Thursday 11 June 2015

Is MMA training a good way to fight fat?

It's the combat sports that's currently sweeping the globe, but is mixed martial arts (MMA) a good way to get fit? Over the last ten years, the sport of MMA has evolved from a niche activity dominated by intimidating looking men into a booming industry worth billions of dollars each year.

Part of the reason for MMA's growth over the past decade is the UFC. Known as the premier organisation in the sport, the UFC has not only transformed the way people's perception of MMA, but raised the barriers to entry so high that all professional fighters must be elite athletes.

While it was once possible to get by on "being tough", it's now necessary for a UFC fighter to be skilled in a number of disciples - such as boxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu - and be extremely fit if they want to win. In fact, anyone that watches MMA, or bets on it for money, will tell you the fittest fighter usually wins.

Indeed, if you were surveying one of the online betting markets and checking out the fight stats, the one you should always be looking out for is the endurance skills. Fighting for 15 or 25 minutes in an octagon is extremely taxing on the body and, for this reason, UFC athletes have employed a number of innovative training methods in order to improve their stamina.

Naturally, as is common with all professional sports, these methods have since leaked into the mainstream and, today, casual fans and fitness freaks can now train like an MMA star. Helping to filter some of this information into the mainstream is the UFC with its self- branded product, UFC Fit. Spearheaded by fitness expert and nutritionist Mike Dolce, the series of workouts mirror the kinds of routines Dolce and those like him use with the UFC's finest.

Kettlebell Kingdom

Because MMA is an extremely dynamic sports that doesn't focus on a single discipline it's important to train every muscle. One of the best ways to do this is use kettlebells. As well as added size and strength, the process of swinging and lifting weights means that this style of training also offers a number of cardiovascular benefits.

For fighters this is great for their sport and for the average person wanting to get fit it means two things: strength and weight loss. Because the body is being forced to exert itself in a muscular sense and a cardiovascular sense, it means it gets tired faster and, thus, burns fats a lot quicker. Indeed, with just a few simple kettlebell exercises you can rip through a great workout in less than 30 minutes.
Three of the best kettlebell exercises you can try are: the double (and then single) hand swing, the snatch and the Turkish getup. If you can perform these movements for one minute each and repeat five times in a row you'll have a solid workout.

Fight Shapes

As well as throwing a kettlebell around, you should also try throwing punches, kicks and knees like an ultimate fighter. Using the UFC Fit program, you can learn the same techniques used by elite level fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, without having to join a gym and compete against real people.

Under the guidance of Mr. Dolce you can learn the correct technique to punch and kick before building these into a routine. The main goal of every fighter’s training program is to get lean while maintaining their explosive power and the best way to do this is training using the same techniques that are utilised in the octagon.

Try throwing the following combinations for two minute rounds (10 rounds total) and you'll see how much it burns: 10 straight punches, five right kicks, five left kicks and ten alternating knees.

Mobilisation Master Class
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The final benefit to training like an MMA star is the flexibility and mobility you can achieve. As well as being strong, powerful and fast, an MMA athlete needs to be flexible in order to get into and out of submissions and wrestling moves. One of the best MMA trainers when it comes to mobility is Steve Maxwell.

After working with fighters such as Diego Sanchez, Maxwell developed the training series: Crawl Like a Baby, Walk Like a Man. The basic premise of Maxwell's training is achieving functional mobility by mimicking the movements a baby would make. This means a lot of the training takes place on the floor and forces people to roll, crawl and make movements that allow them to stretch through their full range of motion.

As people get older they naturally get stiffer and lose the ability to spring up from the floor and back down again like a child. Fortunately, you can reverse the effects of aging by following a program such as Maxwell's and spending a lot of time on the floor learning how to move like a professional athlete.

Although MMA looks barbaric from the outside (even though it's safer than boxing), the opposite is actually true. Every fighter at the professional level, especially those in the US, are some of the fittest people in the world and that means they are great people to learn from when it comes to health and fitness. If you want to fight the fat and get healthier this year, then there are very few sports that offer the type of benefits that MMA does. 

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