MMA Training Tips: Dealing with Injury

Rich HCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2008

Greetings MMA Supporters:

There is no eloquent way to put it. Getting injured during training sucks! There's nothing worse than knowing you may be out days, weeks, months, or for good because of some often avoidable accident. Even a minor setback too close to a match can cost, big time.

Case in point is Matt Serra's back injury forcing an interim title match between GSP and Matt Hughes. GSP won that match and went on to win the UFC welterweight title from Serra.

The inspiration for this article comes from a back injury I suffered recently during wrestling practice. I was tying up, jockeying for position. My opponent jerked my shoulders one way while my legs were going the opposite way. I felt an intense jab of pain in my lower back, just above my hips. I disengaged immediately and dropped to the mat.

The sensation was like nothing I've felt before. I've never been beaten down, but I've taken a lot of lumps in my day. I've fallen down stairs, had my nose broken in a mosh pit, engaged in fisticuffs, and been attacked with blunt objects, yet none of those things was as painful as this.

I informed Aaron, my instructor's assistant, and my partner of the injury, and moved to the side of the mat to massage my back. Aaron advised me to lay on my back and alternate bending my knees to my chest to gently stretch the ligament. After a few minutes I was able to sit up and continued rubbing my aching torso.

As class was nearly over, I told Yuri, my head instructor, of the situation and asked his advice. He had me lie on the mat on my gut, and began kneading the sore area. He then told me to flip over and began bending my knees to my chest.

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I was instructed to breathe in and hold my breath while he put his weight on my knees, forcing my spine to realign itself. He performed some variations of the movement, pushing my chest one way and my bent knee the other.

I've never had chiropractic work, but I assume it's similar to the procedure that was performed on me. Upon completion, Yuri advised me to take a lukewarm shower and ice the afflicted area.

I was such a mess, I could hardly change back into my street clothes. Even lifting my gym bag was difficult. It felt like there was a cinder block inside.

I managed to drive home and set to icing my back. Removing an icepack from the freezer, I wrapped it in a towel and secured it to my back with my weightlifting belt. I gobbled down the first two of many Advil tablets, and went to lie down in bed.

Lying on my side, I tried to reflect on what I had done wrong, and what I could do in the future to avoid such problems. One of the many causes of sports injuries is improper warm up prior to training. In my case, I knew that I was sufficiently prepared, so I scratched that idea.

We had drilled technique before sparring, but there was nothing out of the ordinary there. I realized that the only fault I could find was in my own strength and conditioning. I reasoned that I simply wasn't prepared to face a taller, stronger opponent at my present level of conditioning, and resolved to build a stronger core.

Over the next few weeks, I'll report back on my training and conditioning, as well as share any experiences and tips for those of you interested in beginning or improving your MMA training.



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