Could a weakness cause an injury on your non-dominant side as an MMA fighter?

27 AUG

Could a weakness cause an injury on your non-dominant side as an MMA fighter?

By Dean Phelps on Wednesday, 27th of August    Tag: High Performance Health, MMA, SnC prehabilitation, Strength and Conditioning,

Is it a potential for problems in the lower limb?

Of late I have noticed an increasing prevelance in weakness and imbalances in MMA fighters on their non-dominant side, presenting to the clinic injured and non-injured.

Here is why! Take an orthodox fighter for example. They stand to strike predominantly or all of the time in an orthodox stance, set the shot on the lead leg (left) and drive through the lead leg for a take down. Repeat 100’s of times daily, then that multiples weekly, then further again across the year. What I see now is the lead leg is strong and stable under load, both your own and then against resistance of your opponent. That whole left kinetic chain from ankle to hip, trunk to shoulder is strong as you have loaded it so often. But what about the other side?? Could it carry the load if needed and called upon? Or is it opening you up for injury in your game?

MMA is a highly dynamic sport. It is 3 dimentional with varying loads and forces through out training and fighting. During training most load the strongest movement pattern (the dominant stance). But a fight can go any direction at any time. You need to be able to adapt to that quickly, at any time and not be weak in that movement pattern. If you are then each time you load that pattern you are at risk of injury somewhere along the kinetic chain.

The ones who use a 3 dimentional unilateral approach (single side) to their SnC programs and work the non- dominant side will typically be ok. But those who use a 2 dimentional bilateral approach (eg 2 feet planted at all times in there exercises) can use their strong side to compensate during movement and the weakness in that motor pattern may not show.

What I see commonly is when I take the 2 dimentional, bilateral SnC program fighter and load them unilaterally in a 3D pattern, they crumble on the non dominant side. The ones that don’t use SnC programs as an adjunct to their fight specific training crumble even more! If the person is injured, most of the time you can track back that injury and find the cause is a lack of balance in their daily movement patterns.

The question in the uninjured, when will there be an injury due to repetitive overload on the dominant side or will it be the time the non-dominant side gets over loaded and a link in the chain crumbles? Don’t risk any of it, get 3 dimentional and unilateral in your SnC program.



Dean Phelps - Head Physiotherapy

Dean is a registered Gold Coast Physiotherapist with undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Human Movement and Exercise Science. His background has developed his vision for Fighting Fit Physiotherapy to focus on optimal health and peak physical performance for every single patient. Utilising his many qualifications, in depth knowledge of the body and passion for exercise he can provide a holistic approach to your treatment and exercise prescription to get the best outcome.


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