Speed matters. The faster you move the more muscle fibers you activate, and the more muscle fibers you activate the more calories you burn during your workout. What’s more, if you up the intensity enough you won’t just get calorie-burning benefits while you work out, by reaching your maximum training zone you’ll continue to burn calories afterwards as well.
With any martial arts training increasing the intensity comes down to increasing the speed of your punches and kicks.
To effectively add speed and intensify your BODYCOMBAT™ workout you first need to become well aware of the effect of tension on ‘speed’. The more muscle tension you use during any movement the slower you will actually move.
When people are trying to improve their speed, a common mistake is to increase tension. Performing a move with maximum tension takes a lot of effort, and if you take a breath, squeeze your fists and tense your muscles your contraction speed will be slower. Instead, to perform a move with immense speed, you should stay calm, remaining relaxed until a fraction of a second before performing the strike and then imagine yourself getting in and out as fast as your body will allow.
Speed plus relaxation equals results
The secret to speed is relaxation, as relaxation enables the body to stay agile to move fast. Studies show that there is a relaxation phase that comes between the two contractions of any forceful and quick strike1. This contract–relax–contract cycle creates ‘double peak muscle activation’ – and that’s what drives results.
- An initial peak of muscle activation occurs at the start of the strike, as the muscles tense to generate force
- This is followed by a relaxation phase to allow the speed of the movement to increase
- A second contraction takes place in the final moment of the strike (at the moment of ‘contact’)
BODYCOMBAT Program Director, Dan Cohen, puts it simply. “If you want to take your martial arts training to the next level you need to think fast, be explosive and relax.”
Simply check into a BODYCOMBAT class and follow the highly-trained instructor. Your instructor will be belting out advice and motivation that will help make sure you get the most from your workout – and punch and kick your way to superior fitness.
If you want more health and fitness inspiration simply sign up to Fit Planet and get the freshest insights and advice straight to your inbox.