When it comes to boxing, training is often viewed as strictly practicing strikes and various techniques. In reality, proper boxing training is about much more, including the process of preparing and recovering from a workout.
Learning effective stretching techniques can help you accomplish this goal by preparing your muscles and joints for the workout to come.
This leads many boxers to ask common questions such as:
Why is stretching important for boxing?
Do boxers stretch?
How do you stretch after boxing?
Why Is Stretching Important For Boxing?
Stretching is one of the most important aspects of any workout. Not stretching before or after a workout can lead to pulled muscles or other injuries. There are two different types of stretches that can be done to improve your boxing workouts: dynamic stretches and static stretches.
Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching
Before diving into the boxing stretches to combine with your workout, it’s important to distinguish between the different types of stretching and when to use each. Regardless of the specific type, it’s important to remember that the goal of boxing stretches should be to improve blood flow and loosen up muscles.
Dynamic boxing stretches are probably not what you think of when someone says the word “stretching.” Rather than holding a position, dynamic stretching involves moving your body actively to warm up your muscles.
Dynamic stretches are stretches performed before a boxing workout, rather than after. Activities that use several muscles in your body are the best to practice dynamic stretching.
On the other hand, static stretching is likely the type of stretching you are familiar with.
A static stretch involves pulling a muscle or joint to its stretch point and holding the position for around 15-20 seconds. Unlike dynamic stretching, static stretching encompasses post-boxing stretches that encourage blood flow by easing your muscles into a state of rest.
Now that you’re aware of the two prominent forms of stretching, here are three (3) beneficial stretches of each type to perform before and after your boxing workouts.
Three Dynamic Pre-Workout Stretches
Two of the most commonly asked questions regarding boxing are:
How do boxers loosen their shoulders?
How do boxers warm-up?
As you well know, boxing can be a demanding sport that uses different muscles and joints in unique ways. Properly warming up those critical areas of your body using the following dynamic pre-workout stretches can help you elevate your training.
Stretch 1: Arm Swings
It should go without saying that your arms and shoulders are incredibly important to your overall training. By warming up and loosening these muscles, you can add power to your strikes.
To perform this stretch, do the following:
Stand comfortable and raise both arms shoulder height in front of you
Slowly swing your arms back and forth, crossing them in front of you (do not over exaggerate this movement, keep the swing slow and controlled)
Ensure that your arms are swinging as far as they comfortably move
Continue for 30 seconds
A great add-on to this stretch is to incorporate arm circles as well as swings. These are simple circular motions with both your arms that will engage the other half of your shoulders.
Stretch 2: Back Rotation
Your back muscles are used extensively in boxing, so warming the major muscles up is extremely important. To do this effectively, follow the below steps:
Stand comfortably and put your arms in an “X” across your chest
Rotate at your hip and turn toward your right side as far as you can
Keep your feet firmly planted throughout the movement
Repeat to the left and continue for 30 seconds
You’ll know you are doing this correctly if you feel a light tension and pull in your lower and middle back muscles.
Stretch 3: Hip Circles
Moving towards the lower body, hip circles are a great dynamic stretch that can activate your hip muscles and prepare for the twisting motion that comes with boxing strikes. Here’s how to perform the movement:
Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart
Lift your right leg and bend your knee at a 90-degree angle in front of you
Rotate your knee and leg in a circular, clockwise direction as far as you can go out to the side
Return your leg back to the starting position, maintaining the 90-degree angle, and set it down
Repeat on the left side
Alternate and continue for 10 repetitions
There are far more dynamic stretches than just these three, but after completing the above exercises you will have engaged several muscles that will be used in your boxing workouts.
Three Static Post-Workout Stretches
After powering through your challenging workout or training session, treat your body to some helpful static stretching. You’re going to want to target specific areas of your body to see the best results. Focus on boxing wrist stretches or general shoulder stretches.
Here are three (3) static stretches that can help you cool down:
Stretch 1: Posterior and Anterior Shoulder Stretch
After throwing punches and using your arms, it’s vital to relax your shoulders. There are two main muscle groups that are used in the shoulders during a boxing workout: posterior muscles and anterior muscles.
The former are the muscle groups that surround your upper back and the back half of your shoulder, whereas the anterior shoulder muscles lay in your chest near the pectoral region. When boxing, both of these muscle groups work together to give your strikes the power they have, so keeping both groups loose is extremely important.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch:
Pull one of your arms horizontally across your chest as far as you can
Apply pressure using your other arm and hold the arm being stretched in place
Hold for 15 seconds and release and slowly
Repeat with your other arm
Anterior Shoulder Stretch:
Find the edge of a wall near you
Place your entire arm (just shy of the shoulder) on the wall
Lean forward past the wall and hold yourself up with the arm on the wall
Hold for 15 seconds and release
Move to the other side of the wall, and repeat with the other arm
Stretch 2: Forearm and Bicep Stretch
Moving into the smaller muscles of the arm, below is a stretch that will release tension in your biceps and forearms.
Reach your right arm out straight in front of you with your fingertips pointed down
With your left hand, grasp your right fingertips and gently pull them back toward the body, feeling a stretch across the lower right forearm
Hold for 10-15 seconds
Rotate the fingertips of your right hand to point to the sky (like you are signaling stop with your hand)
With your left hand, again grasp your right fingertips and slowly pull them back toward the body, feeling a stretch through the right palm and right forearm again
Hold for 10-15 seconds, release, and repeat on the other side
Stretch 3: Calf and Thigh Release
Finally, your calf and thigh muscles are important to your overall boxing stance. Keeping them loose and stretched should be a priority. Here’s a great static stretch for accomplishing this:
Sit down with both your legs stretched out straight in front of you
Gently bend one knee and place the bottom of your foot on the inner thigh of your other leg
Bend forward and reach toward the toes of your extended leg as far as you can
Hold for 15 seconds and switch legs
For all of these dynamic and static stretches, feel free to adjust the time or repetitions to a place you are comfortable with.
As a note, you may feel light or heavy resistance in your muscles and joints when stretching. While this is healthy, you should never feel pain when stretching. If you do, stop immediately and don’t push your muscles further.
With that in mind, now you have a number of powerful stretches that can help you take your training to the next level! For more workout and training tips, visit FightCamp today.