Many people ask how important flexibility really is when it comes to MMA.
The response to that is, “Do you like not getting hurt? Would you like to hit faster?” Flexibility in MMA is very important when it comes to the range in motion in your techniques. It relieves joint stress and decreases general aches and pains. This also increases the speed of the technique, which means faster punches and kicks.
Many people overlook flexibility thinking it’s a measure of wether you can touch your toes or how high you can kick.
It goes so much further than that. With a more dynamic range in motion mixed with the flexibility and control of that range of motion, it becomes much easier to maneuver your body into the postion you want when on the ground. Being able to transition from one to another becomes much easier.
What isn’t well known is how flexibility effects a fighters posture. Here’s how it goes: Poor flexibility means poor posture, which means a reduction in the bodies ability to produce high levels of functional strength. The fighter will never reach their optimal levels of functional strength and leave them open for more injury and muscle imbalance.
In stand up flexibility will make your arms and legs feel longer. The height of a person isn’t going to be as big of an issue and you won’t fighting the resistance of your body as much. Flexibility increases the range of motion around the joints and the muscle movements themselves. Hips are an important thing when it comes to escaping bad positions and throwing devastating punches, increasing that range in motion will do nothing but help and improve the technique of the fighter.
Flexibility shouldn’t be overlooked at all when training for MMA. Here’s just a couple of ways to improve your flexibility.
- Foam Roller: Use to lightly “roll” over muscles for 20-30 seconds (to allow time for your muscles to loosen up and relax properly)
- Static Stretching: Hold certain positions for 20 – 30 seconds (think toe touching)
- Dynamic Stretching: Any form or light or body weight resistance, such as body weight squats or push-ups)
- Yoga: Great for increasing flexibility, strength, posture, and reducing stress.