For athletes to have well-rounded abilities and continue to succeed in their fitness progress, they must include a diverse range of workouts into their fitness routine. Physical fitness includes more than just torching calories with cardio and weight lifting. Individuals should also pay attention to their body's flexibility, work on their focus and tend to their mental health.
Some of the best workouts and practices to include in your fitness routine as an athlete are yoga and meditation. Both provide exceptional benefits to your fitness routine and your performance abilities as an MMA athlete. Incorporating these into your schedule can help you have a better sense of your body and mind.
Benefits of Stretching for MMA Athletes
Preparing your muscles and body for the demands of workouts with these stretches for MMA can be beneficial in numerous ways, including:
- Decreasing your risk of injury.
- Preventing joint or muscle pains or damage.
- Improving your balance and coordination.
- Helping you develop strong ligaments.
- Enhancing blood circulation throughout your body.
Stretching helps keep you safe, healthy and strong during your MMA workouts. Your body will have more mobility and be prepared for any exercise you complete.
Stretching before and after your workouts is beneficial for your body. Try out some of these stretches for martial arts on your rest days or before and after you exercise:
- Sitting hamstring stretch: This stretch can help work on your hamstring flexibility and stretch out your lower back. Sit on the floor or a training mat with your legs straight in front of you. Reach for your toes and hold this position.
- Butterfly stretch: This stretch can improve hip, groin and lower back flexibility. Sit on the floor with your legs bent in front of you and the soles of your feet together. You can intensify this stretch by using your elbows to press your legs closer to the floor or bringing your feet closer to you.
- Child's pose: Work on stretching your back and shoulders with the child's pose. Kneel on the floor with your knees about shoulder-width apart and your feet tucked behind you. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your hands on the floor and press yourself back. Keep your head down to feel the stretch better in your shoulders.
- Massage or foam roller stretches: Using equipment for stretching, like a foam roller or massage roller, can help relieve tension and improve blood flow after your workout.
- Arm swings: Swinging your arms or doing arm circles is a great way to stretch your arms, shoulders and chest before or after your MMA workout. You can swing your arms from left to right while keeping your torso centered or do forward and backward arm circles.
Benefits of Yoga for MMA Athletes
Yoga and martial arts complement each other in more ways than many athletes may consider. Both workouts focus on precise movements, body awareness and spatial orientation.
While you can put in intense cardio and strength workouts with mixed martial arts, it's important to balance those workouts out and pay attention to other critical aspects of your physical fitness. Yoga for athletes can be the perfect addition to your MMA workout routine and help improve your overall fitness abilities.
The exceptional benefits from yoga include:
- Enhanced endurance: Holding poses and engaging muscles for long periods can help you improve your endurance abilities. You can feel your muscles burning as you hold various poses and breathe through the workout.
- Improved flexibility: The flow of yoga and the various positions help stretch out nearly every muscle you see for MMA and keep your mobility levels up. As you improve your flexibility, you'll notice a difference in your kicks, punches and other strong movements.
- Increased core strength: As you go through the motions of the yoga flow and hold different poses, you'll engage various muscles to help hold these poses. One of the main areas of your body that you work is your core. These powerful muscles can help improve your posture and keep you balanced.
- Improved breathing routine: Yoga can help teach you how to focus on your breathing during your workouts. Breathing techniques are beneficial during MMA matches and help you stay strong during your workout.
- Reduced injuries: Including yoga into your workout routine can help you prevent injuries by improving your flexibility, range of motion and posture. With better posture and mobility, you'll have increased awareness of your body and decrease the likelihood of injuries during your MMA workouts.
- Lowered recovery time: The intensity and physicality of MMA nearly make athletes prone to some injuries. Including yoga in your routine can help speed up your recovery time and save you from sitting on the sidelines.
Benefits of Meditation for MMA Athletes
Your physical fitness is a critical part of your success as an MMA athlete, but it's essential to focus on your mental health and well-being to further your success. Having control over your emotions and mindset during tough matches and intense workouts helps you achieve your best and win martial arts matches. You can work on your mindset by including fighting meditation into your routine.
Meditation has benefits for MMA athletes that are working hard to improve their performance, like:
- Visualization: Practicing picturing yourself performing a certain task helps your body accomplish this movement in real life to your best ability.
- Learning: Meditation can help focus your mind and open up your attention to learning new things about MMA.
- Recovery: Practicing meditation during your recovery process can help speed up recovery time by improving your rest schedule.
- Focusing: Athlete meditation can help get you in the zone before a match. You'll improve your ability to focus clearly during stressful workouts or MMA matches.
How All Three Practices Can Improve Your Abilities as an Athlete
If you're looking to improve your overall performance as an MMA athlete, consider incorporating stretching, yoga and meditation into your fitness routine. You can find useful home fitness gear to help with these three practices and MMA equipment for your matches at Spirit Combat Sports.