Top 10 MMA Training Warm-Up Exercises
Last Updated: 31/10/16
If you’re getting ready to start your first MMA training session, chances are you’re feeling quite excited. Before you dive in and get going, it’s important that you perform a good warm-up. The right warm-up is going to help ensure that your body is prepared for the exercise to come, that your mind is focused on what you need to do, and that you are putting your best foot forward to prevent injury.
Sound like a good plan? Let’s go over the 10 best warm-up exercises to complete in the few minutes prior to your MMA session.
To begin your warm-up, jumping rope is a great choice. This will get your heart rate up, the blood flowing throughout the body, and loosen up the shoulders, legs, and arms. Spend 2-3 minutes jumping rope. You should feel energized and not fatigued as you finish up.
Heel To Butt Kicks
After you have finished your jump rope, it’s time to loosen up those knees. Heel to butt kicks are great for that. Begin jogging on the spot but as you do, aim to kick the heel into the butt with each jump. As you do this, focus on contracting your abs, keeping your spinal column upright. Perform 20 reps or so for each leg before carrying on.
Next is walk-outs. This move is great for getting the shoulder muscles activating as well as bringing your chest into play. It’ll also active your core muscles, ensuring you sustain maximum stabilization when your MMA training begins. Assume a standing position and then bend at the waist and place the hands on the floor in front of the body. Now slowly walk the hands out in front of you as you move the body into a horizontal position. Once you’re fully lowered into position, pause and then walk the hands back into the body to complete the rep. Return to the standing position and then repeat again once or twice.
Stationary front lunges
Stationary front lunges will help loosen up the hip flexor muscles while warming up the hip joints. Stand in an upright position with the hands on the hips and then step forward into a lunge with one leg. Lung until the knee is directly over the toes and go as low as you can go. Pause and then come back to the starting position. Alternate to the other leg. Continue performing this movement pattern until you’ve completed 5-10 reps on each leg.
Stationary lateral lunges
After working through this plane of motion, now you want to work on the lateral plane of motion. The stationary lateral lunge is perfect for this. Stand up straight and take a step out to the side of the body. Once in this position, bend one knee as you lower yourself down into the ground, keeping the other knee straight and in front of you. Lower until you’re as low as you can go. Note that this one will test your ability to balance, while also helping to stretch out your hamstring and groin region. Do not rush the movement. Perform it in a slow and controlled movement pattern, taking more time as needed. Once you’re as low as you can go, hold that stretch for a count of five seconds. Then rise up and repeat to the other side. Continue one or two times until you’re loosened up through the hips.
To help warm up the shoulder girdle, complete some arm circles. Standing in an upright position, simply bring the arms up directly above the head and then begin to rotate them back and down, creating a wide circle with the hands. Make these circles as large as possible while focusing on directing the movement from the shoulder joint. Feel the muscle tension release as you do this, getting blood flowing throughout the ligaments and tendons while warming the area up. Perform 10-20 reps in one direction and then switch directions and repeat.
To stretch out the quads, perform a basic quad standing stretch. Hold onto a nearby object for balance and then bend the knee and bringing the foot up behind you and grab hold of it. Your foot should be just under your bottom. Now think of squeezing the bum as you push your hips forward and at the same time, lock the knee into place directly beside the other. This will help to lengthen the quad muscle, helping you feel the deep stretch in your quad. Hold this position for a count of 10-15 seconds and then switch legs and repeat. If needed, perform a second time through until your quads feel loosened up.
Hip Flexor Stretch
In addition to stretching out the quads, you’ll want to be sure that your hip flexors are well stretched. It’s easy to strain a hip flexor and these muscles can take quite some time to heal. Prevention is key. To stretch your hip flexors, move into a lunge position, but this time place the back knee onto the floor so you are balancing on it. Place your hands on top of the knee in front of you. In this position you may already be feeling a stretch in the hip flexor, but if not, shift your bodyweight forward slightly, moving so that your base of support is over your toes. As you do this, you should begin to feel that stretch in the hip flexor region. Hold this for 5-10 seconds and then switch to the other side and repeat.
Now it’s time to loosen up your spinal column and ensure that you are able to twist from side to side during your training with ease. The rotational stretch is a great exercise to include in any well-rounded warmup program. Simply get into a standing position next to a table or high bench. Your body should be facing perpendicular to the side of that table. Now, turn and grab a hold of the table and twist the body towards it as you rotate your spinal column. Twist as far as comfortable and hold that position for a few seconds. Next, turn around and do the same to the other side. Repeat one or two more times until your spinal column is feeling loose and mobile.
Finally, finish up your warm-up with a little foam rolling. While you can use foam rolling after your MMA session to help speed the recovery process and reduce muscle soreness, it’s also a great way to warm-up and get the blood flowing through your muscles. You’ll want to especially focus on rolling out your glutes, quads, and hamstrings as they can become quite tight with intense MMA training. Roll over these muscles, rolling slightly faster than you would if you were trying to work out a muscle knot.
Use these ten great warm-up exercises and stretches perform before starting your MMA training. If you take ten minutes before each session to warm up and stretch, you can feel confident you’re going into each workout ready to train hard, prevent injury and see maximum results.
Disclaimer: Please seek medical advice prior to attempting these movements.