You should stretch what you feel is tight. This will always help you perform better. Stretching and elgoating muscles that you would use in training or in a fight will give you more flexibility and more mobility.
There are three main categories for stretching:
Static Flexibibility Training (SFT)
Dynamic Flexibility Training (DFT)
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facliliation (PNF)
Briefly – SFT are those stretches I make my class hold for at least 30 seconds. According to our Fight Shape Boot Camp instructor, Damian Blanco, our muscles do not know they are stretching till about 15 seconds into the stretch. They are thinking ‘we are working, we are working… and then realize, nope, we aren’t working we are stretching! So your muscles only get a stretch for 15 seconds with this frame of thought.
This prolonged stretch is meant to permanently increase the length of the muscle.
For those who do a ‘quick’ stretch, this is not SFT and your muscles aren’t getting the needed stretch required for more flexibilty and mobility. This can hurt you in the long run.
DFT is an active form of stretching. This is what you should do before a fight, a race, or an event – which includes exercise. It involves active movements throughout full ranges of motion without putting your muscles ‘on hold’ like in an SFT.
Our MMA Fit classes start off with rope jumps for a few rounds or laps for a few minutes, followed by line drills that include and not limited to MMA type activities: Knees, front kicks, punches, etc. The body is active and warming up, and as the warm up process increases, so can the intensity as you transition into the core exercise routine.
DFT is great because it also gets the blood circulating and gets your heart pumping – basically, it primes up those muscles prior to exercise!
This is more of a short term flexibility versus SFT which is meant to permanently elongate those shortend muscles.
PNF is a system of exercise and rehab of which stretching is only one component of PNF. An example would be the short stretch – relax – then stretch again method which many people usually do before and after a workout. This is only meant to rehabiliate muscles and to increase range of motion and strength.
You usually perform these stretches by holding a stretch for 5 seconds, then relaxing, then repeat. Do 3-4 sets after training.
In summary, warm up those muscles before training (DFT) and finish off your training session with static stretches (SFT) and shorter stretches for rehab and strength (PNF).
Here are a few suggested stretches for but limited to a Mixed Martial Artist:
Hamstring Wall – a stretch that will improve kick height and make you limber when on your back or (in the guard). (PNF Stretch)
Using a wall as your partner: keep your low back in a neutral position and once you feel a comfortable stretch, push your heel into the wall hard for 5 seconds. Then, increase the stretch. Repeat this process 2-3 times.
Hip Flexor – a SFT stetch that will increas the amount of power for squats, deadlifts, and powerful takedowns.
Get into a lunge position then move your hips into a forward position or ‘tuck your tail’ while pushing your hips forward. Reach up and over and hold for 30 seconds.
If you are serious about MMA training – or want to train like a Mixed Martial Artist, you can learn more about strength and endurance by reading “Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program for Mixed Martial Artists” (click here)
This book will include more stretches that a Mixed Martial Artist can use in their training program as well as Strength and Power training and a suggested training plan geared to have a fighter peak on fight night.
The main points of this book are Strength and Endurance for Mixed Martial Arts – and will guide the fighter on how to train the body in the following order:
As a Mixed Martial Artist who trains people in the “Art of Striking” as well as in conditioning in an MMA Fitness Program and Fight Shape Conditioning program, this book is essential reading and reference guide.
If you are serious about your training, download the ebook and understand the basic concepts your body needs in order to be a stronger more effective Mixed Martial Artist! (click here)
“Ultimate Strength and Conditioning“