There are few sports as demanding on the body as mixed martial arts (MMA). This is a sport in which there are almost innumerable ways to lose a fight, as there are practically no limits to what an opponent can do to come out victorious.
As a result of all the nature of mixed martial arts, it is imperative to be strong and durable from head to toe. Successful fighters have the ability to not only deliver punishment with their entire body, but also take it. One in particular that regularly receives an onslaught during an MMA match is the core.
No successful mixed martial arts master ever succeeded without having an incredibly strong core. This isn’t just about having a six-pack. Aesthetics mean nothing in the Octagon. Instead, a good fighter who has a strong core can handle the torque of various punches, kicks and takedowns, while also absorbing any kind of attack. Here are some of the most useful core workouts for an MMA fighter to master.
The concept of a plank is very simple. The person simply holds his or her body flat, in a push-up-like position, for either an extended period of time or while doing some sort of small movement. They can be done while on one’s elbows or hands and can easily be integrated with shoulder touches or arm reaches.
There are many benefits to planks for an MMA fighter. Planks are one of the best core stabilization exercises there are, and also hit multiple areas of the core simultaneously. Contrary to popular belief, the core is not simply composed of the abdominal muscles. The core wraps all the way around the lower back and is responsible for stabilizing the body during any kind of athletic activity. Stability is essential to much of the wrestling and martial arts moves that are staples of MMA, making planks an excellent exercise to improve this skill.
Anything that enhances the rotational power of the body is good for mixed martial arts. Whether it is a kick or a punch, it involves generating torque that produces power in the strike. A strong core enhances the strength of this torque.
Russian twists involve repeated rotations while holding some kind of weight (a plate, medicine ball, etc.). They are to be done while the upper body is elevated, forcing the core to support you as you rotate the weight from side to side. Russian twists can also be done on a medicine ball, which incorporates even more stabilization during the twisting motion. All in all, this exercise is a great one to add to any MMA fighter’s workout routine.
Mixed martial arts is a sport that involves a lot of moving parts. Limbs are moving simultaneously in different directions, which involves the core stabilizing various areas at once. The dead bug exercise is a simple, effective way to get the core prepared to support both sides of the body.
The dead bug is done by lying on your back, then alternating extending your opposite arm with your opposite leg. The right leg reaches up while the left arm extends to meet it. Then the left leg lifts while the right arm ascends simultaneously. The extension is key, as this forces you to use your core to prevent hyperextension in the lower back area. Someone with a weak core will not be able to properly do a dead bug without compromising in some way, making it a good exercise to test your mettle with. It won’t kill you. Nevertheless, it is a coordinated movement with multiple body parts that assures that your core is ready to support your upper and lower body during a fight.
Work to Be Done
It takes a lot of things to be a good mixed martial artist. You need the right gear (i.e., a mouth guard and an athletic cup/support), toughness, years of disciplined skill training and a proper workout program. If you wish to accomplish the latter, then there are a couple of workouts you would be wise not to ignore.
Having a strong core is arguably the most important physical attribute of an MMA fighter. Throughout the course of a fight, the core generally takes more of a beating than any other part of the body, making it a vital aspect of a successful training regimen. So, strengthen up that core! Your body will thank you the day after a fight.