What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of yoga? It’s probably something along the lines of a class full of stay-at-home soccer moms participating in a few relaxing stretches and not a class of MMA fighters getting ready for their next match.
But, should you be imagining the later and do MMA fighters really benefit from participating in yoga classes? We say yes, and here’s why:
More Alike than Different
MMA and Yoga actually share a lot of common goals. The athletes participating in training classes within each of these activities are looking to increase flexibility, balance and stamina, and further developing their core body strength.
Increased Flexibility and Balance
Yoga poses loosen muscle fibers and increase flexibility. This happens through the practice of both basic and advanced yoga poses over time as a way to increase range of motion. Holding yoga poses for extended periods of time also helps MMA fighters with their balance, as these techniques take time and patience to master.
Developing Core Strength
While there’s often little to no weight lifting in yoga class, most poses require the lifting of one’s own body weight. This helps develop strength at the core of the body, which is essential for completing maneuvers during a match.
Improved Recovery Time and Endurance
Not only does yoga practice help to increase flexibility and balance, the loosening of the muscles helps MMA fighters improve recovery time and endurance so they can train harder and improve faster. This is because the increase in blood flow during stretching stimulates muscles in a way that keeps them healthy while they’re gaining strength.
The Pros Outweigh the Cons
Flexibility, balance, core strength, and endurance are all essential components that assist MMA fighters with grappling and takedowns, allowing fighters to gain the upper hand against opponents. So, when presented with an opportunity to train harder and improve quicker, why wouldn’t MMA fighters participate in yoga practice?
At Zebra, our team is always on the hunt for new ways the gyms we work with can incorporate additional offerings for the athletes already training on their grappling mats and become better prepared for matches.
Contact our team today for more information or comment below to let us know what you think about MMA fighting and yoga practice!