Mixed martial arts marts evolved from a no-holds-barred ultra-violent contest to a well-respected mainstream athletic competition in just two decades. Numerous gyms and academies have sprung up worldwide due to this transformation and the ever-growing fanbase.
While professional fighters still pay a steep price for glory, the gyms are filled with many more weekend warriors who develop their bodies and minds with the help of MMA. So, here are 10 of the undisputed benefits you gain when you train MMA.
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There are endless debates about which system is best for self-defense, and we have written quite a few paragraphs on the topic. One thing is sure, though, that MMA is great for self-defense.
When many other martial arts have undercut their systems and have become very impractical in a real-life fight, MMA still prepares you for an actual violent conflict.
Sparring and grappling against fully resisting opponents is the only way to prepare your mind and body for a fight. MMA training features much of that. You learn to punch, kick, wrestle and grapple and test your skills in practice against your training partners.
Of course, an actual altercation is a chaotic and messy thing, very different from the controlled and timed reality of sparring. Still, MMA will give you at least some advantage in self-defense better than almost any other system.
Improve Your Cardio & Conditioning
Heart disease has been on the rise in recent decades, and doctors agree that you should engage in cardiovascular exercise at least three times per week. There are many ways to go about it, but few are better than MMA.
MMA training is very heavy on aerobic conditioning. It will quickly improve the function of your heart and lungs, making them more and more efficient. Punching a heavy bag, skipping rope, sparring, and many other specific exercises are some of the best cardio workouts you can do.
MMA also improves anaerobic conditioning. Fighting is done in short explosive bursts. You must regularly train specific exercises that enhance the body’s capacity to perform these anaerobic bursts. These include sprints, weight lifting, interval training, and many others.
While some sports and training routines heavily prioritize either aerobic or anaerobic conditioning, MMA training will immensely improve both.
MMA training will inevitably increase your functional strength. This means your muscles will get stronger doing functional movement patterns often left out in regular fitness training.
The modern-day lifestyle leaves many muscles weak and underdeveloped. Still, the wide variety of skills and exercises performed in MMA will require the use of all muscle groups, from the major ones to the small stabilizers.
Aside from the direct benefits to your MMA skills, the functional strength improvements directly impact your everyday life and will make every chore or task more manageable and pleasant.
Losing weight is one of the top reasons many people start training in the first place, and MMA training is a fantastic tool for that goal. Few activities can match the calorie burn of an entire MMA training session.
The combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises promotes very effective fat burning. With an appropriate diet, you won’t find it that hard to be at a caloric deficit and shed away the extra pounds.
Regain Your Balance And Coordination
Balance and coordination may not seem as important as the other physical benefits, but they are still attributes worth having. Firing punches and kicks requires a balanced position, as does successful defense.
Furthermore, grappling does incredible things for coordination and flexibility. And that flexibility is your best first line of defense against injuries. You improve all of these by training the MMA-specific techniques and drills without needing specific exercises.
Of course, spending time working specifically on balance and mobility will significantly increase the speed with which they develop.
Knowing how to fight will increase your confidence in any situation, regardless of whether you ever have to use your skills outside the gym. Being in good shape is also one of the best feelings and will promote better self-esteem.
It goes without saying that MMA training helps immensely with both these points. And when you add to the feeling of improving, of overcoming challenges and your shortcomings daily, it’s easy to understand how MMA helps build self-esteem and confidence.
Release The Stress
No offense to specialists, but few things in life are better therapy than taking out your frustration, anger, and stress in a violent flurry against a heavy bag. Martial arts are a unique and safe outlet for negative emotions.
All physical activities help immensely, but there is something extra satisfying and calming in exerting yourself to the limit in the gym in simulated and controlled combat.
Build Meaningful Relationships
An often overlooked benefit of MMA training, aside from the more obvious physical ones, is the friendship you build in the gym. From experience, I can tell you that you meet people from all walks of life that you would otherwise never meet, let alone become friends with.
Overcoming the same challenges and obstacles, assisting each other in growing and improving, and sweating and shedding blood together create a one-of-a-kind connection with people whom you may have nothing else in common. And this is something very valuable to have.
Improve Your Focus
You know that the world today is built in a way to steal and capture your attention. Even the strongest-willed people fall prey to the glowing screens all around us. But martial arts require your full attention and focus.
You need to be present physically and mentally, focusing on the movements and techniques of both you and your training partners. This ability to focus completely on one task carries over to everything else you do in life, not just sports, which is an invaluable skill.
Fortify Your Mind
Even for a casual non-competitor, MMA training is challenging and demanding. But that is a good thing. A tree grows tall and strong only in the presence of a strong wind. Each training session you complete builds mental toughness, determination, and resilience.
Learning complex skills, enduring rough sparring sessions, going through injuries, and overcoming challenges fortifies your mind. It shows you that you can overcome much more than you might have thought possible.
Once you learn that you can break your perceived barriers, you can start breaking those same barriers in all aspects of your life.
You can list more and more benefits of MMA, but these 10 should be more than enough to convince anyone to give MMA a try. Each reward has to be earned, so the more you invest, the more you gain. This I promise you.