Martial Art Train Without Pain
By Deb Russell III dan Black Belt Tae Kwon do and Certified Personal Trainer
Every martial artist, regardless of their style, is prone to injury. Most common martial art injuries can be avoided with correct training and are usually due to insufficient warm-up, improper stretching, and poor technique.
This article is intended to offer immediate guidance in order to prevent and alleviate pain and discomfort due to common injuries and is in no way a substitute for an examination by a qualified health professional. Often simple injuries if not immediately diagnosed can turn into serious injuries and visa versa. So remember that a delay in diagnosis can prolong healing and may lead to permanent damage.
As a martial artist you should extend your knowledge beyond your art and into the area of physical fitness training and body mechanics. Many traditional warm-up exercises and stretch routines are archaic, physically damaging and very counter productive to martial arts training. Lack of flexibility due to inefficient warm up and stretching is the main cause of poor physical performance as well as a reason for many strains and tear injuries. You should also aim to incorporate flexibility, strength and endurance conditioning into your martial art training.
Begin with a simple exercise that will gradually get the heart pumping and increase blood flow to your muscles. You need to raise the body's temperature by about 2º F, loosening and warming muscles and joints. You can tell when you are sufficiently warmed up when you begin to break a slight sweat.
- Muscles are able to stretch more easily and to contract more rapidly when warm. The faster muscle contracts, the stronger it becomes.
- The higher the temperature of muscle cells, the faster they are able to metabolize the oxygen and fuel they need.
- As muscles warm, the response to nerve impulses quickens, causing a faster contraction, which leads to quicker reflexes.
- Warming joints lubricates them, allowing them to move more freely with less energy expended. This protects the joints from excessive wear and tear.
- Warming up gradually increases the heart rate and prevents abnormal heart rhythms. Any sudden strenuous exercise can cause the heart to demand more oxygen than the circulatory system can provide, resulting in a strain on the heart.
This Martial Arts injury prevention article continued in the following sections:
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