Piotr Lewkowski has been an intern at POW for about 6 weeks now. He has been sharing his experience as a newcomer to MMA training -primarily learning ground fighting skills and stand up. Piotr is also focused on gaining experience in the practical application of exercise for a sport like mixed martial arts. He comes to POW with a strong academic foundation. He has gone through a long process to even qualify to be placed by the University of Illinois Kinesiology Department’s Internship Program. Part of this process is the conditioning that goes along with learning to punch, kick and grapple. Not everyone chooses to spar that takes on MMA as a hobby. But everyone must learn how to punch and kick and train his or her body hard.
Piotr’s Diary of the Last Week: MMA, just what the doctor prescribed. Well, sort of. Avoid exercises and activities that cause pain to my elbow. So that means no bench pressing, skull-crushers, and sadly, jiu-jitsu. I have not experienced pain in any other class so this gives me an opportunity to explore classes that were unavailable because they were during the same time as jiu-jitsu, such as boxing.
This past week I took a wide variety of classes back-to-back. It’s not like jiu-jitsu where I’m gassed after 45 minutes, preventing me from taking any other class. Although the other classes are intense, it’s nothing compared to sparring in BJJ. I have to admit that I have yet to spar in boxing or kickboxing. But honestly, I’d rather run into a wall headfirst than box with a partner, even with a football helmet and gloves made out of fluffy pillows. Just mitt-work for me, thanks.
Speaking of mitt-work, my first Muay Thai class was surprisingly difficult (compared to other first classes such as boxing and jiu-jitsu). The kicks are what threw me off. Having tight hips and hamstrings really limited my range of motion, preventing me from kicking higher than the height of an average toddler’s knees. It was pathetic.
Here is my tight hips and hamstrings remedy that I learned in college track: leg swings as part of a dynamic warm-up. See photos.