MMA fighters know that improvement and success come from dedicated, consistent training. But what separates a typical fighter from the best? Usually, it is a combination of focused self-care and healthy habits while not the gym that gives the most successful MMA athletes the edge to win against their competition. If you practice these training recovery techniques, you too will realize unprecedented gains and meet your training goals.
Practice Static Stretching and Foam Rolling
Although dynamic stretching is essential to any MMA workout, static stretching is your best bet for full muscle recovery between training sessions. Static stretching involves holding a position that isolates and elongates a tight muscle for 30-60 seconds. Because proper breathing techniques are essential for getting adequate oxygen to your muscles, yoga is an excellent stretching option that facilitates flexibility, relaxation and muscle regeneration.
An MMA fighter must prepare their muscles for impact through intense workouts that tear muscle components down to rebuild them back stronger. Foam rolling releases knots in your muscles and improves blood flow for faster healing, increased flexibility and better endurance. Foam rollers are long-lasting and affordable and can entirely replace the need for expensive massage therapy sessions.
Relieve Pain and Reduce Inflammation Naturally
To provide your body with adequate care and pain relief, you should buy CBD topical cream to reduce muscle pain and soreness. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is produced from cannabis and hemp plants. This natural, anti-inflammatory compound can be applied directly to your skin and reduces muscle recovery time.
Further reducing inflammation by taking warm Epsom salt baths has the added benefit to calm and relax your body after rigorous training sessions. When it comes into contact with water, Epsom salts break down into sulfate and magnesium. When these minerals soak into your skin, injured joints loosen and tight muscles relax. Epsom salt baths also have shown to heal cuts and bruises, a benefit that is much-appreciated by fighters.
Use Cold and Contrast Therapy
Taking an ice bath or wading in a pool between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or 10-15 degrees Celsius) for no more than 15 minutes dramatically reduces your body’s recovery time. Sore, burning muscles respond well to cold therapy, and increased blood flow resulting from a cold bath helps your body flush out toxins for better sleep.
Contrast hydrotherapy also accelerates muscle regrowth at the end of a training day. Four rounds of alternation between cold water for two minutes and hot water (i.e., a hot tub) for four minutes can do wonders to prepare you for the next day. An alternative “contrast shower” method of five to eight alternating rounds of cold shower water (15 seconds) and hot shower water (60 seconds) can be used if you do not have access to a hot tub.
Get Proper Nutrition and Adequate Sleep
If you want your body to perform like a Lamborghini, you must provide it with premium fuel. Without adequate hydration and proper macronutrients outside of the gym, you will never reach peak combat performance. Consuming three to five healthy meals each day will ensure you get adequate calories and nutrients. Preparing meals at home from organic, whole ingredients is the best way to eat clean. Processed foods high in preservatives and sugar, like packaged foods or fast foods, must be avoided in favor of fresh produce, complex carbohydrates, natural fats, and healthy protein sources like meat, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
MMA athletes who regularly train and compete need more sleep than the average person. For fighters who get less than ten hours of sleep a night, mental agility and muscular response time will likely be compromised. Practicing proper sleep hygiene and sticking to a regular sleep schedule will help ensure consistency.
Excessive training without proper recovery practices increases the chances for injury, illness, and exhaustion. To keep your mental focus strong and your body in fighting shape, proper recovery techniques must be considered equally important to time spent in the gym.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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