Professional fighters are among some of the fittest athletes in the world. (There's a reason why they call it "getting in fighting shape," after all.) They require endless stamina, explosive power, fast reaction times not to mention a big set of kahunas, if ya know what I mean. But, you don't have to plan on getting in the ring to incorporate a little MMA training into your regimen. Add these incredibly effective exercises into your regular routine and reap all the benefits of getting fight fit, without having to trade punches with Rhonda Rousey.
Remember how many hours you logged perfecting your double-Dutch skills during recess in grade school? Little did we know as schoolgirls that we were engaging in one of the best workouts there is. If only we still opted for intense cardio sessions during our lunch hours, just for fun.
Tossing the rope around for just 10 minutes is the equivalent of going for a 30-minute jog. And it's not just a cardio crusher; skipping is an incredible tool for sculpting the calves and shoulders. Best of all, ropes are both portable and affordable. Try adding a few three-minute sets (tossing in a few jolts of high intensity, going max speed for 20-seconds) at various times into your workout and take your strength training routine to new, calorie burning heights.
Shadow boxing is an exercise fighters use to help get the body and mind in the zone by visualizing themselves in a fight and throwing punches at an imaginary opponent. But don't get it twisted, this pretend match is no pretend workout. A few minutes of continuous air punches mixed with footwork is exhausting, to say the least. While I don't expect you to fly like a butterfly out there just yet, there are some super-effective components of shadow boxing that anyone can incorporate into their regular regimen.
In MMA, punches aren't just thrown from the feet, there are times when they're thrown while sitting down, or more specifically straddling an opponent. It's called ground and pound. While I know it sounds gruesome, ruthless and violent, (and it generally is all those things) it's also a wicked workout. Don't worry if you don't have a sparring partner handy, a rolled up yoga mat, an oversized pillow or even a bosu will do.
Skipping rope isn't the only childhood activity that is used to get ring ready; boxers also use footwork drills similar to hopscotch to get their legs in fighting shape. If you have some chalk and a few squares of sidewalk to spare then go nuts; if not, most sports stores sell footwork ladders.
This is another incredible piece of portable cardio equipment; set it up in your living room, take it to the park, or throw it down in the sand on vacation.
For another sweat-inducing variation:
Can't forget about the legs; they're some of the best weapons and most effective calorie burners on the body. Yes, kicking works many different muscles from head to toe simultaneously, which means giving a big boost to the old metabolism machine. Not only that, but kicking requires a lot of stability work, forcing the core to go into overdrive. One of the best moves is a squat with alternating front kicks.
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