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How to prepare your body for contact sports

Contact sports can be amongst the most strenuous and physically demanding on our bodies, and as such, they can require a huge amount of training and preparation. You only need to look at the intensity seen in the latest rugby results, the physiques of martial artists or indeed the fitness levels of football players to recognise that it’s not just about your strength, there’s a range of other aspects you can work on to get ready to play such sports.

If you don’t do the right preparation for your body, you don’t just risk affecting the quality of your performance, you can also potentially suffer from injuries – as the old saying goes: ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’.

So here we’ve explained what needs to be considered before you compete.

Your core

A strong core can keep you going for longer, keeps you more stable and less likely to suffer from fatigue and injuries – all benefits for contact sports. This means your exercise regime should always have some focus on your core. Here are 15 examples you might want to include in your routine.

Your mental attitude

It’s no secret that during contact sports you’ll get knocked around a fair bit. However, if you’re not mentally ready for this, you can get downhearted, frustrated and tired – which can be detrimental to your mood and focus. To avoid this, you might want to try things like yoga, using positive ‘self-talk’ or simply taking time off to collect yourself. There are a number of other useful approaches for this to consider in this guide.

Your diet

The food you put in your body is the fuel it needs to complement your physical and mental attributes. Pre and post exercise you should look to eat plenty of protein and stay hydrated to aid muscle recovery and development. Also before a game, medical professionals recommend eating carbs like bread and cereal, as well as fruit and yoghurt to bring slow-release energy and drive your muscles. If you’re well-fed you will also help improve your focus.

Your aerobic fitness

To build on the above, making sure you get plenty of cardio is vital for your stamina, overall fitness levels but by getting the blood pumping you can also help with muscle growth and recovery. You can learn more about this and get some useful exercise examples here.

So, make sure you incorporate some or all of these recommendations into your prep and you’re sure to see an improvement in your performance when you take to the field in your chosen contact sport.

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