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5 Core Strengthening Exercises for MMA Fighters

5 Core Strengthening Exercises for MMA Fighters

To be successful in Mixed Martial Arts, it is essential to have a strong core. Though training different components of MMA including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing, and Muay Thai helps in strengthening the core. But that doesn’t overcome the importance of other core exercises.

There are a large number of exercises that you can perform for strengthening your core and abdominal muscles. In this article, you will learn 5 of the best core strengthening exercises in detail.

1. What is Core?

Before you get into learning core exercises, you must know what the core is. Waist, lower back, and hips areas are collectively known as the core. This is almost the central part of the body which mainly allows movements in all directions.

Most of the power of an MMA fighter comes from the core area. Muscles linked to the core areas provide power for most of the actions and movements we make.

2. Why Core Training is Important for MMA Fighters?

The core muscles stiffen to secure the spine as well as transfer the forces from the lower body to the upper body while making movements. The core is the key to throwing powerful strikes.

An MMA fighter with a weaker core cannot place knockout strikes. In the fighting cage, the weak core limits their mobility. In addition, they could not maintain their foundation for a long time during a fight. Although, their chances of winning become next to impossible.

When you have a strong core, you can perform your techniques in the way you want. You also get a stronger foundation that helps you stay stable during the fight and to throw the maximum power strikes at the opponent to win the match.

3. Top Benefits of Core Training

Core training is not just beneficial for MMA fighters but also for non-athletes in multiple ways. Here are some of the incredible benefits of core training as followed:

3.1. Provide Foundation for All Movements

Core training always helps in effective movements for a variety of movements we make while performing different tasks. For an MMA fighter, it is essential to have a strong foundation to deal with the complexities of the art. Being an MMA fighter, you are required to make a wide range of moves in a fight. The versatility in movement in mixed martial arts is much greater than any other combating sport.

3.2. Improve Posture and Stability

The core muscles are of great importance for keeping the body in perfect shape. These muscles help in straightening the rib cage, spinal column, and pelvic girdle. Also, arms, legs, and head function effectively when you have a strong core.

In MMA you need to throw punches and kicks that require you to transfer weight from the upper half to the lower one and transfer power from legs to torso, shoulders, and fists. You can perform these things effectively only if you hold a strong core.

3.3. Increase Longevity

MMA athletes are liable to wear and tear in their bodies. If the core training is ignored, their posture and stability get weakened. Having a strong core helps them offset the problem of having weak backs as well. Moreover, it enables them to perform efficiently and for a long time.

3.4. Enhanced Blood Circulation

When we have a strong core, our heart, and lymphatic system work more efficiently when it comes to circulating blood and lymph throughout the body. While you train for core strength, it changes the pressure in these muscles that result in increased blood circulation.

4. 5 Best Core Exercises for MMA Fighters

The following are 5 of the best exercises that can help MMA fighters strengthen their core and stay on top of their game while competing. Using these exercises will help you build core muscles and enable the body to work in even unstable conditions.

4.1. Dumbbell Side Bends

Dumbbell Side Bends

This is one of the simplest exercises that you can do for strengthening your core muscles. The following are easy steps to perform it correctly.

  • Stand straight while keeping your feet slightly apart.
  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand. You should place the other hand behind your head.
  • Now bend the torso in the direction of the hand which is behind your head.
  • Perform this 15-20 times on one side and then change the side.
  • Do not rest between the sets.

Related Reading: Best Strength Exercises for MMA Fighters

4.2. Weighted Ball Extensions

If you want to make your workout a little intensive, you can go for weighted ball extensions exercise for core strengthening. You can perform it in the following steps.

  • Lie on the swiss ball, keep face down, and position your abs in the center of the ball.
  • Lower your body while keeping your hands crossed at the chest.
  • Now pull your torso back to the starting point. For that, you should be using erector muscles in your lower back.
  • Perform this exercise for about 15 to 20 reps.

4.3. Power Wheel Roll Out

Power wheel rollout is one of the challenging exercises for core strength. It helps you strengthen your arms, glutes, abs, legs, and lats. Here is how you can perform it.

  • Start on both knees while keeping the power wheel in front of your body on the ground.
  • Tighten your core and extend your arms fully. Roll the wheel forward enough that your body becomes parallel to the ground.
  • Once you are laid on the ground, without arching your back, squeeze your core and roll your body back into the initial position.
  • If you are a beginner you can perform for 8 to 10 reps. However, intermediate and advanced fighters can go for 12 to 30 reps.

4.4. Swiss Ball Crunches

This is another easy-to-perform core exercise that you can do anywhere at home or gym according to your ease. To perform this exercise, the only gear you will need is a Swiss ball. You can execute it in the following steps.

  • You can start it by placing your lower back right in the middle of the ball.
  • Lie back and keep your hands behind your head as you do in normal crunches.
  • Crunch forward by using ab muscles for pulling the torso up.
  • Hold in this position for a moment and get back to your starting position slowly.
  • Repeat this for 15-20 reps.
  • 4.5. Suitcase Carries

    Suitcase carries are also beneficial when it comes to developing and toning core muscles. One can perform this exercise irrespective of the sport they are into. Here are the guidelines to perform it well.

    • Get a kettlebell of an appropriate weight considering your strength levels.
    • Grab the kettlebell in one hand and carry it like a suitcase. Keep it away from your body so it should not be resting against your side.
    • Walk to your determined distance slowly while maintaining a good posture as well as resisting your desire to lean on either side.
    • Repeat this exercise on both sides.

    Related Reading: Best Mixed Martial Arts Workouts at Home

    Considering the benefits associated with core strengthening exercises and your needs for a strong core, you can perform the above-described exercises as per the given guidelines to get the best results.

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