The Importance of Warming Up
Today we’re going to go over the best exercises for a complete MMA warm up routine, and why properly warming up is so important for your MMA training.
Warming up is a critical part of any physical activity, and MMA is no exception.
Making sure to warm up up before performing any activities can maximize your capabilities while working out by loosening up your muscles and increasing your mobility.
In addition to becoming loose, warming up properly can also drastically decrease your risk of injury.
There are many warm up exercise you can do before working out, including dynamic and static stretches/exercises.
Let’s go over those now:
Static vs Dynamic Stretching
There are two types of stretches that you can do before working out.
These are static stretches and dynamic stretches.
Static stretches are stretches that you perform while being still and not moving (hence the “static”.
Dynamic stretches on the other hand, are stretches that you do while staying in motion.
Dynamic stretches are more beneficial for your body during MMA your warm-up because they allow your muscles to reach a higher core temperature due to the constant motion.
While static stretches do loosen up the muscles as well, they also cause your body’s core temperature to fall from being still.
Both stretches work, but dynamic stretches are the best option for maximum results.
Here are some of the most effective dynamic exercises for your MMA warm up.
Jumping jacks are one of the classic exercises that almost everyone knows.
They may seem incredibly simple, but they are considered one of the most effective dynamic warm up exercise.
Perform jumping jacks by jumping in place while simultaneously spreading your legs out as you go up and bringing them back together as you come down.
Do the same thing with your arms. Jumping jacks allow blood to flow to all of your muscles while loosening up your joints. Do these for 1-3 minutes.
Here’s a great demonstration:
Another exercise you may be familiar with, lunges are great for warming up the lower body.
To perform lunges:
- Stand squarely and place one of your legs and plant them firmly in the ground or floor.
- Take your other leg and lunge out in front of you as far as you can, using your back foot to propel you.
- Now alternate legs and continue doing this for 1-3 minutes.
Here’s an excellent demo of the lunge:
Lateral lunges, like regular lunges, are also very effective for warming up the lower body.
To perform a lateral lunge, stand squarely and lunge to the side. Lateral lunges warm up the leg muscles and also stretch the groin and loosen up the joints in your hip.
Push ups are the go to exercise for many in the fitness world.
Doing push ups before your workout helps blood flow throughout your body.
Push ups also work most of the muscles in your body at once, including the chest, triceps, and shoulders.
Do about half of the max you can do to save energy for the rest of the workout.
Here’s some awesome variations of the general pushup:
Spider Man Stretch
The spider man stretch is a stretch that specifically helps stretch the hips and groin.
The spider man requires you to crawl on your hands at a steady pace and bring you foot in front of your shoulder. Do this for about 45 seconds.
Walking Butt Kicks
Walking Butt kicks are good for warming up and stretching the glutes and quads. Do these by simply kicking yourself in the butt or as close as you can get to your butt.
Don’t do it too hard. If this isn’t intense enough you can try walking butt kicks and running butt kicks. Do this for 1-3 minutes.
Lateral shuffles warm up the entire lower body. Do these by shuffling sideways. Do these for 1-2 minutes.
The reverse lunge is great for warming up the hamstring muscles and quads. Do these by shuffling backwards. Do these for 1-2 minutes.
Heel walks warm up the the hamstrings exceptionally well. Perform these by walking on your heels. You can do these for 1-2 minutes.
Toe walks are good for warming up the calf muscles. You can do these by walking forward on your toes. Do these for 1-2 minutes.
Arm circles is another simple exercise that delivers great results.
Rotate your arms forward for 30 seconds and then backward for 30 seconds. Arm circles help to loosen up your shoulders and warm up the muscles in your arms.
Leg swings are great for warming up your glutes and quads.
Do these by swinging your leg up to your waist or as high as you can get them, then swing it back to parallel to the floor.
Squeeze your glutes when you swing your leg back for maximum results. Do this exercise for 1-3 minutes alternating your legs.
High knees can help get a deep stretch in your quads, glutes, and hips.
Stand in place and raise each knee to your chest.
To make it more challenging (and more effective) you can do walking high knees or running high knees. Do this for 30 -90 seconds.
Straight Leg Skip/ Zombie Walk
Straight leg skips stretch the glutes and calves.
Hold both arms out straight and walk while alternately kicking your legs up to your hands.
They are also referred to as zombie walks because it resembles a zombie walking. Do these for 1-3 minutes.
Backwards peddles cause blood flow through the entire lower body and help raise your body’s temperature.
They also stretch the glutes and quads pretty well.
Do these anywhere from 30-90 seconds.
Burpees are sort of like push ups, but with a twist.
They work the entire body. They especially help to warm up muscles used to explode upward, which is essential for MMA.
Start by jumping down on your hands and feet and stretch all the way out.
Push your body off the floor.
After pushing up, while still on your hands and feet jump up and raise your arms.
Do this for only 30 seconds as it takes a lot of energy.
Here’s a pretty cool burpee workout with some awesome variations:
Moving Side Plank
Planks are very good for warming up your core. As a fighter, it’s imperative that you have a strong core.
Get on the floor and use one of your forearms to hold your body up on one side.
Take the other hand and reach toward the sky, and then lower that arm down and touch the ground.
Do this for 30-90 seconds on each side.
Straight Leg Dead Lift Walks
Straight leg dead lift walks stretch the back and the hamstrings extremely well.
Bend over with your with your legs parallel to the floor and your back straight while holding your arms out beside you.
At the same time your’e doing this raise one leg backward, aligning it with your back.
You can do these in place or while walking in a line.
Do these for 1-3 minutes.
Inch Worm Push Ups
Inch worm push ups warm up the whole body, particularly the back.
To properly perform inch worm push ups, get on your hands and legs and slowly inch your legs forward until your back is as high as it can go.
Then inch your hands forward until your back is flat again.
Repeat the process.
Do these for 1-2 minutes.
Whether it’s strength and conditioning or skill work (pads, bag work, sparring, drilling, etc.), you must properly warm up prior to every workout you do.
The exercises we went over today will definitely allow you have a complete MMA warm up routine, and as a result your training will be that much more effective.
Remember, don’t worry about getting results overnight.
It’s not gonna happen. Even though we all wish it would.
Keep training, keep learning, and, as always, if you guys have any questions feel free to contact me through the website or on our Facebook page at: