Long May You Reign
BY MATT JORDAN
It's not easy being king of the ring, so the training program of a mixed martial artist makes sure muscle power rules. MMA attracts competitors seeking the ultimate test of their combat abilities in competitions of explosive punching, kicking and high-force grappling. MMA fighters are modern gladiators — hybrid athletes combining the aerobic power of a cross-country skier, the power of a weightlifter, the speed of a sprinter and the strength of a strongman competitor.
MMA programs are a complex blend of athleticism targeting the body’s physiological and functional capacities. Interval training develops endurance. Then there’s agility and speed training. In the weight room, a successful fighter develops power for striking and strength for grappling. Weight training is also used to bullet-proof joints against injury and build structural tolerance.
Nick (The Promise) Ring is one of the sport’s best, a fighter who I help train at Champions Creed MMA gym in Calgary. Ring takes his 12-1-0 record into the octagon against Court McGee for UFC 149 on July 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. The fight renews a rivalry born on the reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter, when Ring defeated McGee. Let’s look at one of Ring’s workouts that you can try to get fighting fit.
All of my athletes begin their weight-training sessions with a movement screen that assesses the active range of motion for hips, ankles and thoracic spine, then a dynamic warm-up consisting of a sequenced progression of exercises addressing movements in all planes and axis of rotation. The movements include mobilization exercises such as skips and shuffles. Once completed, the fighter moves onto neuromuscular activation exercises performed in 15-to-30 second bursts that are designed to create awareness and establish key movement patterns that simulate punching and grappling.
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