We get this question everyday, “I just started into Martial Arts, what should I focus on to get into shape?”.
Although you would benefit from simply focusing on the class in Taekwondo, Karate, Judo, or Jiu Jitsu alone many people want to go that extra mile. Many of these schools expect their beginning students to come into class out of shape, so don’t feel like you have to be Bruce Lee when you start training.
The average mixed martial artist isn’t going to put additional effort into becoming the best he or she can possibly be. Beyond attending classes regularly each week and going to a few tournaments most people just aren’t willing to put in what it takes to make it to the top level. Maybe they don’t want to or maybe they are just lazy, but when you look at the big scope of the sport there are only few people who can actually be labeled as great.
This is the same in all martial arts, because to be the best you have to constantly study and train. If you desire to be one of those elite level martial artists then you need to take your training into your own hands, because only so much can be taught by your instructor and only so much can be done in class. Here are three areas that any martial artist can focus on and dramatically improve their training level.
Stretching – If you are not a very flexible then martial arts is going to be hard. This problem limits how high you can kick as well as takedowns, your ground game, and various knee and elbow strikes. Besides being beneficial to your art, good flexibility will prevent a lot of injuries you could sustain along the way. Adequate flexibility will keep you training long into the future and make you a better fighter than the person who doesn’t stretch on a regular basis.
The only way to develop superior flexibility is to stretch regularly. The best way to go about this is with a partner to help you get into those difficult positions. This person can push or pull you just enough and hold you there to maintain a good stretch. Sometimes a good partner is hard to come by and you just have to go solo. Should this arise you can always use the aid of a resistance band. These nifty little devices can help you get into a multitude of positions with minimal effort. A resistance band should be in every martial artists bag because they are that good of a training tool.
Running – A lot of people feel that if they want to be good at fighting then they just need to get in there and fight. While this is true on one level if you want to be conditioned enough to make it five rounds then you need to run on a regular basis. Running is going to develop your lung capacity and build up your heart. There is a reason why numerous top level boxers and Muay Thai fighters run on a regular basis: it works. Don’t be one of those guys who thinks he doesn’t need to run to get in shape to fight. It would be a pity to be a talented fighter who isn’t in good enough shape to make it to the end. If you are not prepared then you are just wasting your time and may wind up hurt.
Lifting Weights – You can go to the gym and lift until you are some muscle-bound meat head, but for MMA your regimen needs to involve functional lifts that will transition well to your training. One drill that works well is to hold weights when working on shadow boxing. This will strengthen your arms and gives them a solid workout. Lifting weights is something that almost every fighter does so get out there and look for ways to add it to what you do. There are a lot of things you can do in terms of weights, but should you choose not to use them then you may find yourself at a disadvantage when you step into the cage.