MMA training combos:
Basic strikes with ground and pound

One of the fastest growing sports in the world, Mixed Martial Arts requires high levels of cardiovascular fitness, explosive strength and agility. Dee McNeill and James McNeill demonstrate simple but effective MMA padwork combinations to incorporate into your boxing or kickboxing training sessions.

MMA training is fast becoming one of the most sought-after and requested training styles by club members and training clients in Australia and overseas.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, inspired by competitions such as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and Pride fights. The athletes who compete in this sport require extremely high levels of cardiovascular fitness, incorporating both aerobic and anaerobic bases, combined with explosive strength and agility. For this reason, other professional sports such as Rugby League and Union, AFL and even cricket have recognised MMA as a great form of cross training for developing players’ total fitness.

Pad work is one part of MMA training that is easy to learn and offer in your club or business. Adding MMA-inspired moves to your current boxing or kickboxing classes will add not only an element of interest and fun for your clients and members, but also another level of increased intensity without increased complexity. If you already teach boxing classes, you do not need to purchase any new equipment, as you can teach a dynamic MMA pad session using standard focus pads and kick-shields.

Coaching tips

Knee Ride Ground and Pound

  • Ensure one leg is placed straight out to the side for stability and place your nearest hand on the top of the kick-shield for balance.
  • As you raise your fist to your jawline, keep your elbow pointing up to the ceiling.
  • To switch sides, place both hands to the top of the kick-shield and hop to the other side.

Sit Through Drill

  • Place both hands on the top of the kick-shield and move both your feet behind it.
  • Turn your right foot to the right and support your weight with your left arm. Kick your left foot across your body to the right side, leg just off the ground. Repeat other side.


Dee McNeill, BBus
Dee is a leading group exercise instructor with over 17 years teaching experience. She is the operations manager for MMA Fitness and works for Les Mills Asia Pacific as a senior trainer, training thousands of fitness professionals in Australia and throughout Asia since 1998. Dee’s passion is for yoga and martial arts-based fitness training. For more information contact or visit

James McNeill, BEc
James is co-founder of MMA Fitness, Australia’s first MMA-inspired Pad Training accreditation provider. Experienced in coaching Thai Boxing, Boxing and Karate, he works as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. James is also involved in providing conditioning and strike training for the Gracie Barra Brookvale fight team.