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Eight Principles to Prepare the Muscles for Fighting

This is an excerpt from Delavier’s Mixed Martial Arts Anatomy by Frederic Delavier and Michael Gundill.


From powerful blows to explosive kicks, go inside the action and impact of one of the world’s most popular, grueling, and challenging sports with
Delavier’s Mixed Martial Arts Anatomy.

Eight Principles to Prepare the Muscles for Fighting

It is understood that when you do strength training, the strength you gain in the gym will translate into improved performance in the ring. For a beginner, this transfer generally happens well. But the more experienced you are as a fighter, the more problematic this transfer becomes.

To ensure an optimal transfer, your strength training needs to develop those physical qualities that are required in a fight. This is why it is imperative that you stick to these eight principles as faithfully as possible.

1

Fight Conditions

Many of the most popular strength train-ing exercises do not correspond well to the strikes used in a fight. One such exercise is the wide-grip bench press. Though this exercise will really help a beginner who is not very strong, it is not well suited for an experienced fighter. This is because it is rare to throw a punch while your shoulder blades are stabilized on a bench or on the floor. To optimize your fighting ability while standing, you should do strength training exercises while standing up and without supporting your shoulder blades.

2

Direction of Movement

If you are a beginner and want to do bench presses, you need to avoid the common mistake of using a wide grip as in classic strength training. A wide grip does not correlate with the kinds of strikes used during fights, since you rarely hit on the outside of the body. You must adjust your grip to the width of your strikes. In other words, you should use a narrow grip.

3

Direction of Strength

When you throw a punch, you have to overcome horizontal resistance. It would not be useful to box with dumbbells, because they provide vertical resistance. Using an elastic band that is parallel to the floor or a cable machine is much more appropriate.

4

The Sides of the Body Used in a Fight

Going back to the example of the bench press, it is an exercise that is done with both arms at the same time. But since fighters do not punch with both fists at the same time, it is better to do presses with only one arm at a time. However, once you knock an opponent down, you do use both arms together, and this closely matches the action in a deadlift. Choking an opponent on the ground with your thighs is always a bilateral movement. Therefore, you should choose strength training exercises on a case-by-case basis depending on which sides of the body are used in the exercise.

5

Range of Motion in Movements

Strength training exercises should mirror the range of motion used in your fighting moves.

It is not helpful to do exercises with a greater range of motion. Rather, you can do exercises with a slightly smaller range of motion because they will help you get stronger without necessarily constituting the majority of your workout.

6

Types of Muscle Contraction Necessary in a Fight

Classic strength training exercises mainly have a back-and-forth rhythm of con-traction. This harmonious succession cor-
relates perfectly with running sports, for example. But, during a fight, the series of moves happen with much less certainty, often with a few seconds of rest between blows. So you need to practice this style of random moves.

7

Speed of Execution

How quickly you move your weights while you are strength training should match what you do in a fight: explosive so you can throw a punch; using a little more strength when you want to knock an opponent down or flip him over; iso-metric (with almost no movement) for many holds done on the ground, such as locks, chokes, and defensive moves. So you should use many different speeds during your workouts.

8

Types of Strength Required in a Fight

Strength is a generic term that encompasses many realities. It is a good idea to analyze the primary movements in a fight so you can define which muscle qualities you need to develop first


Read more from Delavier’s Mixed Martial Arts Anatomy by Frederic Delavier and Michael Gundill.



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Delavier's Mixed Martial Arts Anatomy
Best-selling author Frédéric Delavier takes on mixed martial arts, providing more than 120 exercises, 20 training programs, and advice on injury prevention for veteran and beginning fighters. Packed with full-color photos and Delavier’s stunning anatomical illustrations, promising maximum results in minimal time.
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