Martial Arts Tournament Warm up and Training with Kbands
Before a martial arts tournament or intense martial arts training session, a period of stretching, warm up and conditioning can help athletes increase their range of motion and avoid injury. This is true of almost any sport that involves full body motion and cardio training, but in martial arts specifically, an effective warm up can mean the difference between fast kicks and slightly slower reaction times that can come at a high cost. A fraction of a second or a millimeter of height can mean the difference between landing and missing a kick or winning and losing a bout.
In the attached video, an experienced Taekwondo trainer briefly explains how the Kbands resistance training equipment can aid the warm up and preparation process before a martial arts tournament. Before both tournaments and regular practice sessions, a complete program of martial arts training can (and usually should) begin with a warm up, stretching, and conditioning process that follows a version of the outline below.
Martial Arts Training: Cardio Warm Up
In earlier years, before extensive studies were conducted on the physiology of muscle growth and development, intense athletic training programs often began with static stretching, followed by a warm up period of cardio-focused full body motion. But at this point, research suggests that the reverse is actually more effective in terms of performance and training. Serious martial arts trainers, dance instructors, and athletic coaches now usually begin training sessions by having their athletes engage in gentle but steady muscular motion that increases blood flow to the limbs and major muscle groups.
This activity can involve light jogging, walking, jumping, controlled kicks, or other full body motion that pushes the heart to about 20 to 30 percent of its maximum rate. Depending on the physical condition of the athletes in question, this activity can be sustained for a period of 5 to 20 minutes. Distance runners, for example, often complete a slow one mile jog before they begin the stretching process and then turn their full attention to the demands of the training session. In martial arts training, this initial warm of session can involve a light run, a fast walk, or the repetition of low forms or low intensity kick sequences.
Once blood flow is active in targeted muscle groups and the heart rate has been mildly elevated, the stretching process can begin as described below.
Martial Arts Training: Dynamic Stretching
Again, in an earlier era of athletic training, the physiological principles behind the stretching process were not well understood. In those days, athletic, dance, and martial arts training sessions often started with a period of static stretching enacted on cold muscles. Athletes would do hamstring stretches or toe touches from a standing position, for example. This did serve to align muscle fibers and stimulate blood flow, but not as well as the modern process, which involves the dynamic stretching of warmed muscles. In fact, cold stretches often seem to result in decreased strength and energy output, which can lead to reduced performance.
After a period of moderate full body activity with a mild cardio element, athletes and martial artists can begin to stretch the major muscles groups. But instead of completing this process from a standing or static position, they should keep the body in motion during the process. For example, instead of standing hamstring stretches, athletes should move across the room while executing a series of high, straight leg kicks that work and extend the hamstring muscles at the same time. Spiderman crawls are also effective, in which the athlete moves the body across the floor while staying as close to the ground as possible.
The arms can also be engaged in this process; athletes can try any series of motions that involve swinging and stretching the arms at the same time. Trainers and coaches should choose a series of dynamic stretches targeting the muscles that will be most engaged by the intense training session ahead.
Martial Arts Tournament Warm up With the Kbands Resistance Training Equipment
Finally, before a challenging training session or martial arts tournament, athletes can finish the warm up process by attaching the Kbands to the upper legs and completing a practice bout or a series of intense kick sequences.
When the straps of the Kbands are attached to the upper legs and the resistance bands are clipped to the metal rings, the muscles of the legs and core are forced to work against a high level of artificial tension. As the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and upper leg muscles work harder to perform normal kicks and establish high, open chambers, the heart rate rises and blood flow to the muscles begins to increase.
The mind also begins to readjust and recalibrate the energy required to stay in balance and land kicks effectively. If the bands stay in place for a sustained practice or warm up session just before a martial arts tournament, this recalibration can have a positive effect on tournament performance after the bands are removed.
For a period of about two to five minutes after the Kbands are detached, the athlete will experience a neurological sensation of extreme lightness and speed. So first, the bands place extra strain on the muscles during practice sessions which can build strength and speed over time. But as an additional advantage, the removal of the Kbands can generate this neurological effect which can improve speed and performance during tournaments.
As the Taekwondo trainer explains in the video, this is similar to the effect baseball players experience after swinging a bat with weighted donuts. The body exerts more energy in order to work against this extra resistance, then the when the resistance is removed, the swing—or kicks—feel lighter, faster, and better controlled. This neurological effect doesn’t usually last very long, but while it’s in place, athletes can often feel a distinct difference in their performance. For more information about how the Kbands can impact both training sessions and martial arts tournament warm up, visit KbandsTraining.com.
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