MMA vs Weight Training (Why you should be doing both)

MMA vs Weight Training (Why you should be doing both)

Most people find fitness due to traumatic experiences.
Some people pick up boxing to learn how to defend themselves.
Some people start weight training to boost their self confidence.
Some people may do both just to find ways to cope with their mental health.
For me, I started both for all these reasons.
I've always loved martial arts starting way back at 6 years hold but weight training didn't make its way into my life until I was 14 years old.
It first started off with a love for bodybuilding (i was never the tallest kid in high school, I compensated with weights).
I had injured my shoulder during sparring and for weeks I couldn't train martial arts without my shoulder coming out of place, so i supplemented my martial arts training for the weights.
Since my shoulder was weak from the injury, my weight training coach had me do lots of low weight, high rep exercises to build my strength.
Overtime I seen the magic of how helpful weight training became for my martial arts.
In just a 4-6 months I went from dislocating my shoulder just from jumping into the pool to full contact sparring.
This is when the new term I use "Hybrid Warrior" was born.

Weight Lifting for Joint Strength

Martial arts requires you to put your body through stressful training so you can handle the stress of fights.
You see Thai fighters kicking heavy bags for hours or kicking Bananan trees to harden their shins.
Kung Fu practitioners under go a training called "iron body" to stronger bones on different parts of the body.
Judo & BJJ experts even practice falling to toughen the body and learn how to break their fall.
All these arts have some form of training to strengthen their skeleton system but what about the joints?
Weight training is a great means of being able to strength joints and tendons due to the outside resistance you place upon them.
Now Im not saying go put a bunch of heavy weight on a bar and start lifting, that'll actually harm your joints more than benefit.
You start with a low, something thats fairly easy to control, and you focus on slowly moving that weight in the range of motion that joint allows you to move in.
Take a simple lunge for example; a lunge work these muscles:
  • quads
  • glutes
  • hamstrings
But the slower we make the movement and lighten up the load, we begin to give the tendons a chance to work as well.
You can also strengthen your joints and tendons with isometric training.
Isometric training is when you take an unmovable object and exert maximum force to move it. Naturally you won't be able to - but this form of training will teach your muscles and tendons how to deliver maximum effort naturally overtime.
This form of training is something Bruce Lee used to do all the time, and most fitness and martial arts expert believe this is how he was able to be come so strong at such low muscle mass.

Increase Your Power

You have some people that only care about power.
How hard they can hit. How fast they can move. Regardless of what it is, they want to out perform their competition.
The 1 key factor thats going to help you develop that overwhelming knockout power is combat weight training.
What's combat weight training?
Taking free weights such as dumbbells, medicine balls, or kettle bells and applying them to combat specific movement.
Fighting takes place in two main ranges of motion:
  • Sagital (Left and Right)
  • Transverse (Rotational Top & Bottom)
In fighting, your right side is never going to do the same thing as the left side. So when you are weight training, you want to mimic this with single arm or single leg exercises.
Exercise like single arm presses, Bulgarian split squats, Dumbell exercises; all these will give each side of the body a different stimulus and you can focus more on developing your weaker side as well.
Power comes from the rotational force of your core. The muscles that work together to generate that power are
- Abs
- Obliques
- Hip flexors
- Lower back
- Glutes
(Most people dont know how much the glutes and lower back plays apart in fighting)
To strengthen the transverse plane, weighted exercises that go across the body or moves you in the transverse plane will build power.
  • Russian twist
  • Banded cross punches
  • Med Ball Side throws
  • Power Hooks
Regardless if the movement is slow or explosive, training the muscles that operate in the transverse plane must be trained if you want to generate the most amount of power.

Why Glutes Though?

It took me years of training to learn this but your glutes actually do play a part of your core muscles because they also work well with your hip flexors.
These muscles are great for kicking; they keep you balanced and generates kicking power.
Most fighters only kick from a sagittal plane. They have the rotation very slightly but they're not applying the full amount of power into their movements.
Kicking from the transverse plane is when you allow the hips to turn vigorously as you kick. The hips flexors activate as you engage the turn of the hips while the glutes gives the support leg stability.
Depending on the kick also dictates where the main force comes from.
Side kicks generate the most power when the glute is engaged.
Most round kicks get their power from the hip flexors.
A simple lessons I used to tell the fighters I coached is "a weak ass will make weak kicks."
If punches generate there power from the shoulder, rotator cuff, and upper back then it makes sense that your kicks will get their power from the glutes, hip flexors. and lower back.

So what's the word Rasta Man?

If you want to be a better martial artist and get the most out of your body, a hybrid warrior approach makes the most sense.
You dont have to become a bodybuilder, but you can still use weight lifting to improve yourself as a warrior when you train combat specific.
I wish you the best and continue to reach newer levels!
Rasta Riek aka "The Rasta Man"
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