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By: Brian Sutton MS, MA, CES, PES, NASM-CPT

Introduction
The combative sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) has gained a great deal of popularity on both a national and international scale, particularly with the emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship®. MMA is a full-contact combat sport that allows athletes to incorporate various fighting styles and techniques including, but not limited to, grappling techniques such as freestyle wrestling and Jiu jitsu, and striking techniques involving the upper and lower body as in boxing, Muay Thai, and karate. The fast-paced sport of MMA requires repetitive bouts of explosive activity from the anaerobic energy systems, followed by shorter rest/recovery periods in which the aerobic system is taxed (1-7). To gain a competitive advantage in strength, size, and power, elite-level martial artists possess high levels of fat-free body mass (e.g. muscle) compared to fat mass (1-4). Changes in the MMA athlete’s body composition (decreasing body fat) may also be required to help an athlete make a certain weight class.

Weight Gain Strategies
MMA athletes who desire to gain muscle mass must have a twofold adjustment: (1) kilocalories must be increased, and (2) an appropriate exercise program must be in place.

An athlete can gain weight by incorporating additional energy into the diet (approximately 500 to 1,000 kcal per day depending on total activity) while increasing strength training to promote muscle growth (8). How quickly an athlete gains weight will depend on the individual’s age, gender, training experience, genetic makeup, degree of positive energy balance, diet composition, timing of meals, number of rest and recovery days per week, and type of training program (8).

By: DeWayne Smith, MS, ATC, CSCS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, FNS

Let’s face it, at one point or another, we’ve all had to sit for extended periods of time, looking at, or working on something in front of us. Whether it was in high school math class, Intro to Athletic Training in our undergraduate program, or our desk based career in the real world! Sitting for extended periods of time, with the focus in front can cause some changes to our musculoskeletal system, which if left unchecked, will wreak havoc throughout the kinetic chain. Kyphosis in relation to the spine describes a curve that is concave anteriorly and convex posteriorly. (1) Both the thoracic and sacrococcygeal regions display this curve, but it’s in the thoracic spine we commonly see problems arise.

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