We’ve gotten quite a few messages lately from guys who enjoyed our WWE articles and wanted us to do some “MMA” articles. So, I thought about one that not only speaks about the best drugs and supplements you can use to improve yourself and your fighting power, but also some extra training methods you should be doing!
We’ve allowed our resident MMA guru here at SJ to write take the floor on this one. He first started Martial Arts at the ripe age of 11, and continues to do them, with the same spunk and energy, to this day at the age of 26. He’s won numerous titles (for the purpose of remaining anonymous, we can’t reveal which ones), he’s had training in Boxing, Muay Thai, BJJ, to name a few.
Due to a popular request, here we go.
First, when you’re fighting, whether it be on your feet or on the ground, there’s always one muscle working. You probably read about it all the time, or hear about it from all your buddies when training. “Man, you need a stronger core!” But what exactly is the core? Let’s delve into this realm a bit further.
Core development is of the upmost importance to any sport. It takes a strong core to provide a solid support system for explosive and powerful movements.
Through years upon years of testing Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighters at the professional level, it’s clear for all to see that the fighter who can punch and kick with the most power aren’t always the guys who can bench press or squat the most weight. (However, grappling and takedowns certainly are improved, especially by squats.) Instead, it’s normally the knockout specialists who are the ones who perform best with exercises such as the ab wheel rollout.
When the deep core muscles that support the spine are weak, your nervous system freaks out and goes into a panic. It then decides it’s time to pull on the brakes, especially on your explosive potential. This is done as a protective mechanism. But this isn’t the only thing, insufficient core stability strength can, and certainly will, set you up for injury and limit your mobility. Those are two big no no’s for any Athlete and or Fighter.
Compound exercises such as the deadlift, squat (front and or back), pull-up/chin-ups, and of course, the standing military press are all great exercises. All of these exercises give and provide a lot of strength to the core. However, for a fighter, they are still insufficient to strengthen the core to the level it needs to be. I’d even argue that if most bodybuilders added a few of these exercises they’d go a long way in improving their physique
A punch into the stomach area
Let’s switch gears for a moment.
Let’s imagine you’re standing in line at the movies and your fool of a brother pulls his arm back and throws a punch toward your stomach.
What is the first thing you do? What naturally happens as you see the punch coming toward your midsection? Your nervous system begins a reflex response to pull your ribcage down and in. This is to allow your abdominals to quickly induce high levels of tension. (I.e. a protection mechanism).
That’s right, your nervous system is forcing you to lose lordosis in order to develop maximum tension in your abdominals to protect your organs from the dangerous blow. This is a very important protective mechanism, and we all know you should never argue with your nervous system.
Now imagine how many times a fighter, whether it be MMA, cage fighting, kick boxing, or boxing etc., has to deal with a punch or kick that’s aimed toward his midsection usually at remarkable speeds.
So when it comes to developing a fighter’s core, some level of spinal flexion is necessary. Surprisingly, quite a bit more than you’d imagine. You obviously can’t develop maximum tension in your core without some flexion. Even though the regular plank and side plank are excellent exercises, they are commonly not used in a fighter’s routine anywhere near enough.
To develop a bullet proof core, I highly recommend you take the plan to another level. One of the best ways to do this is to get a medicine ball. Place your feet on the ball and do the full plank off that.
Note: The full plank requires your hands to be completely out, like a push-up, and not on your ELBOWS– as most do wrong.
Once you can reach 2 minutes on this, the exercise has become too easy. So, what to do next? Try putting the blow-up exercise ball onto a more uneven floor. That forces your abs to work harder to keep it still. This can increase the tension by up to 10 times what you’d normally get!.
The bottom line is, a STRONGER core and you have a stronger fighter. The core is a key element to MMA and fighting in general. In fact, I’ll go further and say to 99% of competitive sports. I’ve seen power lifters increase their bench numbers just by strengthening the core. Squat and deadlift? Yep, gone up too!
What does this tell you?
Work those abs, make that core stronger.
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