Kevin Kearns: MMA Strength and Conditioning Coach for UFC Stars and More

Joshua CareySenior Analyst IJune 24, 2010

Kevin Kearns and I have teamed up to bring you a weekly series featuring mixed martial arts strength and conditioning training.

Kearns works with UFC fighters such as Marcus Davis and Patrick Cote to name a few.

Kearns is one of the most recognizable figures in the sport when it comes to fighter strength and conditioning. He has been professionally involved in and around the fitness industry for over 20 years.

In addition, he has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology and is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is a Functional Movement Screen Certified Specialist and a FreeMotion Master Trainer. 

"This week's edition is called, 'The single best leg exercise out there, period!'" Kearns explains.

Years ago, I was introduced to the kettle bell, which has become a very popular strength training tool.  I never expected that it would be in my trainer’s tool box for leg work and a stability exercise.

The exercise I am discussing is a one-legged dead lift. I absolutely love this exercise and I think everyone can gain a lot of benefit from it, no matter what sport you play.

The one-legged dead lift covers a lot of ground when done properly.

1. It activates stability in the ankle, knee, and hip complex.

2. It ties the lower back and leg together as a unit.

3. It develops powerful legs.

4. It reduces the chance of injuries in the muscles it’s working.

5. It develops real world strength in the legs.

To perform this exercise, pick a weight that you can handle for eight to 12 reps on each leg.

1. Stand on one leg with the weight in the hand opposite from the leg on the ground.

2. Fold forward from the hip and bend the ankle, knee, and hip all in one motion for a count of four as you breath in.

3. Reach the weight to inside of the foot that is on the ground as you fold from the hip.

4. Touch the weight to the inside of the foot of the standing leg.

5. Use your leg strength to straighten out your leg as you return to the standing position as you breathe out for a count of two.

6. Repeat for eight to 12 reps on each leg.

(Protip: Use your free leg as a rudder for balance when folding forward.)

I wish I was doing this exercise in my 20s.  It‘s a simple movement that all of us need to do.

The great part about this is that you can also choose to go with body weight alone and it will still aid you in all sports.


So whether you are an MMA athlete, Bodybuilder, or weekend warrior, this exercise will bring your back and leg strength to an HNL (whole nuther level).