Fight to Be Fit
Stress release, power, speed, stamina, coordination. These are just a few of the vast benefits one gets from training in a combative activity. While combatives are as old as mankind, their entry in the realm of one on one and group fitness are relatively recent. Prior to this, if one wanted to learn to throw a punch or fire of a knee strike, it had to be done under the tutelage of a coach or instructor. This generally took arduous training over at least a decade to achieve a mastery of skills. In recent years, it has become more common for exercisers to take part in fitness kick-boxing, Tae Bo, or personalized boxing sessions. It’s obvious why this has become so common. Fighters are some of the most fit and well-conditioned athletes on the planet and the acquisition of their skills involves varied and fun drills! For people looking to add some diversity to their training program or get fit in a well-rounded fashion, training with combative skills like punches, kicks, knees, elbows, clinches, and the defenses associated with them can be fun and highly effective. But is all so simple? Not quite, read on for a more thorough discussion.
The benefits of training with combat skills in either a group or one on one format for a fitness goal are quite vast as previously stated. It allows one to gain the high fitness levels and aesthetic physique of a well-trained fighter without ever having to undergo the necessary punishment of sparring and head trauma. For many people, this is quite appealing. Also, most training programs of this sort focus on auxiliary training as a complement to the combative skills to stay true to fighter’s fitness programs. It’s common to see exercises like medicine ball slams and throws, push ups, jumps, sprints, and various core strengthening drills. This does well to add a more holistic element to the training program and to strengthen the trainee. Overall, the conditioning and coordination gained from combative skills paired with power and strength exercises can be a very effective training combination. It is, however, imperative to find a trainer, coach, or instructor that can progress you safely.
With the popularity of these methods there have certainly been a few issues. Injury rates have been quite high with many exercisers suffering shoulder and low back pain. These injuries are often times a result from poor progression and poor teaching cues. Fighting techniques performed for hundreds of repetitions at full force are a high stressor to the body which needs to be mitigated with proper form and preparatory drills. For example, learning to throw a punch without learning how to move the feet and hips is a recipe for injury! The curve of learning techniques is also often mishandled in a fitness setting. The thinking is that people simply want a good and hard workout so lots of techniques and combinations are put together without a regard for proper progression. There is a systemic way to teach and progress fighting techniques, and this needs to be honored even if the goals are general fitness. This keeps quality and efficiency high, with injury rates being very low.
A great way to make sure that the above points are taken into consideration is to find a quality instructor or coach. If your goal is simply to use fighting skills are a way to have fun, burn off some stress, and get a great workout, your trainer needs not to have fought or trained for decades or had international fighting experience. They simply need to be slightly experienced and well versed in the methods they are teaching, in their progressions, and in ways to reduce risk of injury. Don’t be afraid to ask about their expertise and knowledge.
A final point, when learning fighting skills it is important to also learn defensive skills. This adds a few vast benefits. First, you are able to place your skills in a contextual framework and consider how they intended to be used. Second, it gives you endless variation of combining defensive and offensive skills which is great for developing your brain and body’s coordination!
This gives you a few great things to think about if you are considering training in a fitness combative setting. With these thoughts in mind, you can make sure that you avoid potential risks and optimize your performance! If you would like to come in to try a boxing or kickboxing fitness workout, contact us at 847-283-6060 or visit our website at www.fitnesstogether.com/lakeforest to schedule your free consultation and try a workout with any of our highly qualified trainers. We look forward to working with you!
Written by Vlad Klipinitser.