The clinch is an art form and an important part of MMA.  You can deliver excruciating knees, elbows and throws from this position. Many great fighters have used the clinch to end fights.  Does Anderson Silva v Rich Franklin ring a bell?

Training at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA in Thailand, I have seen many great Muay Thai trainers’ man-handle larger MMA athletes. So what are some of the ways to help you with your Clinch game?  One thing is to improve your strength.

For the clinch specifically, upper body muscular endurance is key. I thought, in training for my Muay Thai fight, I would have no problem in the clinch with some of these chumps.  From the amount of times I tired and was thrown to the ground, by smaller guys mind you, I quickly learned that along with a lot of technique, upper body muscular endurance is extremely important.

To help develop the strength and endurance needed, I have put together four exercises and a workout that will guarantee your clinch game will improve.


KETTLEBELL CLINCH CURL –  I got this great exercise from Coach Nick Tumminello – http://nicktumminello.com and I have incorporated it into my training.  The kettlebell is a great tool, because it mimics a head.  You can clasp the bell in a plum style and slowly curl the weight towards your chest. Make sure to keep the elbows tight, just like if you were in a clinch.  Perform this dynamically or isometric, holding the curl at the top of a few seconds

PLANK TO SIDE RAISE – This exercise is great to build your upper body and core strength, while also challenging your balance as you fatigue, something that you do not want to lose while clinch.

CLINCH CHIN UPS/PULL UPS – nothing says upper body strength more than this classic bodyweight exercise. The clinch chin up adds a tougher variation of the regular chin up, because your hands will be clasped in a Muay Thai style plum.  Move your head from side to side on the regular bar, or challenge yourself with a band or the perfect pull-up handles

PUNCHING BAD CLINCH HOLD – this exercise is a classic. All you need is a punching bag off the floor and the ability to HANG ON. This exercise seems easy at first, but try it FunkMMA style and you’ll feel the difference…guaranteed

 You can do these exercises for reps – 3 sets of 10 reps each or try this workout



4 Exercises – using Funk 24 Method

Perform 6 rounds of 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest (30-15 intervals) 

You must complete all rounds before moving on to the next exercise with no rest in between.

Total 24 Rounds – Workout Time: 18 minutes 

EXERCISES – Complete each exercise for 6 rounds of 30-15 interval before moving to the next exercise. 

  1. KETTLEBELL CLINCH CURL (Use a challenging weight)
  2. PLANK TO SIDE RAISE – (Alternate sides per round)
  3. CLINCH CHIN UPS/PULL UPS (Try using a band, if not then use the bar and move your head from side to side)
  4. HEAVY BAG CLINCH HOLD – Grab a heavy bag and hold on using the Thai plum)
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