The Importance of Balance In MMA Fitness and Training

| February 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

Mixed martial arts (MMA) and MMA fitness regimens usually focus on developing speed, strength and staying power, but not every regimen focuses on balance.  And yet, balance can spell the critical difference between winning and losing a competition between two fighters who are equal in all else.

Good balance enhances mixed martial arts fighting techniques, particularly grappling; and develops the stabilizers on the ankles, hips and core.  It also assists injury prevention and gives a fighter better self control and control of his opponent.

Balance training should not replace any part of an MMA fitness workout.  Instead, it should be added as a supplement.  Just five minutes of a couple of balance exercises before an MMA fitness and training session can make a huge difference.  Here are some balance exercises that you can do:

One leg stand. Stand on one leg, and then stand on the other.  You will wobble, at first, but later you will get used to it as your MMA fitness improves.  When it becomes too easy you can vary the stance by adding a tilt of the body, or putting one arm out to the side, punching the arms, or moving the face side to side.
One leg, one arm row. This simply involves standing on one leg and raising the other leg behind you, with yourself facing the ground.  In this position, your body should be forming a “T” shape.   Then with one arm perform a paddle row movement as though you were rowing a boat.  Repeat the exercise on the other leg.
One-leg stiff one-leg deadlift.  Stand upright with one leg with one leg bent behind you.  Then lower your body to lift weights.  Repeat the whole process, this time standing on the other leg.
Standing on your hands.  Try to do this for one minute to enhance balance and strengthen your shoulders and arms for MMA fitness.  When it becomes easy, work in some variations like walking on the hands.
Grappling Balance Knee on Bag.  From here on, you will need the help of a partner or your MMA fitness trainer.  Grappling involves using a knee on the opponent’s belly to dominate ground fighting.  To strengthen your balance in this position, place a very heavy bag on the floor, then do the knee belly position on top of it.  Let your trainer move the bag around by pushing, pulling and twisting it, trying to displace you.  Try to keep your balance while he does this.
Grabbed Leg. A typical MMA fitness fighting technique is to lift the leg of your opponent.  If you can keep your balance you need not land on the ground.  Let your trainer hold one leg up and move it around trying to make you fall.  You should bounce around on the other leg and stay standing.
Armless grappling. Take on either a side mount or north-south position with your hands behind your head.  Your trainer will try to dislodge you, while you must try to stay on top relying on just your leg strength and balance.
Eyes wide shut. Advanced fighters can do restricted training with eyes closed for balance.  Shadow boxing, wrestling and ground fighting with eyes closed will do just as well in balance and MMA fitness.



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