Boxing is a rigorous and demanding sport and it is important to make sure you have trained properly. Performing well in the ring and not causing injury to yourself is important and this can be achieved through your physical fitness which in turn benefits your mental fitness. Boxing warm up exercises are an easy way to prepare you for more rigorous training or even a fight itself. Read on to find out what the best boxing warm up exercises are and how they can benefit you!
Why Warm Up?
Warming up is an essential part of remaining healthy, fit and making sure you’re at the top of your game. Preparing your body for a workout means your muscles are more relaxed, lessening the risk of straining them and causing yourself injury. It helps to increase your flexibility and gets your body ready for the training.
Getting in the right headspace for training means you’ll be operating at your best. Your mental attitude is just as important to training as the physical activity. It gives you focus and discipline and getting your body ready for training means you are also training your mind to get used to the level of rigorous activity you will need to make good progress.
Specific exercises related to boxing are more advantageous than doing any old warm up exercise as it gets your body used to the motions it needs to go through when you are actually training or participating in a fight.
Running and Jogging as a Boxing Warm Up
A great way to start any warm up is by taking a jog. Running or jogging builds up stamina and endurance, making it easier for you to recover in a fight, increasing your agility and allowing you to go for longer in a bout.
There are different styles of jogging that benefit your body in different ways. The first is aerobic jogging. This consists of slow, easy running which helps your muscles get oxygen from your blood. It means you have a steady supply of oxygen and it will take far longer for you to run out of breath. You should even be able to hold a conversation! It’s a great and easy way to build up your stamina and help your body become stronger, healthier and generate more oxygen.
A second type of running is anaerobic. This is a lot more intense than aerobic jogging as it involves going a lot faster. It’s utilised best by adding it at the end of a jog, putting on a burst of speed for a short period of time and burning off the oxygen stored by the aerobic exercise. It’s a good way to enhance your stamina, manage your weight and build muscle.
ATP running is the highest intensity jog you can do in your warm up. It stands for adenosine-triphosphate and is the source of energy powering movement and contraction in muscles. This is typically characterised by short, high bursts of energy, such as what is used in sprints or short races like the 100m. With training, the energy systems in your body can become more efficient and help you to run for longer spells, building up your endurance further.
Jumping Rope as a Boxing Warm Up
Exercising with a skipping rope is one of the most important cornerstones in a boxer’s warm-up routine. Jumping rope benefits an extensive range of muscles in your body, including your calf muscles, hamstrings, abs and biceps, to name but a few. This helps to build strength throughout your body and focuses on the muscles you need most as a boxer,
There are many different moves you can do with a jumping rope to keep this section of your warm up exciting.
- The Skier Movement: Involves jumping from side to side with your feet together.
- The Side Straddle: This is a lot like a jumping jack where you alternate your jumps with your feet together and then shoulder-width apart.
- The Alternate Foot Step Jump: Involves hopping from one foot to the other
- The Boxer-Step Jump: A classic exercise used by boxers. It is a mix of the skier movement – going side to side – and hopping from one foot to the other, constantly shifting your weight
Jumping rope increases the overall healthiness of your body, benefiting your heart and giving you stronger bones. It also improves your coordination and loosens up your muscles for training. It helps to strengthen your upper body muscles, useful in bouts and helps to get you used to moving around a lot. Boxers have to be quick and agile on their feet in order to dodge shots from their opponents. Skipping keeps you on your toes which is one of the best skills a boxer can have.
Stretches as a Boxing Warm Up
There are two different types of stretches. Dynamic stretching which involves controlled movement and static stretching which involves staying in one position for a short amount of time – usually about forty-five seconds – and is best used in a cool down after your training.
There are many different types of dynamic stretches you can add to your warm-up routine that can benefit the muscles needed for boxing.
- Arm Swings: Swing your arms from side to side, starting with them outstretched before crossing them over your body and repeating.
- Lunges: Lunge down over one leg and then repeat on the other, bending one leg at the knee and keeping the back leg as straight as possible.
- Leg Curls: Targets the hamstring involving bending your leg at the knee and getting your heel as close to your buttocks as possible. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Knee to Chest: This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can either walk or stand still so long as the activity involves bringing your knee up to your chest and then repeating with the other leg.
- Side Shuffle: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and shuffle from side to side. Good for exercising your hips.
- Power Skip Plus Reach: a dynamic stretch that targets the whole body from your shoulders to your back to your calves. Involves a skip in which you bring your knee up high and reach into the air with alternating hands while you do so.
Dynamic stretching improves your speed, agility and gets the blood flowing to your muscles so they become more limber thus lowering the risk of injury. It helps you to get used to the full range of movement needed for boxing and enhances the kind of flexibility to keep fit and stay on top of the training to follow.
Shadow boxing is a vital part of a boxer’s warm up regimen where you box air as though you are fighting an actual opponent. Simulating a bout in your warm up is a great way to train your muscles for specific combinations and ingrain moves in your memory. It can also help you to identify which combos you excel at and which you need to work on improving.
It helps you to practice your footwork as well, making use of the footwork preparation you have done while jumping rope and carrying out your dynamic stretches. Shadow boxing allows you to put together your boxing combos with your agility and see what works well for you. It builds up your stamina and gets your body used to the motions of boxing, lessening the risk of straining muscles.
It is important to keep the power and speed of your shadow boxing up and stay in the mind frame that you are fighting an opponent. This helps to keep your moves sharp and your mind focused. Boxing is just as much about your mental condition as it is your physical condition. Discipline and concentration are important parts of shadow boxing and increasing the ferocity of your punches means you are getting your muscles in the peak condition they need to be in for when you start your training proper.
Pad Work and Bag Work Boxing Warm Up
Like shadow boxing, these two warm up exercises are also important in practicing your form and getting your body used to the sensations of a bout. These two activities are best placed at the end of a warm up as it is best not to fatigue yourself before your training starts.
Pad work involves getting yourself a sparring partner – perhaps a fellow trainee or the trainer – and practicing your sparring techniques. Your partner will have boxing focus pads on his hands for you to hit, making light contact as you gradually increase the speed and intensity. You can also have your partner throw light punches your way for you to practice your evasion techniques. This is great for enhancing your reaction times and getting your muscles used to the agility and power needed for your training.
Heavy bag training is good for building up power and strength at the end of a workout and build up the muscles in your arms. It improves the technique of your throws, helps balance and gets you in a good headspace for training as you are already conditioning your body to be used to resistance to your punches while also getting you more accustomed to powerful hits. There’s a real emphasis on the force of the impact and there are a wide variety of bags for you to warm up on, including free-standing punching bags and hanging punching bags.
Warming up for any activity is essential to make sure there’s blood flowing to your muscles and you are maintaining your fitness for training. Stamina, endurance and agility are must-haves in the world of boxing so that you can make sure you’re always on the top of your game. These warm ups are perfect for targeting every part of the body you need to be the best boxer you can be, strengthening both your physical and mental conditions and lessening the risk of injuring yourself.