What do professional boxers, MMA fighters, wrestlers, Muay Thai fighters and BJJ competitors have in common? Come weigh-ins, you’ll see the fruits of all their hard work, both in training and from cutting weight. There’s no doubt that they’d all have rock hard six pack abs, one of the best benefits of working on your core. If you’re looking for a way to get into World Champion six pack abs shape, you’re in luck. Here are 6 Ways Martial Arts Can Help You Carve A Rock Hard Six Pack:
What is the core ?
The center of your whole body is your core. A common misconception is that your core is just your abdominal muscles – it isn’t! Your core consists of many different muscles that run the entire length of the torso, including everything but your arms and legs. It is in charge of stabilizing the spine and pelvis, providing a strong, sturdy link in a chain that connects your upper and lower body.
When these muscles are weak, it could greatly affect your posture and movement, which means everything for martial artists. Martial artists use the core muscles to transfer energy from large to smaller muscle groups, which they use in every training session.
A proper diet is essential to reaching peak performance in martial arts. Fortunately, an inevitable side effect of eating properly is better defined abs. And bear in mind that it’s not about lessening the amount of food you eat. Better choice of food will, among many other benefits, reduce your body’s fat ratio and expose those already strengthened core muscles.
2) Core exercises
Muay Thai fighters and boxers use both sit-ups and planks to build their core strength. Throughout their careers, they do thousands of sit-ups and planks, using them to strengthen their core to be able to take repetitious punches to the body. As you perform a sit up, your stomach muscles contract quickly, which is exactly what you need to absorb a shot.
3) Warm-ups and cool-downs
Muay Thai fighters are always using their core. They need this group of muscles to be strong because it helps them throw those devastating kicks, punches, elbows, and knees. The power in all these strikes come from the core, helping them build the explosiveness they need to knock their opponent out. Every Muay Thai class starts with a warm-up and ends with cool-downs that are core-focused. From 3 rounds of skipping rope to begin the class with and ending with planks and sit-ups, there’s no doubt that these exercises inadvertently give Muay Thai fighters those chiseled abdominals.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, repetitions are essential. It is how BJJ students are able to remember techniques and utilize them in sparring. Often times, the instructor will make his students do at least 10 repetitions of the same technique on both the right and left side. The more repetitions you do, the more core muscles you work as you pull and push your drilling partner.
To develop the endurance they need to last 12 rounds in the ring, boxers run at least 5 kilometers before or after training. Not only does it build cardiovascular endurance, it also helps them stay lean, making those six pack abs more visible. Roadwork also strengthens the calf muscles, which helps boxers with footwork, since they need to stay on their toes most, if not all of the time.
6) Heavy bag work
Heavy bag work is a full body exercise that helps a boxer or Muay Thai fighter develop punching power and stamina. When done correctly, it is probably one of the most complete exercises a martial artist could do. To use the heavy bag correctly, one must tense his entire body up upon contact with the bag. This activates the core muscles as well as the arm and leg muscles.
7) Staying on your feet
In wrestling and MMA, stuffing a takedown is one of the essentials. Unlike boxing and Muay Thai, your opponent is using his entire body weight against you, with an added combination of speed and strength. Stuffing a takedown requires the use of one’s core as well as your quadriceps as you try and stay on your feet and keep your balance. It is your core that helps you prevent a takedown from happening as you fight to stay on your feet and push all your weight against your opponent.
Sparring is considered the best way to test one’s knowledge of techniques in any martial art. Both you and your opponent use a combination of physical and mental strength as you attempt to achieve victory over the other. The intensity of sparring undoubtedly works your core to the maximum without you even realizing it because you’re so focused on beating your opponent.
There’s no doubt that the core is one of the most utilized muscle groups in martial arts. Thus, it is easy to see why the greatest World Champions have such chiseled physiques, thanks to the martial arts training that they have done over the years. Perhaps we can take a page from their books and use them as inspiration to develop our own shredded physique.