Physical Training For Contact Sports

Due to the almost constant stream of bumps, hits, and collisions, contact sports are physically demanding. What does physical training for a good performance look like and how can we avoid injuries?
Physical Training For Contact Sports

Last update: 20 October, 2020

Physical training in contact sports plays a key part in developing these disciplines. If you don’t prepare sufficiently, the results won’t be as good, and you’re more likely to hurt yourself whilst playing.

If you play contact sports, you can vouch for how important it is to train. In this article, we’ll present a series of concepts that can help to improve your physical preparation for these kinds of sports. Don’t miss out!

Types of contact sports

Although they share similarities with martial artscontact sports focus on techniques to beat opponents. Specialist institutions create elaborate rules that manage these disciplines.

While participants of certain sports such as rugby, basketball, or soccer all use contact as part of the practice, there are also sports where contact is an integral part of the game.

These are combat sports, the objective is to physically beat your opponent through kicks, punches, or other techniques. The point of these sports is to fight until you win, whilst adhering to the established rules. We can categorize combat sports into three large groups: grip sports, hit sports, and combination sports.

Grip sports

Grip sports prohibit participants from any kind of impact, or they risk receiving a sanction. But, they have to perform every type of grip in order to score. The judges later evaluate their performance.

contact sport example judo

The main objective is to suppress the opponent, and each fight lasts for only ten minutes. An example of this kind of sport would be jujutsu or judo.

Hit sports and physical training

As the name suggests, these sports focus on hits, with the objective being to beat the opponent, either through a number of blows or by a knockout. The rules for these sports dictate that there are certain parts of the body that you can strike, some only with your hands or legs, and others with a combination of both.

Combination sports

Combination sports unite both grips and hits. The most well-known example of this type of sport would be mixed martial arts or MMA.

Physical training for contact sports

Each contact sport requires specific physical training. Nevertheless, there are some general characteristics that we shouldn’t overlook, as detailed below.

Working with physical training and physiological demand

The physical training for contact sports must focus on the physical abilities that reflect the discipline. Because of that, a lot of emphasis is put on improving strength, resistance, speed, coordination, and balance.

Physiological changes must be achieved in the shortest time possible. This is key when physically training since the athlete needs to be ready shortly before the competition.

footballer returns to playing after suffering an injury

The most relevant physiological changes in athletes playing contact sports are size and weight, which are measured by the official organization for each discipline. Both of these influence power, one of the most important physical aspects for contact sport, as mentioned above.

Emphasis on technique and tactic

Although each contact sport has different methods of playing that dictate a certain style, they all demand specific skills. As such, physical training must revolve around what needs improving. With this in mind, the athlete needs to adapt their training plan to which aspect needs the most work.

Prioritize a specific body segment as according to the sport

When training for any sport, there are three segments in the body: the major extremities, the core, and the minor extremities.

All of these elements should be included in the training plan, with special emphasis on one that directly benefits the sport in question.

What kind of physical training benefits you?

Despite the fact that physical training for contact sports includes certain concepts and characteristics on a general level, it’s important to understand which sport you’re training for in order to optimize your workout.

That said, you and your trainer should design a plan that aligns with your needs without overlooking the advice given in this article. Let’s train!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hernández, R., & Torres, G. (2011). Preparación Física Integrada En Deportes De Combate. E-Balonmano.Com: Revista de Ciencias Del Deporte.
  • Avelar, B., & Figueiredo, A. (2012). La iniciación a los deportes de combate: interpretación de la estructura del fenómeno lúdico luctatorio. Revista de Artes Marciales Asiáticas.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.