Core Work for Fighters

Combat sports are full body sports so your fight training should involve your FULL BODY. You train your shoulders, arms and legs, but equally important is your core - your chest, waist, hips, and portions of your back. Most workouts concentrate on either upper or lower body, but just like a city needs to have a thriving midtown, you need a powerful midsection - because this is where the serious business happens!

Fight training is all about repetition so you’ll develop functional
skills and second
nature instincts. Use core training to engage new muscles
in a way that can enhance your overall fight machine.

Think of your core as the foundation for every element of fighting. The core provides balance, moves and stabilizes your midsection, powers your punches and absorbs punishment from an opponent. As the saying goes, if you want to be hardcore, you must develop a hard core.

Now, strengthening and solidifying your “fighting core” is not the same thing as developing a sexy “six pack” or flat stomach; You want to develop a functional core that is strong, yet agile and highly responsive. You want what elite trainers call “dynamic stabilization”. For that, look for routines that emphasize the same kind of movements you’d use in a fight.

You needn’t spend time on isolated exercises for your individual muscles groups; you’re better off with some functional drills that shift the emphasis between stabilization and motion engaging multiple muscle groups. Remember: the goal is to be able to withstand hits to the body, while enhancing your ability to move freely and quickly. Sit-ups and crunches are not great exercises for fighters because they are minimally effective at developing overall core strength and can also be stressful on the lower back. Planks will help stiffen abdominal muscles, but this isometric exercise largely ignores the chest and hips and lacks the dynamic quality of movement.

Try some burpees, woodchoppers, ab rollouts, bodysaws, rope slips, and landmines. If you’re unfamiliar, search ‘em out on YouTube. Try different variations and use different apparatus, but keep it fairly simple. Don’t overdo using resistance and instead use explosive movement in order to develop the muscle to produce force. Got any other great suggestions? Leave a comment.

Fight training is all about repetition so you’ll develop functional skills and second nature instincts. Use core training as a complement to your fight training routines to engage new muscles in a way that can help you overcome issues, protect against injury, and enhance your overall fight machine.

Posted on October 15, 2014 .