Important tips for staying injury-free
Injuries are a massive part of sports as there is always the possibility of an injury no matter what sport you’re taking part in, and one of the questions we are asked the most is how to stay injury-free? While you can never 100% rule out the possibility of injuries, and sometimes freak injuries can just happen, there are some things you can do to help prevent an injury.
Of course, some methods are commonly talked about like doing a good warm-up and being in a safe environment when you’re working out, but here are a few more tips for staying injury-free while training in combat sports.
1. Be careful with weight differences
When training with someone who is quite a bit bigger than you, there is always a bigger risk of you getting injured if something goes wrong. Even the best in the world sometimes have accidents, a takedown could go wrong and you could twist your knee a little, you could collide with your opponents’ head, or you could walk straight into a punch. If you have trained for even a small amount of time you will know that these things can be a common occurrence in combat sports.
With someone your own size, something going wrong can hurt, but it is less likely to cause an injury than if your training with someone who is double your size. This doesn’t mean you should never train with someone out of your weight class, but it is important to recognise the risk that comes with it. When doing intense training, try to work out with someone of a similar size.
2. Train at a similar intensity to your partner
Heavy competition sparring and light, fun training both have their own time and place, and it is important to know which you should be doing. Although training increasingly hard may increase the chance of injury, it is not something that can be avoided if you are trying to develop your skills and make it at the top level.
A lot of injuries can happen if you and your partner are not on the same wavelength when it comes to the kind of training you are doing. For example, one of you could be having a light training session where nothing is too serious, and the other could be acting as if it is the UFC world heavyweight title fight. It is important to ensure you and your partner both know the kind of session you’re looking for before you start training.
3. Communicating with your team is key
When training, it is vital to communicate with your coach or partner when trying to avoid injuries. Your coach can’t read your mind, and unless you tell them that your feeling dizzy after someone landed a head kick on you, they will not know and will expect you to be training at full strength, meaning that they could do something that will put you in danger.
Sometimes, fighters don’t like to tell their partner or trainer out of fear that it will make them look bad, and clichés like ‘go big or go home’ and ‘no pain no gain’ do not help this because it trivialises the problem, so the fighter then carries on doing what he’s doing and ends up with a long term injury because of it. Without good communication, the coach cannot help you.
4. Don’t compromise on your equipment
With combat sports, there isn’t much equipment that you need. For example, a gumshield, groin guard, gloves, and possibly a head guard is all you need, but don’t compromise when it comes to these pieces of equipment. Good quality equipment lasts a lot longer and is also designed to protect you from injury, the last thing you need is a groin shield that breaks upon impact or a gumshield that you don’t wear because it’s uncomfortable. A lot of injuries can happen due to poorly fitted gloves or head guards that slip. As an instructor or coach, you also need to consider the equipment that you’re providing and make sure they are safe to use.
5. Deal with old injures intelligently
One of the biggest risk factors for injury of a joint, tendon, muscle, or ligament is having a previous injury in that area. Waiting till an injury feels better and just getting back on the map is a recipe for future disaster, so you should speak to a qualified sports injury specialist who can give you a rehab plan to strengthen the area.
6. Have a good strength and conditioning program
Having a good strength and conditioning program is possibly the most effective way to build resilience and reduce injury risks. When combat sports athletes are asked about lifting weights, they often say that they would rather spend their time more sport-specific training, and this is a common false economy. In reality, fighters who spend more time doing health training spend a lot less time out with injury.
There is still a huge misconception that MMA and other combat sports are all about technique so building muscle will not be beneficial, this just is not true. In reality, the right kind of strength training can help you increase your mobility, stamina, power, and also make you more robust.
Are you looking for a combat sports club to train in your local area? Check out Sports Involves online club directory, the UK’s largest directory of combats sports clubs.