It’s not the fanciest or the most exciting thing to do in the gym.
It’s also not the most enjoyable.
And it certainly isn’t what attracts the girls.
But despite all that, it’s one of the most important things a boxer needs to do in the gym.
What am I talking about?
Movement and mobility training.
Here’s the thing – good movement will decrease the likelihood of injury and can help to maximise performance.
Spending a lot of time in the boxing stance and will inevitably lead to a lot of tightness in the front of the shoulders, hips and ankles.
This can lead to faulty movement patterns, for example, an inability to properly rotate in the upper back, which means that the boxer will have to rotate in the lower back in order to maximise reach.
Since the lower back is not designed to handle rotation, especially at high speeds, over time this can lead to severe lower back pain and injury.
Furthermore, stiffness in the ankles, hips and shoulders may make it very challenging for the boxer to perform basic movements, such as raising their arms overhead or sitting comfortably into a deep squat.
This can then make things more challenging in the gym as they will be incapable of performing the exercises most beneficial for developing strength and power.
In many cases, boxers will try and do these exercises anyway, which is like forcing a square peg into a round hole and will simply lead to either sub-par results….
…or massive injury and time away from training.
So, have I convinced you yet that incorporating some movement work into training is a good idea?
I like to perform a movement-based warm-up with my guys right at the beginning of the session, which addresses building mobility in the joints that need to be mobile and stability in the parts of the body that need to be stable.
In case you were wondering what that looks like, here’s an overview –
- Thoracic spine (upper back)
- Glenohumeral joint (shoulder)
- Lumbar spine (lower back)
- Scapula (shoulder blade)
Side Note: By no means am I an expert in injury or rehab, but one thing I have learnt over the years is that, if something hurts, look at the joints above and below it.
For example, if a boxer suffers from knee pain, which could make things like rolling under a punch or changing direction tricky, then look at the ankles and the hips –
The knee is supposed to be a ‘stable’ joint and pain could indicate that some movement may be occurring, which might be to compensate for a lack of movement in either the ankles or the hips – 2 joints that are supposed to be mobile.
Right, back onto what I actually do know about…
So here’s a movement template I use with the boxers I train: –
- Core activation
- Upper back mobility
- Hip mobility
- Ankle mobility
- Glute activation
- Shoulder stability
- Single leg stability
- Integrated squat/hip hinge movement pattern
The aim with this is to get some movement into the joints that are often quite stiff and some stability into the areas that are weak and need to be more stable.
An example warm-up may be:
Do as a single circuit –
Hand switch x 5-8/side
Quadruped extension-rotation x 10/side
Hip articulations x 5/direction/side
Rocking ankle mob x 10/side
Single leg glute bridge x 6/side
Yoga Push-Up x 10
Multi-planar hip stability (level 1) x 8 second hold/direction
Spiderman w/overhead reach x 5/side
Don’t be surprised if you struggle with good movement at first – you’re not aiming to be perfect right from the beginning, but rather to make progress over time.
It’s definitely not the most enjoyable thing to do, but it can go an extremely long way to keeping a boxer healthy, injury-free and performing at their absolute best.
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