Yoga for MMA

MMA is the best sport on the planet. Nothing quite compares to the excitement and the beauty of watching or being part of a technical fight (emphasis on technical, not a fan of slug-fests personally).

Grappling does ruin your body though, all those isometric contractions, pushing & pulling on your neck, heavy take downs – landing in awkward positions. They take their toll.

I’m also a big yoga fan. My body was a complete wreck (and my mind) whilst just doing heavy weights + MMA. I used to do Ashtanga yoga, which is almost like a hybrid between yoga & a bit of a circuit; also went to yoga rocks for a retreat on our honeymoon and done quite a bit of Kundalini Yoga – which is proper mental.

I stretch every day before work and during my lunch hour – I’m lucky in that we have a gym and I can wear shorts to work!

Be careful with Yoga – You can get injured easily if you push too far to begin with!


Yoga + Stretching Routine for MMA (Daily)

  • World’s Greatest Stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 5 times each side.
worlds greatest
worlds greatest stretch
World’s Greatest Stretch. Right Foot in front, Left Knee on the floor. Left Hand Down, Right hand reaches back

Very similar to Anjaneyasana in yoga. This is a great all-round stretch. Stretching the hips flexors, stretch, back and neck. This is the ‘base’ of my stretching routine.

After each stretch, I hold the down-dog position for 5 seconds, before moving to the other side to do the World’s Greatest stretch again.

The World’s greatest stretch, is my ‘bread & butter’ stretch. I make sure I do it everyday, as I feel like it helps to build an overall foundation of mobility.



  • Hip Stretch (Ardha Kapotasana) – hold for 1 minute each side
dad yoga

This stretch is great for guard and for those who like to get a body-triangle from back-mount. You also need flexible hips for high-kicks. This, in addition to dynamic stretching, will help.



  • Shoulder Bridge – hold for 20 seconds. Repeat three times.

Be careful with this pose, you can hurt your back if you’re not careful. I don’t do it first thing in the morning for that reason. I also rarely fully extend my arms, as it starts to pinch my back if I do.

It’s great for stretching the hip-flexors and chest, it also helps to build isometric strength in the deltoids/shoulders. If you sit down all day at work, this also helps counter the hunched-over-posture that will inevitably start to develop.



  • Dying Warrior Pose – Hold for 1 minute, each side.

Another great all-around stretch, I feel it particularly on the hips and shoulders.



  • Half Moon Pose

Great for balance, I feel like this transfers relatively well to the balance required to do a high kick.



  • Warrior III Pose

This pose transfers quite well to Uchi-Mata throw from a wizzer.



Pose/StretchNumber of Times Hold Time
World’s Greatest5 Times each side30 secs
Hip Stretch1 each side1 min
Shoulder BridgeHold Twiceup to 1 min
Dying Warrior1 each side1 min
Half Moontwice each side20 secs
Warrior 3twice each side20 secs


Yoga When Watching TV

A great way to do some gentle yoga, that will help with aches, pains & recovery, is to site down whilst watching TV in the evenings.

Here are the stretches/yoga poses that I tend to do each evening:

  • Paleo Squat
    Just squat in mid air, and try and hold for 5 minutes.
  • Sufi Grinds
    Basically a rotation/circling of the hips
    In this position I also arch by back and look up and then round my back & look down – almost like the happy-cat & angry cat posts but from a seated position
  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose – description here
  • Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – description here



Massage for MMA

Massage or some kind of self massage is also worth investing in if you are training a lot of MMA and/or grappling.

I use a foam roller, a massage gun as well as a massage stick. They’re good for different issues!

Foam Roller

Great for calves and upper back. Avoid your spine.

Massage Gun

Fantastic for those niggles, deep inside the hip area.

Learn more about the TimTam massage gun here

Joe Rogan massage

Massage Stick

I use this on my shins, the muscles to the side of the shin bone (Tibialis anterior I think). I also use it on my hip flexors and neck.

Infrared Lamp

Great for muscle relaxation. I usually point it at my neck in the evenings for 15 mins. Probably a bit of a fire hazard.

Supplements for Aching & Stiff Muscles

For those of you who have constant niggling muscle aches & pains, these supplements have also helped me…

Kava Kava

Loved by the pacific islanders, this drink is also popular in Hawaii and California. Unfortunately, it’s now illegal in the UK (sometimes find it on ebay still).

It’s almost definitely the best natural muscle relaxant available.

Kratom

A very controversial supplement/plant. Red & green strains are great for muscle relaxation. Banned in 2016 in the UK

Baking Soda

Good for muscle soreness. I take 5-10g before training and on days that I’m aching a lot post training. Start with 2/3g sipped over 5 minutes. Too much can make you sick or give you an upset stomach.

Magnesium

Magnesium glycinate is amazing for stress and tight muscles.



Please see my Enhanced-Recovery for MMA article here! (it’s v good)

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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