No matter what kind of Martial Arts you are practicing, odds are it requires you to be strong and flexible. Both students and instructors tend to focus most of their time and energy on training and techniques and do not focus on making sure bodies are optimized for training or to master these techniques.
You may be asking yourself: what does making sure bodies are optimized for training even mean? And how do I do that?
The answer is to include time for warm-ups and cool-downs when you go to your Martial Arts studio.
Most all forms of Martial Arts require strength and flexibility. It is easy to get injured while in a unique position if your body is not flexible and prepared.
If your instructor does not include time for warm-ups and cool-downs, try asking them to reserve 5 minutes at the beginning of class and 5 minutes at the end of class for some preparatory exercises before you start training. If your instructor is resistant to adding these into class, make sure to advocate for your body! Arrive to class a few minutes before class and stay a few minutes afterwards to warm-up and cool-down on your own! Your body will thank you.
It is crucial you include warm-up and cool-down exercises in order to prevent injuries. We all know how disappointing it is to see one of your students get injured, and even more disappointing when you feel you are to blame.
Here are some example exercises you can include in your pre- and post-class movements. If your students are resistant to changes in the format of your classes, be sure to explain the benefits to both warm-ups and cool-downs and how imperative they are to protecting their bodies.
If you don’t have time to include warm-ups and cool-downs in your 1 hour long Martial Arts class, then consider adding supplementary CrossFit, yoga, or functional fitness classes to your workout routine. Your goal in fitness should be longevity and to accomplish that goal, you must strengthen and lengthen your muscles for protection.