We spoke to Ashley McKenzie, Great Britain’s premier 60kg judoka, about the importance of core strength in combat sports and how the Slendertone Connect has revolutionised his rehabilitation.
Core strength is essential for executing technique
Ask any world-class judoka and they will tell you that a strong core is integral to success on the mats, whether you’re a beginner or competing at the elite level.
“I’m explosive,” Ashley begins. “My core is very important because I stretch at different angles when I’m doing my technique.
“I need my core to stay in one place, so it’s very, very important.”
Teammate Danny Williams, who represented Great Britain at London 2012 and won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, echoes this sentiment
“Having a strong core is very important for judo,” reiterates Danny.
“When you turn in for an attack or a throw you meet resistance. If your core is weak, you’re going to crunch, bend and not get enough power to finish the technique.”
Slendertone can help accelerate muscle recovery
Ashley equips Slendertone Connect while drilling core strength exercises to aid rehabilitation and to help speed up recovery.
“I mainly do rehabilitation for my core,” states Ashley. “It’s not so much dead lifts and squats; for me it’s planks.
“I use the Slendertone to do all of this, and it’s a fast progress when I do.”
The low-level electrical currents emitted from the Connect belt aids rehabilitation, by stimulating the muscles fibres so that they repair at a faster rate.
Because you can recover and return to training sooner this also helps prevent muscle atrophy, which is when the muscles weaken due to reduced exercise and activity.
From Pokémon cards to the judo podium
For Ashley, who struggled with ADHD in his childhood, judo was not just a way to find focus and self-discipline. It was about learning self-defence too.
“I became a judoka at the age of 11,” he explains. “I was playing in the streets and someone took my Pokémon cards. I went to take them back and he [judo] threw me.”
Ashley soon started training at Moberly Judo Club where he mastered takedown defence – and later earned the respect of the bully who led him there.
“The guy who took my Pokémon card was there,” he recalls. “I got it back; we’re [now] friends.”
Now, at 27, Ashley is a four-time British Open Champion, 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a world-class athlete – making his second consecutive appearance on the biggest stage in sports.
Watch Ashley McKenzie’s full interview