When it comes to MMA, power isn’t everything. A fighter who moves and reacts quickly is a fighter who is hard to beat. While some believe that agility is determined by genetics, which may be true, fighters can still see a marketed improvement in their performance by adding agility drills into their program.
Starting with Basic Drills
In almost every sport, MMA being no exception, lateral movement is important. Quick bursts of speed are essential for fighters when maneuvering into striking position, avoiding hits and grapples and changing attack/defensive positions.
There are many basic drills that can help athletes quicken their movement and reaction times. It’s best to do them about 4 hours before lifting, in order to allow your muscles ample time to recover and perform at their best. These drills can include:
- Jumping rope
- Running through agility ladders
- Hopping over mini hurdles
- Plyometrics (Jump training)
- Stair running
- Parachute/resistance running
Because athletes are moving fast (with their feet constantly hitting the ground), agility training can be hard on the joints, especially for people who have had knee and ankle problems in the past. If you need to, you can lay a puzzle mat on top of your studio floor to decrease the impact on your student’s feet while training.
Flexibility plays a huge part in an athlete’s agility. Athletes should focus on both static and dynamic flexibility. Static flexibility is an athlete’s ability to maneuver when at rest. This is improved upon with normal stretching routines.
Dynamic flexibility is the range of motion a person has when the body is in motion, and can be improved with the following exercises:
- High kicks
- Walking lunges (add body twists for advanced athletes)
- Jump squats
- Butt kicks
- High knees
- T push-ups
These also double as great warm-up exercises for MMA athletes.
Don’t Neglect Your Core
Your core is essential for strength training, but it can also make you faster and more nimble, which is why it should never be neglected when speed training. When the body braces for a hit, it actives the transverse abdominus, the innermost flat muscles of the abdomen.
Strengthening these muscles will allow athletes to react better when hit, so don’t neglect your core workouts.
Train with Confidence
Whether you are looking to help your students become stronger or faster, you need a reliable surface to protect them from falls. At Zebra, we deliver and install a variety of MMA mats and flooring that are suited for all martial arts disciplines. Contact a member of our team today outfit your gym with the latest products.