Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi is one of the most powerful woman warriors in ONE Championship.
The 34-year-old atomweight world title contender spreads her training across several gyms throughout her native Tokyo, Japan, and uses weight training to not only offset potential injuries, but to add more power to both her striking and black belt grappling prowess.
One of Yamaguchi’s main aims as a martial artist is to share her knowledge, and anyone she can, especially other women. Here are four strength exercises she encourages everyone to do regularly.
Yamaguchi is a big proponent of squats, a full-body exercise that works out several muscle groups including the back, core, hamstrings, hips, and butt.
In particular, “V.V.” encourages focusing on the legs while squatting, particularly the thigh region.
“It will give you a lot of strength around your thighs,” she begins. “That is your base of your body when you move and exercise. And, as you get older, women lose thigh and leg strength very easily. That is why it is very important to strengthen your thighs by doing a lot of squats.”
In fact, Yamaguchi feels there is more to be done with not just the thighs, but the legs as a whole.
Sticking with the same muscle group, Yamaguchi recommends to regularly include some lunges into your fitness routine. Because, as she quite simply states, “it strengthens your legs.”
When doing this exercise, she advises that you pay attention to your posture, keep your head straight, and look forward.
The Japanese star places a high importance on this particular exercise, because the legs tend to get weaker as a person ages. By frequently doing lunges, your lower body gets stronger, therefore preventing other potentially damaging injuries that could inhibit your movement later in life.
“For the elderly, when they trip, that is when they get injuries,” she says. “They start getting in the wheelchair and that kind of stuff, so the weakness in their leg is always the key. You lose the chance to walk, so you need to keep the strength in your legs and keep walking naturally.”
Yamaguchi not only wants you to feel strong and healthy, but she also wants to help you look and feel forever young.
The next step in accomplishing that is to pay attention to the core. For that, she recommends doing an assortment of sit-ups. Start out by doing three sets of 15 sit-ups, and slowly increase the number of sets and repetitions over time.
According to Yamaguchi, the key to doing a great sit-up is maintaining good posture while performing the exercise. Doing these sit-ups properly will keep you looking and feeling fabulous.
“Your abs keeps you in good posture,” she says. “You do not want to look old and you do not want to get small. Just keep your head and chest up, keep your posture, and look beautiful.”
The last exercise Yamaguchi advises you to do in order to build strength is the simple push-up, which is another full-body workout that targets the chest, the back, the core, the deltoids, and especially the arms.
For that reason alone, the atomweight is a huge believer of this particular exercise. Also, it will help counteract any of the sugary delights that are consumed sporadically throughout the week.
“Women like to eat sweets. We all like to drink, and all those sugars go into your arms, so you want to make the arms tight all the time,” she explains. “Doing push-ups will build your muscles, so it will prevent all those cookies, sugars, and cakes from going into your arms.”
Start out slow by doing three sets of ten push-ups. Again, as you become stronger and more comfortable in your technique, increase the intensity.
“It is important to do push-ups every day,” she advises. “Do not do it too hard. Do not do too much repetition, and you can put your knees on the ground if you have to.”