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Injury Prevention for Martial Artists

As in any other sport, injuries can occasionally happen while training martial arts. Although the rate of injury in martial arts is actually much lower than you’d see in other contact sports like football, injuries do still occur and can cost you valuable training time while you recover. Read on for some useful strategies you can use to help prevent injuries in your martial arts practice.

 

Improve your flexibility and range of motion

Many soft tissue injuries, like strains and sprains, happen because of limited flexibility and mobility. Exercises like stretching, foam rolling, yoga, and mobility-focused workouts can help you develop confidence in your range of motion and decrease the risk of pulled muscles and other injuries.

 

Improve your strength

Physical strength is an essential part of every sport, and it’s important to incorporate some kind of strength training into your routine. Whether you’re using traditional weights, kettlebells, or bodyweight calisthenics, improving your strength will help you develop durability and greater control over your own body.

 

Improve your technique

In every sport, many injuries happen when a technique is not performed correctly. If you’re new to martial arts, focus on your fundamentals! While advanced moves can be fun to try, it can be dangerous to attempt a technique that you might not yet have the physical skill to perform. And if you’re not confident in your form quite yet, practice a technique slowly and smoothly before throwing it with 100% speed and power.

 

Cross-train

Sometimes, a new perspective can be refreshing! Change up your martial arts practice by cross-training in another hobby or sport entirely, such as rock climbing, swimming, or dance. Cross-training can help you build complementary skills, as well as reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

 

Stay hydrated

Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after any physical activity, especially strenuous workouts. Athletic performance is impaired at just a 2% loss of total water in your body. This can lead to injuries caused by fatigue, muscle cramps, and lack of focus. Being chronically dehydrated can also cause injuries to tendons and ligaments.

 

Warm up and cool down

Remember, the warm-up and cool-down is part of the workout! Before a training session, make sure you have time to stretch, shake out, get your body warm, and get your heart rate slightly elevated. The warm-up helps prepare your body to move faster and with more intensity, which will help you avoid injuries caused by starting your session “cold”. After your workout, take a few minutes for easy movement and stretching to allow your heart rate to lower naturally.

 

Rest

Although your training sessions are most important in developing your skills, remember that it is equally important to take a rest when necessary. Rest days help you recover both physically and mentally, decreasing your risk of overuse injuries or injuries caused by fatigue.

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