THE MMA Fit WARM-UP AND STRETCH-OFF

Shoulders

Roll your shoulders forwards as if shrugging, then do the same thing backwards. Hold your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, and then gently ease your elbows back as far as they will go, as if you were trying to make them touch behind your back.

BEFORE YOU START taking exercise of any sort, it is absolutely vital that you .warm yourself up properly, stretching off the major muscles that you’re going to use and raising your heart rate. If you don’t, the chances are that you will end up with cramps, pulled or torn muscles and even stress fractures. Similarly, you should always warm down after each session, which allows your muscles to contract more gently. The following routine will get you ready for any of the exercises or workouts described in MMA Fit. Always do it at the start of your workouts and at the end. And even after you’ve warmed up, always start exercising gently and build up gradually to full pace. Remember: if you get injured, you won’t be able to train at all.

Head and Neck –

Start your warm-up by gently rotating your head from side to side then nod backwards and forwards — build up the movement until you are gently stretching as far as you can go.

Trunk

With your arms held out to your sides at shoulder height, rotate your entire upper body to the left and then to the right, as far as you can comfortably go. Put your hands on your hips and rotate your entire pelvic area to the left and right, as if making an obscene gesture.

Legs

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Without locking your knees, now try to touch the ground in front of, between and behind your feet with your fingertips. Don’t force yourself if you can’t quite manage it. Next, stand on one leg, grasp the opposite ankle in your hand and try to pull it up behind you so that your heel pushes into your buttock, then swop over and repeat the exercise with the other leg. … And Finally

Gently jog around for a couple of minutes, stretching any muscles that feel stiff or tight. Remember to start exercising at an easy pace and, if any muscles feel sore, back off and stretch before trying to work them again.

THE FOLLOWING show you the basic strength exercises that you will be using for the MMA Fit programmes. Half of them require no special equipment, but the rest require the use of weights or a `multigyrn’ which automatically introduces an element of risk. Don’t start the exercises until you know what you are doing! If you are not already familiar with weight-training equipment, then get someone who is to show you what to do.

Getting Started

Some of the exercises which follow don’t require any extra. Gear, but others do. If you want to go the whole hog and become super fighting fit, you’re inevitably going to have to use a gym, but in fact all you really need is a rnultigym machine or similar — anything else is a bonus. The army, not surprisingly, have a lot of weight-training gear and I’ve never yet been to an army base which didn’t have, at least, a multigym. If you don’t have access to a gym in this way, there may well be a sports centre near you with a gym or ‘conditioning room’ where you can use good-quality equipment wider professional supervision.

Grunting Poseurs

The downside of using gyms is that they are often filled with obscenely over-developed body-builders, grunting, sweating and mooching around in hideously revealing clothes, admiring themselves in the mirrors. Although these sad, ‘sideshow freaks think that they own any gym they spend more than ten minutes in, they are normally quite harmless and spend most of their time thinking about the next deliciously nutritious glass of raw egg and carrot purée.

Gear for Weight Training

A T-shirt, shorts and running shoes are perfectly adequate clothing for weight training. You may find that a pair of weight-training gloves helps to prevent callouses and blisters on your hands, and some people use a wide belt to support their back during workouts. That’s all you need — but just read through any fitness magazine to see how the bullshit piles up to neck height when someone is trying to sell you workout clothes.

Alternative Weights

If you don’t have weights at home, or access to a multigym, there are a number of alternatives that you can experiment with. Instead of dumb-bells you could try using books, baked bean tins or house bricks; as an alternative to a bar-bell try a suitably weighted sports bag, or even a strong broomstick with weighted containers attached to the ends. If you do use alternative weights, you must ensure that all of the components are very securely attached to prevent them from falling on you and that the weights are not going to shift about inside their containers as you use them, which might throw you off balance. 1 Press-Ups

Anyone can do these. At home, in the office, in the bus queue — you can do press-ups anywhere and there are few better ways of improving the chest and arms. Lie face down on the ground, put the palms of your hands flat on the ground underneath your shoulders, stiffen your back and legs, and raise your body up, pivoting on your toes. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise and do it slowly and deliberately. 2 Bench Press

You need a multigym or a bar-bell, loaded with a weight that you can comfortably bench-press 12 times, and a bench to lie on. Lie on your back on the bench with your shoulders directly underneath the weights, ensuring that your back remains flat on the bench by lifting your feet off the ground and crossing your legs. Grip the bar (or handles on a multigym) with your hands shoulder-width apart and push it slowly and deliberately to the furthest extent of your arms, then slowly lower it back again. Do it 20 times (yes, I said 2o).

CHEST EXERCISES 3 Dips

You need two parallel bars about 2 ft (60 cm) apart and about 4 ft (1.2 m) off the ground, though the backs of two sturdy chairs would do just as well. Stand between the bars, grip one with each hand and lift yourself off the ground until your arms lock straight. Cross your legs and raise your feet to keep them out of the way. Now, lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel with the bars, then raise yourself up and lock your arms straight again — try to do 20 of these (they are very difficult at first). 4 Lateral Raise

Lie flat on a bench holding two equally weighted dumbbells, one in each hand, together above your chest. With your elbows slightly bent, lower them to your sides, then raise them again to the starting position. Use a weight that allows you to do about 20 repetitions (reps). 5 Pullovers

You can do these with either a bar-bell or two equally weighted dumb-bells. Lie on a narrow, flat bench holding the weight at arm’s length above your chest, then, keeping your arms straight, lower the weight(s) behind your head while breathing in. Finally, bring the weight back to the starting position as you exhale. Use a weight which allows you to do 12 reps comfortably — but do 20.

