WHAT THE PROS SAY

The Importance of Stretching

The best fitness instructors and sports trainers in Martial Arts will always insist that participants adequately stretch before starting any martial art training session or competition.

Before excising you should always stretch as this is extremely important for the sport of martial arts as it helps to loosen muscles, minimize risks of sustaining or aggravating injuries, and improves your range of motion for better performance.

Stretching helps to increase the supply of blood to muscles and is important to cope with the strenuous activity of martial arts. No matter what form of martial arts your are in whether you are an amateur or professional boxer in Jiu jitsu or JudoKickboxing or Muay Thai, or even Karate or Taekwondo, you can benefit extremely just from simply stretching.

Since there are in excess over one hundred Martial Arts activities it is difficult to give exact advice on which stretches to perform but there are still sensible everyday stretches you should do to maintain performance.

The muscles which are used most in Martial Arts, like your legs, need to be stretched correctly include core muscles including the internal and the external obliques, the spinal erectors, hip flexors and your abs and core.

Other muscle groups commonly used are the leg and hip muscles – the hamstrings, the quadriceps, adductor group and abductor group muscles, the lower legs, and soleus muscles in addition to the gluteus.

The muscles of the upper torso and shoulder girdle are also important which includes the lats, shoulders, and chest.

Arm muscles such as triceps, biceps in addition to hand muscles as well as forearms and wrists need to be considered and finally the neck muscles which provide cervical spinal protection.

If you don’t maintain correct stretching then these are some of the common injuries:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Medical Collateral Ligament and other Knee Sprains
  • Sprained wrists and/or ankles
  • Strains in the groin
  • Subluxations
  • Dislocations
  • Rotator cuff strains or tears
  • Other muscle contusions
  • In addition to muscle bruises

Injury Prevention – high kicks, hard strikes, grappling and so on

Stretching helps to maintain the correct posture at all times of your martial arts exercises and can help counter act bad posture sustained through sitting and walking.

Another added benefit of stretching in martial arts is that it can help improve your focus on keep you alert which is particularly beneficial for competitors.

Best practice is to properly warm up in advance of competition and training. Also allow sensible cool down periods. You should follow sensible cardiovascular training and strengthen muscles that provide support to the knees and ankles to avoid common sprains.

Take up activities that improve flexibilities in your muscles and joints to prevent strains and exercises to improve proprioception, balance and agility as this will support the ankles and knees.

Always practice in controlled environments to mitigate accidental injuries whilst wearing appropriate protective sportswear as well as adequate padding.

Stretching Allows for better movement – Higher leg kicks, Better flow, Better Grappling

The lower body and also your core muscles help for balance and to form a solid base for delivering blows and participating in counter attacks making it extremely important for you to stretch these muscles.

For the upper body take into consideration that these muscles are needed to deliver and block blows but also be flexible for maneuverability.

Helps with Muscle Soreness

Another huge reason that Martial Arts fighters need to be stretching is because it can help drastically with after training muscle soreness. As an MMA fighter muscle soreness is not your friend, it is your enemy.

Stretching before and after any type of Grappling, Bjj training, punching bag workout or any other martial arts practice is extremely beneficial and could be the difference of you showing up the next day or taking a day off.

Do I Need to Stretch Before or After Martial Arts Training? Or Both?

Many martial arts fighters are confused on whether they need to be stretching before and after or just before.

Before and After

Stretching before allows you to prevent injuries and allows you to get a better more powerful range of motion which can mean a victory or loss in MMA.

Stretching is something that every boxer or MMA fighter should do before they even put on what they are gonna wear.

But stretching after, is what may help you drastically reduce the muscle soreness that you would otherwise have if you did not stretch after your training session.

Best practice is to properly warm up, stretching, and cool down when competing and training in Martial Arts.

This article was inspired by: smartmma.com

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