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Posted January 28, 2012 by Tony Hackerott in MMA News
 
 

Women and MMA Training

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mia-hayes-01

While MMA and martial arts in general are often seen as the preserve of men, there is no reason at all why women cannot get involved in the sport at all levels, from beginner to competitive athlete. Training for women is largely the same as training for men, but there are a few things for women to think about and some things that women could perhaps do differently. Women’s bodies naturally build muscle differently to men’s, and they have different fat/muscle percentages. Because of the different shapes of their bodies, women and men may be vulnerable to different injuries.

There are also some particular benefits that women can gain from MMA training. Anything that increases women’s strength and helps them know how to deal with an attack will increase their self-confidence (even if they never need to put their skills into practice). It can also lead to general improvements in mental and physical health. These benefits also apply to men, of course, but for women who are perhaps juggling career and children, it can be hard to find the time to focus on personal well-being. MMA training can help with that.

If you’re a woman wanting to get started in MMA training, or you’re already training but want to know how to improve the way you train, read on. These tips should help you make the most out of MMA training. Don’t be afraid to recognize difference

It’s common for female sportspeople to think that they should be competing with the boys on their terms. Actually, you should be competing with them on your terms. If you want to get started in MMA and feel intimidated by a male trainer, or feel that you should be able to punch as hard or kick as fast as the men, re-think. Find a trainer and club who you feel comfortable with and who will work with you and your body to help you find the best way to train. If you’re already training, but concerned that you’re not as strong or fast as the men are, relax. The beauty of martial arts is that you only compete with those who are on a similar level to you: that’s why we have weight classes. A light man shouldn’t be comparing himself to a heavy one any more than you should be.

Strength and Muscle For MMA

Many women worry that if they train too intensely they will end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. That’s not going to happen. Women’s bodies just aren’t designed to put bulky muscle in the way that men’s are. What they can do is make themselves stronger, without becoming huge. A well-trained woman’s body will simply look toned and lean, and will be full of strength.

Injuries In MMA

Women are unfortunately more prone to injury when it comes to martial arts during the course of training than men. That doesn’t mean you can’t train safely as a woman, just that you should be aware of certain issues and work to protect your body. Differences in the way women’s bodies are structured means that they are more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal injuries, particularly knee and shoulder injuries. Take care not to overuse particular muscles when training, especially if you have a pre-existing injury or weakness. Also make sure that your general level of fitness and conditioning is kept up: if you take a break from training you need to work back in slowly, not suddenly. Obviously, these are sensible things for men to do too, but they are especially important for women.

Benefits To MMA

Physical and psychological benefits can be had from MMA training. Any kind of exercise which creates physical impact can help build bone density, which can help prevent osteoporosis from developing later in life. In general terms, combined with a good diet, MMA training can help keep women from developing excess fat. It also helps women create a sense of calm and focus for themselves. Women are more likely to work in low-status jobs than men, and to take on the lion’s share of household tasks and childcare. Perhaps as a result, they are more likely to suffer from depression. Training in MMA can be a great way for women to create some much-needed mental space for themselves, and build confidence in all areas of their lives.

MMA training is for everyone, male or female. Every individual benefits in different ways. Don’t get hung up on gender differences in training, but learn how to make your training work for you.

Julia Samson is a freelance writer with a different. Working for a leather sectional company (and sitting on one for most of the day) she appreciates the need to get up, get moving and keep in shape – protecting herself from lethargy, as well as assailants.

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Tony Hackerott