All athletes know how important recovery is during training. Having a rest day as part of your workout regimen is key to letting your muscles recover from training. For a boxer, a rest day does not mean sitting still. Staying active on rest days with light exercise is a great way to keep your body in fighting shape while your muscles heal.
Below are some examples of light exercises for boxing that you can do on your weekly rest day. Before diving into those exercises, let’s learn more about active recovery days and the benefits of incorporating them into your overall boxing training.
What is an Active Recovery Day?
An active recovery day is one that is dedicated to non-strenuous cardio or physical activity that still engages the body, whereas a training day focuses on working your muscles hard to build strength and endurance. Active recovery day activities and light exercises are meant to reduce fatigue, prevent overtraining, and help improve your overall mood.
What are the Benefits of a Recovery Day?
There are a number of benefits to incorporating a recovery day into your weekly routine. For starters, you allow your body to rest and prepare for a new day of combo training, kickboxing, or weightlifting. Additional benefits include:
Increases muscle flexibility: In general, engaging your muscles in non-strenuous activities that stimulate blood flow will improve muscle flexibility over time.
Reduces lactic acid buildup: When there is not enough oxygen present to break down glucose and glycogen, lactic acid builds up in muscles. Engaging in active recovery exercises increases oxygen flow, allowing the lactic acid to break down.
Reduces soreness: Similarly, improved oxygen flow to your muscles helps promote the regrowth of the muscle fibers that are broken down during a training workout.
How long is an active recovery workout?
There is no set time limit for an active recovery workout. In general, spending 20-60 minutes performing any active recovery exercise can be sufficient, but it depends on your body and your typical training schedule. The key for rest days is taking time away from your usual workout and doing something less stressful for your body. As long as you give your muscles a chance to rebuild and heal, then you’re doing it right!
Best Exercises for a Boxer’s Recovery Day
When it comes to deciding what is a light recovery exercise?, the answer depends on your typical training schedule and workout regimen, what activities you enjoy, where your interests lie, and your physical capabilities. Here are a few examples of light recovery exercises we recommend. Try a few and see what works best for you.
Stretching your muscles on recovery days is great for mobility and flexibility performance. Doing dynamic and static stretches can help improve movements for your upper body, legs, and neck. Stretch muscles that you focused on during your training to keep a range of motion in your joints and prevent them from becoming tight.
Swimming is an activity that taxes all your muscles and trains cardio at the same time. Of course, for some, swimming is considered part of a typical training regimen, so for an active recovery exercise, we are referring to non-competitive swimming. Since the point of active recovery is to allow your muscles to recover, in this case, exert yourself enough to the point that you are breathing heavily, but not so much that you are completely exhausted and worn out.
Swimming laps is a great way to add active recovery into your day, while still incorporating a bit of cardio. For many athletes, swimming will utilize different muscles than they are used to. Plus, it can be considered less stressful on joints since it’s not a weight-bearing exercise.
Walking and Jogging
Going on a walk or light jog around your neighborhood is an excellent way to keep your muscles active and ensure the blood is pumping in your veins. By walking or jogging at a leisurely pace, you can ensure your blood flow stays at a healthy level and that your muscles are stimulated enough to recover.
Even going on a 30 minute walk can be enough to stretch out your leg muscles. To up the cardio a bit, you can alternate between faster and slower paces.
If you choose to jog rather than walk, setting weekly distance “milestones” or goals, such as a quarter mile the first week, half mile the second, and a mile the third, can be a good way to increase your stamina, while still maintaining active recovery.
If you own a foam roller, simply rolling out your muscles on a rest day can be a great way to stimulate your muscle groups and encourage muscle recovery. Roll a foam roller over your worked muscles to reduce soreness, inflammation, tightness, and even increase your range of motion.
Yoga places an emphasis on slow and controlled movements that focus on improving blood flow and breathing. There are several different types of yoga, so for a rest day practice, choose one that is less cardio-based and more flexibility and breathing based.
Remember, even champion fighters take recovery days. Letting your body reset after a week of training hard is what you need to reach your boxing goals. Your mind may be pumped and ready to keep up with your workouts but rest and recovery will lead to progress.
For more workout routines and tips subscribe to the FightCamp YouTube channel and check out popular videos on boxing and kickboxing. Additionally, check out the FightCamp blog for more ways to get you in fighting shape!
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