For Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts (like we are over at Havoc), nothing is better than watching two professionally trained fighters go toe-to-toe in a ring. But if fitness, not fighting, is more your thing, there’s a lot to learn from these incredible athletes. Their sport requires them to have the explosive strength to charge, the maximal strength to lift an opponent, and the cardiovascular endurance to stick through several rounds of intense competition!
So while you may not want to take a beating like contact athletes do, you can still take a page from their training logs. Here are 5 easy ways to integrate the training of contact sports into your workouts!
#1. Get Heavy With It
Hitting a heavy bag (aka a punching bag) is a fantastic workout. Not only will you get an abdominal, shoulder and triceps workout from punching, you’ll also work on your cardio as you duck, dodge, and move your feet. Make the most of your heavy bag use by constantly moving to keep your heart rate up.
#2. Speed Up
Increase your hand-eye coordination and agility with the speed bag! This tiny bag is usually hung slightly above eye level and develops quickness in the hands. Just like jumping rope, it’s about speed and technique more than power. If your gym has a speed bag, take your workout to the next level by substituting speed bag work during rest periods. This technique, known as active rest, increases workout density, giving you more fitness in less time.
#3. Jog and Box
Bring the fight outdoors by integrating shadowboxing into your runs! Take a break every few hundred meters and start punching and dodging the blows from an imaginary opponent. You’ll keep your heart rate up while working on different muscles that normally aren’t hit during a run.
#4. Get a Leg Up
If throwing punches isn’t enough, bring your lower body into the mix with kickboxing. Bringing kickboxing into your fitness routine will help develop your calves, quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. And while boxers may disagree, kickboxing may provide a better workout since the largest muscles are in the lower body. Furthermore, because you’re using your legs, kickboxing may improve hip mobility and lower body flexibility.
There are many kickboxing gyms out there that will teach you how to fight, but if you just care about fitness, many gyms offer “Cardio Kickboxing” classes that are more about working out than whooping butt!
#5. Box With a Buddy
While hitting a punching bag is fun, nothing beats having a real, live, training partner to box with. However, if you’re going to hit another person, remember to be safe! To start training with a partner, invest in the proper protective gear. Consider picking up a couple sets of padded gloves, mouth guards, padded helmets, chest protectors, cups (if required), and shin guards. The right protection will help prevent any permanent damage between you and your partner! Remember: being fit doesn’t do you any good if you’re out of commission due to an injury!
For a knockout level of fitness, follow the way of the fighter and put these 5 contact sport training tips into practice! Touch gloves and good luck!
About the Author: As a fitness fanatic, Matt also helps with Havoc Store – a UK based MMA site offering everything from punch bags to boxing gloves.