just focus on keeping good punching form.

8 Band pull

Time 15sec  Rest 15-30 seconds

Tie a large stretch band around a sturdy object, hold it in your left hand and get on all fours a few feet back from where the band is tied so that you feel tension on it. Begin pulling the band back in every possible direction – row it straight back, pull it out to your side, raise it over your head and so on – for 15 seconds. Be sure to stay balanced on your feet and other hand the whole time. Switch arms and repeat.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.