We all have unique, individual training needs based on our own fitness and ability. For some it the ability to be able to move just for day to day tasks, others it’s for our leisure activities with friends through to competitive athletes.  Posture and mobility are a habit and due to our daily activities whether that’s in work or play we all suffer from reduced Range of Motions that can impair our movement or cause injuries.

One sport that encompasses all aspects of athletic performance is MMA. Fighters need strength, power, endurance, agility and maximum MOBILITY to get in and out of tight squeezes.  But any MMA fighter will tell you that regular work on their flexibility increases their mobility and this in turn increases their effectiveness in other styles of training and thus performance during a fight.  

Here we look at common issues for an MMA fighter and simple mobility releases that can help assist in Range of Motion.

Band work

Shoulders and Chest

Stand with your legs together, holding a band in both hands in front of the body. Take a slightly wider than shoulder width grip on the band and hold it in front of you with your palms facing down.  Carefully lift the band up and behind your head.  Remain aware of your lower body alignment. Keep your stomach muscles tucked in and your lower back muscles contracted to avoid arching your lower back.

Hamstrings:

Hold on to ends of the band; lie flat on your back keeping your hips on the floor. Bring the leg the band is looped around, straight up until you feel a slight stretch in the back of the leg. Press your hips into the floor, keep the leg straight and then point and flex at the ankle 10 times

Hip and adductor

With band looped around the left foot, place your left hand in the center of the band (holding both ends). Whilst keeping both hips flat on the floor and your right shoulder and elbow on the floor, allow your left leg to gently open up to the left side.

Hold this position and then point and flex at the ankle 10 times.

T spine

Sit on a chair and hold the band in your right hand. Slowly pull the band toward you until the elbow is tucked into your side. Then, keeping the pelvis pointing forward, slowly rotate the upper spine to your right. Repeat 10 times and then do the exercise holding the band in your left hand and rotate to the left.

Piriformis (Hip)

With the band looped around the left foot, place your left ankle on top of your right knee. While holding on to the band in each hand, lift your right foot slowly off the floor bringing the knee towards your chest.

Hold this position and then you may gently move your hips from right to left.

Hip flexors

With the band still looped around the left foot, hold the band in the left hand only and lie on your right side. Point both the left knee and elbow down and bring the band and your left foot behind your body. Lying on your right side, keep the foot towards tour rear end, knee in line with the hip, and grasp the band overhead with both hands.

Do not point the knee up or pull band over one shoulder. Hold this position and then press the hip forward and back 10 times.

Ball Releases

The Massage Ball is a simple, self-help method to care for your muscles. The ball massages and strengthens muscles by releasing trigger points.  It opens joints, increases flexibility and stimulates blood flow, improving your range of motion and helps prevent injury from sporting and day-to-day activities.

With all the following exercises please note:

Breathe normally throughout the movements keeping the body relaxed, holding your breathe no matter how painful will only increase pressure throughout the body.

Once you have carried out desired movement, repeat this process for 15 – 90 seconds provided it is comfortable and does not cause pain. If you come across any particular sore spots, apply sustained pressure for periods of 15 – 60 seconds or until the muscle relaxes.

Shoulders / Lats

Place the spikey massage ball under the outer aspect of your back (Latissimus Dorsi) Using your legs and arms, slowly move your body forward, backwards or side to side allowing the spikey ball to massage the side of your upper back.. 

T Spine

Lie down over either 2 single balls or a double massage ball either side of the vertebrae in the Thoracic region of your back.  Bring your arms up in front of the body holding each elbow.  Slowly rotate the body side to side keeping the balls in place. 

Adductor

Sit on a chair, Lean your body to the left and drape the right inner thigh over the tennis ball. Lean your body back toward the right to apply pressure. Begin at the groin and work your way down inch by inch, staying longer at points that are particularly painful.

Glutes & Piriformis

Place the spikey massage ball under your gluteal (buttock where your back pocket of your jeans would be). Using your arms and legs, slowly move your body forwards and backwards, and from side to side, allowing the spikey ball to massage your buttock region.

Hip Flexors

Place the spikey massage ball under your hip flexors (front of your upper thigh and pelvis.  Using your arms and legs, slowly move your pelvis forwards, backwards and side to side, allowing the spikey ball to massage the front of your thigh and pelvis.

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