The Science Of Striking

Physical Preparation for Stand Up Combat Athletes

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Brief Review: Mouthguard Measurement of Head Impact in MMA

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Concussion is an extremely prevalent condition in contact sports and is one with potentially serious long-term consequences. In other sports where concussion has been identified as a major issue, such as American Football, head kinematics has been studied with the use of helmet-based accelerometry.  An alternative for measuring head impact in MMA athletes, who do not wear helmets during...

Lower Limb Power is Correlated with Punching Speed in Karateka

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Previous studies have shown correlations between lower limb force and power outputs, and punching speed and power in individual strikes from a static position. This study sought to investigate whether such correlations exist with punches thrown in combination, and also with punches thrown from more dynamic, fight-specific positions.  10 national-level male Italian karate athletes underwent 3...

Affect of Training Area and Sparring Partners in Taekwondo

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Changing the spatial characteristics of a sporting environment may change the demands on the athlete, and potentially influence the outcome of the competition. Specific reduced competition size training drills (i.e. small-sided games in soccer) have long been utilized as a training means in other sports. Researchers in Italy compared the physiological (heart rate, blood lactate) and psychological...

Grippin’n’Grapplin

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Grip strength is an important physical characteristic of successful grappling athletes from all disciplines, with higher handgrip measurements seen in high-level, compared to lower-level athletes in BJJ, judo and wrestling. Furthermore, grip strength may also be seen as an important factor in injury reduction in these sports.  The high-intensity nature of gripping actions in grappling is...

COMMON HAND AND WRIST INJURIES IN STRIKING SPORTS – PART 14 – Hand and Wrist Strengthening 

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Grip strength was discussed in part 11, and if there are deficiencies here then they should be addressed. The power grip can be trained with a simple gripper, and if an adjustable gripper is available, this can allow for a more incremental progression of load. Using a thicker grip, such as a towel, or a fat gripz handle, while performing traditional resistance training exercises can also be...

COMMON HAND AND WRIST INJURIES IN STRIKING SPORTS – PART 12 – Load Tolerance Assessment 

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Another useful test for wrist and hand injuries is a measurement of load tolerance. In the general population we typically measure the load taken through the palm, however with combat athletes, we also need to measure the amount of pressure tolerated through a fist.  A simple, low-tech way of assessing this is with the use of an analogue scale. With the scales placed on a bench or table, and...

COMMON HAND AND WRIST INJURIES IN STRIKING SPORTS – PART 11 – Grip Assessment

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Grip strength is an important functional measure in both diagnosis and evaluation of progress. A 10% difference in grip strength between sides is within the limits of normal, however more than a 20% difference between sides may indicate either a strength deficiency that could have contributed to the development of the injury, or more commonly a loss of strength secondary to the injury. A 50% or...

COMMON HAND AND WRIST INJURIES IN STRIKING SPORTS – PART 10 – Wrist ROM assessment

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Special tests for hand and wrist injuries will be specific to the injured area. However all hand and wrist injuries will likely require assessment of range of motion. One of the common methods of measuring joint range of motion is with the use of a goniometer. However, whilst this may be optimal for larger joints such as the knee, because of the small size and intricacy of the wrist, as well as...

COMMON HAND AND WRIST INJURIES IN STRIKING SPORTS – PART 13 – General management principles

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While the management of hand and wrist injuries will depend on the specific injury, there are some basic management principles that will apply to most cases.  The first is one of specific load management. Most injuries will require a degree of off-loading/de-loading. For fractures, this de-loading will be in the form of immobilisation and often surgical intervention. For joint sprains, we usually...

COMMON HAND AND WRIST INJURIES IN STRIKING SPORTS – PART 9 – Finger Dislocations

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Dislocation of the proximal interphalangeal joint (closest joint of the finger) is also very common. Dorsal (to the back) dislocation may lead to volar plate and ligament damage, and therefore requires proper diagnosis and follow up. If the dislocation is stable, only buddy taping (where the 2 fingers are taped together) is required, followed by early mobilization to avoid stiffening of the joint...

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