Hello everyone and welcome to the latest instillation of the Dogma of the Week.
The topic for this Dogma of the Week will be covering Mixed Martial Arts and its relation to Steroids.
A common issue that has been occurring lately in the MMA world is the usage of steroids by many of the top names in the business. It has seemingly been a topic that has not disappeared and I think it’s definitely with good reason. I have seen so many fighters get a bad rap over taking “performance enhancers” and personally feel its unjustified. Many have claimed that it’s the fighter taking the steroid that is seeking to get an edge over the competition, but after being in the business for a couple years now, I have learned that may not necessarily be the case.
If there is a common trait I have found out of every fighter I have encountered since being in the MMA industry, it’s the abundance of physical bodily dysfunction. Every time I walk into an MMA facility, I see rounded thoracics, external hip rotations, lordotic curvatures, etc… Then I look at the training and extreme environment these guys are in and it quickly becomes no surprise why their body carries all this internalized physical baggage. When you mix in the grappling work that promotes tight hip flexors, thoracic flexion and shoulder protraction, and then mix it with something so asymmetrically dominant like striking, you will have yourself a recipe for an tear in one place of the body or the other. Most of these fighters also come into training with programmed dysfunctions from an imbalanced westernized culture that ingrained those problems to begin with. It’s these and a few other environmental influences that inevitably lead a fighter to ask themselves whether they may need to either put a pharmaceutical medication, or a steroid of some type in their body to help them cope with the pain and inevitable injuries that are in the process of happening.
It’s a common misconception that steroids, by themselves, make a fighter better at their craft. Although there can be plenty of info to back up that it does, there are other things to take into context before making that decision. Steroids don’t make you a better fighter, it’s the mastery and integration of technique in different styles of fighting involved in MMA that do. What steroids do allow for is a faster recovery time between training sessions. That enables a fighter to train more often and allow for the mastery of more techniques, with a much smaller likelihood of pain and injury getting in the way. In essence, it’s the training frequency, without the potential for injury, that make the fighter better.
This is where the moral dilemma is now put upon the fighter. It’s either you fight with a ton of injuries and hope you can make it through a training camp, or take steroids to ensure that you do. This is exactly the situation many fighters face on a daily basis. If a fighter does not know of any other alternatives that are good enough to counteract the dysfunctions created by their stressful environment, should they be held accountable for taking a steroids? Personally, I feel they shouldn’t. Those fighters are acting in accordance to the options that are available to them. They have bills to pay and are trying to keep their dreams of being a fighter alive. With that said, THIS DOES NOT MAKE ME AN ADVOCATE OF STEROIDS! In fact, I feel that there are alternatives that are better than steroids that increase performance better than a steroid ever could. An alternative that leaves no path of inefficiency that will ruin the fighters life after their career is over. That alternative is the scientific structural integration applied to the human body.
Since I have been working with fighters, it has been my goal to make them masters in human biomechanics so that the imbalances that create injuries don’t apply to them when they’re in the cage. If all systems in the body kinetically function properly during training or the fight itself, it’s likely the body will become more adaptable to the extremes that MMA places upon it’s athletes, preventing injuries in the process. Also, if a body is operating on all of it’s musculature, performance will increase significantly due to the fact that more of the major muscle-groups will be powering the body in every movement. The more muscles you leverage in your movement, the more force you can generate at any given point when force is needed. I have made it a point to understand these bio-mechanical nuances at their root to help fighters perform better and stay healthy for the entirety of their career. These alternatives are effective, safe and most importantly, SUSTAINABLE.
Here is a video of me breaking down some information on the topic of steroids in MMA. I also provide a myofascial release alternative you can implement in your training practices to help you optimize your body. Enjoy!