MMA: more than a spectator sport

In Fitness, Sports

If you are tired of repeating the same legs and arms set every week, you might need something more intense, and of course a towel to wipe off the sweat.

Nowadays, gyms offer a variety of workout classes from Zumba to spinning, but with mixed martial arts (MMA) training these seem rather dull. Before one goes and signs up for MMA, the expectations must be put in perspective.

MMA is a full contact sport that combines Jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling and other disciplines. It has been widely promoted as merely street fighting, when in reality it is a demanding sport with great benefits.

These are the reasons why so many people are switching from their regular workout to MMA training.

Unlike weight lifting, where one only strengthens one muscle, MMA will produce a full body workout and build endurance at the same time.

Since it is a full contact sport, one will have to roll on a mat multiple times for several minutes each time. After several sessions, one will feel how your body can resist longer periods of time without getting tired.

Instead of regular weights, one will carry heavy objects and even other students across the class to build your strength. This will prepare one to lift people up and throw them down during a fight.

MMA is not your typical exercise.

Because a great amount of MMA occurs on the ground, jiu-jitsu will come handy during class. Jiu-jitsu consists of rigorous training sessions and, due to the physical nature of grappling, it will include cardiovascular training, stretching and resistance workout.

“Only the best fighters can go through the insane jiu-jitsu practice sessions. At CheckMat La Habra we don’t leave til sweat is dripping down the walls,” said Chris Franco, manager for Vitor Belfort.

Jiu-jitsu will make one use their entire body in different positions, and more than one muscle at the time.

When training jiu-jitsu, the entire body is put to use. And to top it off, your body is developing both endurance and muscle strength because you are using your muscles for a prolonged period of time.

Jiu-jitsu has different maneuvers and techniques that require flexibility. Trying to get people in chokes, triangles, or arm bars will force your body to be in an unusual position that will start developing flexibility

“I could only reach to my knees while standing, but after practicing jiu-jitsu for a while I find myself doing these crazy moves and positions,” said Tyler Waite, a blue belt at CheckMat in La Habra.

Besides practicing jiu-jitsu to achieve physical fitness, it will also help one learn self-defense.

In life, as on the mat, one will face bigger opponents in size, but jiu-jitsu relies heavily on leverage, so one does not have to be extremely strong to take someone down. It is an effective way to neutralize opponents by using  various throws and locks.

But not everything is physical conditioning while practicing jiu-jitsu. As every well-trained athlete knows, one must also need mental preparation.

Jiu-jitsu is a demanding sport with technical precision and power movements that will push the body to its limits. It is not a workout; it is a personal challenge.

“Being mentally prepared is key to performing well during a match. I like to visualize what my body can do as far as technique before putting it to the test,” said Raphael Chavez, who placed first in the No-Gi Worlds in 2011 and 2012.

So now that all the benefits of the world of Mixed Martial Arts have been laid out and summarized, MMA should be considered among one of the top and grueling full body workouts one can immerse themselves in.

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