Technology changes the way we live, work, and play – and now, it is transforming the way we train martial arts.
From advanced and small wearable devices to simple yet bulky equipment, athletes now have everything from scientific insight to an extra set of arms to help them perfect their game.
Here are three pieces of technology that are changing the way martial artists prepare for competition.
#1 Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor is a device that you wear on your chest and wrist. The chest strap is equipped with tiny digital sensors that check your heart rate while you train, which you can monitor from the wrist piece.
Understanding your heart rate helps you get the most out of your martial arts training.
For instance, your heart rate elevates and reaches certain intensities during sparring or heavy bag work. If you target certain heart rate zones for extended periods, you force improvements in your stamina and physical conditioning.
Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen’s high-pressure wrestling style is evidence of his incredible physical endurance from training.
“If I need to work on my aerobic zone system, I know where to keep my heart rate throughout my workout,” the Evolve representative says.
“A heart rate monitor gives you more of a surefire scientific approach in making sure you are not overtraining or that you are training right and getting things done.”
Finnish flyweight Aleksi “The Giant” Toivonen similarly relies on the use of a heart rate monitor to optimize his training sessions.
“I think it’s very beneficial for every athlete and should be almost mandatory for all sportspersons,” he says.
“It is very hard to know whether you are pushing your limits, whether it’s in an aerobic capacity, or even how fast you are recovering between rounds. With a heart rate monitor, you will know if you are getting the effect that you want out of your training physically.”
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#2 Interactive Trainer
The interactive trainer has several strike pads with accelerometers that provide real-time feedback on your power, accuracy, strike counts, timing, and more.
You can track your progress using these advanced metrics and find areas where you need to improve. Furthermore, the trainer allows you to customize profiles for different workouts, depending on the areas you want to work on.
Worthen believes the interactive trainer is a gamechanger that gives unparalleled training options, especially for strikers.
“I think they are awesome because they give athletes the ability to sharpen their accuracy and strike in different angles or combos that you can’t traditionally do on a heavy bag,” he says.
”Also, you don’t need a coach to hold pads for you, and this gives you the ability to work those skill sets and use realistic combinations.”
#3 Grappling Dummy
If you are a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner or train in mixed martial arts, a grappling dummy is the next best alternative if you cannot find a partner to drill or spar with.
This simple yet practical technology resembles a human torso with arms and legs, and it weighs about the same as a heavy bag. It is not just for grappling and wrestling, however. You can also hang the dummy to create a stationary target for kicks and strikes.
Worthen – an NCWA Wrestling Champion – has seen the evolution of grappling dummies in training since his days at the University Of Central Florida.
“They have been around for a while, but they are much more advanced now,” he says.
“The grappling dummies now have a manipulating arm, feet, and even a proper head, so you can actually train specific spots of where you want to attack and strike or set up grappling moves without ever needing a partner.”
For Toivonen, a grappling dummy allows him to go all out during his mixed martial arts training without having to worry about injuring anyone.
“When training ground and pound, you can’t really strike your teammate with full force,” he says. “So, a dummy is a great substitute for a heavy bag when you do those drills.”
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