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MMA Basics: How to optimize your performance in the Octagon with these simple exercises

mikeee profile image mike jones ・4 min read

Boxing is considered one of the most difficult sports because of the high chances of getting injured and hurt. To survive and excel in this sport you need to have an excellent form and extremely skilled techniques. If you’re looking for ways of optimizing your performance in the ring then these five suggestions below will help you to up your game!

1. Shadow Boxing

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Shadowboxing is one of the best exercises that can be recommended to boxers because it allows you to practice delivering punches, get comfortable and determine the perfect stance for you, practice the different combination of punching techniques together and also create a safe space to punch from. Shadowboxing with gloves is also considered a first step to teaching boxing to children.

One of the biggest tricks of shadow boxing is if you shadow box while holding weights, this transforms into an excellent muscle-building exercise as well. However, the moment that you let go of the weights and continue shadowboxing again, you will feel a vivid difference in the way that you punch again. Your punches will be more forceful and harder than how you were punching before you lifted the weights.

Shadowboxing with weights will also allow you to control the speed of your punches as well because you will learn to punch at a slow rate, which is considered ideal. If you continue to punch very fast and with full force then you will get tired and exhausted very quickly as well.

So wear your boxing gloves, pick up some weights and start shadow boxing to improve your game.

2. Practice with Partners

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Practicing with a punching bag and with mitts is no doubt also advised a lot, however practicing and sparring with different partners is an excellent learning opportunity that will not only teach you about how other players play but also teaches you a lot about your capabilities. Every player has a different way of approaching a game, when you practice sparring with other players you learn about different techniques and how you can adapt your style according to theirs. The more partners you change the more adaptable and skilled you become. You stop being intimidated by bigger-sized boxers and also learn not to underestimate players you thought were not good enough. Every player will leave a mark on you and it will help you improve your form, your skills, and your techniques.

3. Improve Reflexes

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Many novice players think that size and muscle mass matter the most when it comes to boxing, that is true and cannot be denied. The entire truth however is that there is a lot more that goes into becoming a good boxer and that is also how skilled you are. To be able to focus on the game, determine your opponent's next move, be able to block punches, and also looking for an opportunity to deliver punches, that again need to be extremely strategized and carried out with full force is an art to learn. It goes without saying that as a boxer in the ring you need to be multitasking at all times so that you don’t get hurt and so you can overpower your opponent.

Having excellent reflexes is a skill that you need to acquire. As a new boxer, the chances that you will get overwhelmed with the sport and will get defeated very early on is considered only normal. Because your mind is still adapting to this pressurized situation and you’re still learning how to polish your skills while reading the steps of your opponent.

As you continue to practice, train and workout, your body will become stronger, more flexible and your reflexes will sharpen so that you don’t necessarily have to think actively about what your opponent’s next move might be, your mind will automatically begin to acknowledge it and pull you away when necessary. When this starts to happen then believe that you have become a skilled boxer.

4. Improve Flexibility

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To be able to move around freely and deliver punches with full but controlled force your muscles need to be loosened and flexible. It is ideal to do stretching exercises before and after training so that your muscles can start becoming more elastic and flexible. When you stretch your muscles then basically you’re loosening up muscle mass, and energy is stored in this mass. With loosened-up muscle mass, you will be able to use more freed-up force and energy that will improve your punches vastly.

Having a flexible and supple body helps not only with a skilled boxer you can become but it also aids in protecting you against injuries. The more flexible and elastic your muscles are the more improved blood circulation you have. Efficient blood circulation will help make your muscles stronger so they act like armor that will protect you against muscle damage by absorbing any impact that they feel.

Healthy and strong muscles begin acting like a sponge that when met with any force will not break they will bounce back protecting small blood vessels and soft tissues.
Do exercises such as yoga and aerobics that promote stretching because as a boxer, not will this attribute help you become a better player but also help you become stronger.

5. Relax and enjoy the game

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Boxers that are tensed and stressed out will always have stiff muscles, this will reflect on their game and compromise it. Take the sport of boxing for what it is, a game. This is not to belittle the sport but to help you understand that it should be enjoyed throughout rather than being taken on as a stressful sport. The more you are relaxed and calm, the more you will be able to focus on the game with a clear mind.
A clear mind will help you analyze the game thoroughly and also help you determine your approach to the game, making you perform better.

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