BACK EXERCISES 6 Chins

You need a bar to hang from about 6 ft 6 in (2 m) off the ground. Grip the bar with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and hang from it with your legs crossed and your feet tucked behind you. Slowly and deliberately raise yourself until you can touch the bar with the bridge of your nose, then slowly lower yourself down again. Build up to being able to do this in sets of 12 reps (like dips, these are very difficult at first). 8 Bent Over Rowing

You need either a bar-bell or two equally weighted dumbbells for this. With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend over and grip the weight(s). Stay bent over while pulling the weight to your waist, then lower back to the ground. Use a weight that allows you to do sets of 12. 7 Hyperextensions

Lie face down on the floor with your hands behind your head, then raise your chest and shoulders as far as you can off the floor and lower them again — you should be able to do sets of at least 30 of these. Avoid hooking your feet under any stationary object as you will end up training your legs more than your back. 9 The Good Morning Exercise

God knows why it’s called this. Hold a bar-bell across your shoulders while standing up straight, then bend forward from the waist until your body is parallel to the floor Finish by straightening again, using the muscles in the small of your back. Use a weight that allows you to do sets of 12.

SHOULDERS 10 Shoulder Press

This exercise is best done on a multigym in the seated position with your back supported, but it can just as easily be performed standing with a bar-bell. Hold the weight-bar in position at the back of the neck with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, then slowly and deliberately push the bar directly upwards before lowering it again. Do sets of 12 reps. 12 Side Lateral Raise

Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding an equally weighted dumb-bell in each hand at your waist. Keeping your arms straight, simultaneously raise the dumbbells away from your body to shoulder height, then lower. Do sets of i2. 13 Bent Lateral Raise

This is the same as the last exercise, the side lateral raise, except that you bend forwards and lift the weights from a position below you rather than at your sides. Do sets of I2.

Dumb-Bell Press

Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart, holding an equally weighted dumb-bell at each shoulder. Alternately raise each one above your head. Do IS in each set. Easy, isn’t it?

ARMS 14 Curls

Hold a bar-bell, or the curling bar from a multigym, at your waist, with your elbows locked in to your sides. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight, then ‘curl’ the bar up to your shoulders and back again. Do 20 reps in a set. 15 Tricep Dips

You need two stable benches about 4 ft (1.2 m) apart. Adopt a sitting position with your feet on one bench and your bum on the other. Take your weight on your hands and slide your body forward so that your bottom is clear to drop below the level of the bench. Lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then straighten them. Do this in sets of 20. 16 Concentration Curls

Sit on a bench with .a single dumb-bell clutched in one hand.

Rest your elbow on your leg, keeping the other arm out of the way, and slowly curl the dumb-bell to your shoulder, then slowly lower it. Do this in sets of 12. 17 Press Downs

These can only easily be done on a multigym or similar machine which has a bar for pulling down. Stand in front of the machine with the bar clasped in both hands in front of your chest and your elbows locked, as far as possible, into your sides. Press the bar down, using only your arm muscles, until your arms are straight in front of you, then allow the bar to rise to its starting position. Do 15 reps in each set.

ABDOMEN

Note: When doing exercises for the abs you should always avoid locking your feet under anything. Doing this makes the exercise easier, but your legs do all the work and you put normal crunches, but bring your knees up as well and touch unnecessary strain on the lower back. Your knees to your elbows. Do sets of 25. 18 Crunches

Lie on your back with your legs bent, your feet flat on the floor and your hands behind your head. Raise your upper body as if trying to touch your knees with your elbows. When you have ‘crunched’ up as far as you can, pause before lowering your body down. The movement is not as large as for a traditional ‘sit-up’ but it is far better for you. 19 Leg Raises

Lie flat on your back with your hands under your bum. Keeping your legs straight and pointing your toes daintily, raise your feet 6 in (15 cm) off the ground. This is the start position. Now raise your feet from 6 to about 18 in (45 cm) off the ground, then back to 6 again. Keep your feet off the ground throughout the exercise and do 30 in a set. 20 V-Crunches

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees slightly bent. Crunch your upper body as for 21 Seated Leg Push

Ideally you should be sitting on the edge of a bench, but you can do these on the floor as well. Sit upright with your hands, supporting you next to your bottom. To perform the exercise, bring your knees to your chest then straighten your legs out, but without allowing your feet to touch the ground throughout the set. Try to do 35-40 in a set. 22 Crossover Crunches

These are performed as for V-Crunches, but alternately touching your right elbow to your left knee and vice versa. Do them in sets of 20.

Remember

The 22 exercises described here are basic but highly beneficial. If you are unsure how to do any of them, ask an instructor at your gym to show you. If you feel severe pain at any stage while doing them, stop immediately — you may have pulled a muscle or worse. In any event, don’t try any of them until you are sure you know what you are doing.

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