Mixed Martial arts, or MMA, as it is commonly known, is one of the most popular combat sports in the world, spanning several countries and sporting promotions. The demands of the sport are intense, with fighters requiring superhuman training and preparation to figure in a fight.
The finances involved are also immense because there are millions of fans of the sport across the globe. Money from TV rights, advertisements, and fighting fees comprise a considerable revenue for any MMA promotion that invests in fighters. Hence the health and well-being of athletes, particularly after a fight, are extremely important.
Why is proper recovery significant for MMA fighters?
The bodies of MMA fighters are conditioned differently than ordinary people. The grueling nature of their training and all the hard work for months before a fight can take a toll on the body and drastically increase the chances of injuries if the recovery process isn’t proper.
Long-term injuries like Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), stress fractures, and tendonitis can broadly hamper the career of an MMA fighter. Additionally, overtraining or overextending their physical capacity can distort the body’s balance.
However, in the case of injuries, several sports clinics and medical institutes provide treatment for many MMA-related injuries. World-class facilities like sports medicine clinic Dubai specialize in providing the best possible treatment for a sportsperson.
Tips for Recovering Faster After an MMA Fight
Elite athletes extensively use cold treatment or cryotherapy in their post-game or post-fight routines. Research has shown that exposure to shallow temperatures can induce muscle recovery and relieve pain. Additionally, it can also enhance the flexibility of an athlete.
This is the same technique of applying icepacks on a strain or an inflammation but a grander, more intense scale. Whole-body cryotherapy enables proper blood flow to the core and provides the necessary nutrients for repair and rebuilding.
A full-body massage after a fight or the training period can heavily influence the recovery of an MMA fighter. The aching and painfulness naturally associated with an intense workout or after a contest can be alleviated by applying adequate pressure on the body.
Massages help loosen up the knots in the body that naturally result in painful sensations and aid stress. Once the targeted muscle areas are numb, the resulting discomfort is subsided. You can massage the surface either with your hand or foam rollers.
Nothing aids the recovery after an MMA fight more than proper rest. Your muscles and the central nervous system must receive the desired rest after a fight. One of the easiest ways to rest appropriately is to maintain a healthy sleep cycle and get 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep.
Since MMA fighters expend more energy than normal individuals, their resting period must also be extended. Besides the physical stress, adequate rest can also tackle emotional stress, keeping fighters physically and emotionally charged for a fight.
When you’re at the peak of your body shape and health, you need a proper diet to maintain the same tenacity. Your nutrition intake must be balanced. To maintain high levels of training, carbohydrates are required for energy.
Similarly, protein is a must to build muscle mass and maintain adequate strength and conditioning levels. Without proper nutrition, there can be no good recovery.
5. Stretching Exercises
Non-flexibility of the muscles and joints is one of the critical reasons behind martial arts injuries. Entire body stretching is an activity that should be religiously followed before and after a fight. Here are some types of stretching exercises you can try:
- Dynamic stretching
- Ballistic stretching
- Active stretching
- Static stretching
- Isometric stretching
Yoga traditionally comes under the active recovery process. Hence, it is an activity that MMA fighters can undertake for rapid recovery. The yoga exercises and poses are devised to allow fast blood flow to the muscles and provide an adequate oxygen supply to all body parts. Some of the yoga poses that help in active recovery is:
- Downward dog pose
- Supine pigeon poses
- Bridge pose
- Happy baby pose
- Supine twist pose
- Cat/Cow pose
7. Flotation therapy
A much more advanced and costly technique for recovery, Float therapy is also known as Zero Gravity Therapy and Sensory Deprivation Therapy. Here an athlete is put inside a soundproof room or a pool of water for approximately an hour. Depriving someone of their senses is said to relieve stress and remove muscle strain.
Additionally, you can customize the settings depending on your muscle mass and body requirements.
8. Doing what you love
As mentioned above, the rest period will determine your recovery status and prepare you for the next fight. While resting, you can ideally engage in activities you are interested in. Watch Netflix or play video games. Whatever suits you!
You must remember that proper rest will impact your physical attributes and mental capacity. Hence, enjoy your rest period as much as possible to supplement both.
The lifestyle of MMA fighters is hugely different. The overall recovery time can be squeezed between fights, training, and workout routines. However, martial artists can easily maintain a proper balance and drastically improve their form with the right recovery methods.