Plyometrics for MMA
What are Plyometrics?
Plyometrics are a type of exercise that utilizes explosive bodyweight exercises to build up anaerobic capacity and strength. These are great exercises because they put a ton of strain on the muscles as well as the cardiovascular system. Most plyometrics exercises will also require a good balance and spatial awareness, two things that any MMA fighter needs. Because of this, plyometric exercises are very widely used in mixed martial arts.
While mixed martial artists benefit greatly from using plyometrics, other athletes can see significant gains with them as well. They are especially useful for people training for high-endurance sports or sports that require a lot of explosive strength. Soccer and football are two good examples.
Plyometrics for MMA
There are a lot of good plyometric exercises for MMA, so I can't go over all of them. I will, however, list some of my favorite ones.
- Stair jumps: These will work your glutes, abdominals, and quads very extensively. You should start off by jumping only two stairs at once, and then work your way up to three or four. Remember to come down into the squat position when you land or it'll be difficult to maintain balance.
- Depth jumps: Depth jumps are a classic plyometric exercise. You tense the muscle in as you jump off a small platform and then explode up onto a bigger one. It's fairly easy to injure yourself with these, so make sure you do them correctly. If it starts to hurt at any time, then you should stop.
- Medicine Ball Side Throw: This is a great exercise that'll work your core, specifically the abdominals and obliques. You'll need a partner to do this one effectively, although it is possible alone (you'll need something to throw the ball against, though.)
- Plyometric push-ups: These are fantastic for working your upper body, but you'll want to make sure you don't injure your shoulders while doing them. These are also known as septh push ups. I can't stress how important it is to warm up properly before doing this exercise.
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How Plyometrics Work
Pylometrics is unique in that it doesn't just train power or agility, but instead does both. The idea behind it is that when you contract the muscle just enough so that it doesn't bend and then explode off of it, you'll gain a stronger motion and therefore additional power. Training your body to move in this way is useful and will allow you to commit to more powerful exercises. This is why the exercises utilize motions like depth jumps and depth push-ups; these will require that your muscle partially contracts and then explodes to complete the second motion.
The major downside of pylometrics, mentioned below, is the relatively high chance of injury.
Injuries are common with plyometrics because they put a lot of stress on the muscles, especially the elasticity of them. In order to prevent injury, you'll want to make sure that you do all of the exercises slowly at first. It's also important to use proper form. If you do sustain an injury, elevate the limb and place ice on it. If there is excessive swelling or pain, then go to the doctor because you may have damaged connective tissue or muscle.
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