The 3 Best Stretches for Boxing
The 3 best stretching exercises to improve boxing performance and do away with boxing injuries.
by Brad Walker | First Published September 13, 2008 | Updated March 15, 2019
Early boxing gloves was simply leather thongs to protect the hands and wrists. Later, the Romans added metal studs and spikes. This version was brought to an end by Christianity but during the late 17th Century it was reorganized in England.
James fig who was a fencer opened a boxing academy and began to add a degree of skill to the sport before his student Jack Broughton implemented some of the formal rules.
Due to the 3-minute rounds of intense activity, with only a short 30-second rest between rounds, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning are essential to the boxer. Both upper and lower body strength are required by the boxer, also. Good coordination, body and spatial awareness are also important to the fighter.
Boxers require a great deal of core strength and a solid base of strength from their legs and hips. Upper body muscular endurance and strength are essential. A strong neck helps a boxer absorb the blows to the head. Strong wrists are important to hold the fist in the proper punching position.
The major muscles used by the boxer are:
- The muscles of the shoulder girdle; the deltoids, latissimus dorsi, and the pectorals.
- The core muscles; the rectus abdominus, obliques, and the spinal erectors.
- The muscles of the upper legs and hips; the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gluteals.
- The muscles of the neck and the trapezius.
A good conditioning program to keep these muscles strong and flexible will help ensure boxing success and keep the boxer healthy for future bouts.
Most Common Boxing Injuries
Boxers are subjected to very violent blows to the face and body repeatedly during a fight. The continuous punching can also lead to shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand problems.
Among other injuries, a boxer may be subject to:
- A sprained or fractured wrist and hand;
- A broken nose;
- Fractured ribs;
- A concussion; or
- An orbital fracture.
Injury Prevention Strategies
Apart from the proper use of headgear, mats, gloves and other protective equipment, good strength and conditioning are a pivotal part of the preparation of a boxer, and key to minimizing injury.
- Always warm-up properly prior to training and especially competition.
- Allow an adequate cool-down period after training and competition.
- Practice defensive strategies to avoid taking blows to the face and body.
- Fighting in bouts that are sanctioned or run under specific rules, and that require the use of specific gloves.
- Proper strength training to build muscle for protection over the rib cage and in the neck.
- Speed and endurance training, to prevent fatigue in later rounds and help the fighter to stay alert.
- Good flexibility training will help keep the muscles healthy and ready to move as needed.
The 3 Best Boxing Stretches
Boxing stretches are one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.
Below are 3 of the best stretches for boxing; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions with each stretch, and if you currently have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain please take extra care when performing the stretches below, or consult with your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the following stretches.
Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
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Research and References
- Walker, B. (2011). The Anatomy of Stretching, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1583943717)
- Potter, M. Snyder, A. Smith, G. (2011). Boxing injuries presenting to US emergency departments, 1990–2008. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(4), 462-467.
- Loosemore, M. Lightfoot, J. Palmer-Green, D. Gatt, I. Bilzon, J. Beardsley, C. (2015). Boxing injury epidemiology in the Great Britain team: a 5-year surveillance study of medically diagnosed injury incidence and outcome. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49(17), 1100-1107.
- Estwanik, J. Boitano, M. Ari, N. (1984). Amateur boxing injuries at the 1981 and 1982 USA/ABF national championships. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 12(10), 123-128.
- Kokkonen, J. Nelson, A. Eldredge, C. Winchester, J. (2007) Chronic Static Stretching Improves Exercise Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Volume 39 – Issue 10 – pp 1825-1831.
- Shellock, F, Prentice, W. (1985) Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. Sports Medicine, 2(4):267-78.
- Fradkin, A. Zazryn, T. Smoliga, J. (2010) Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(1):140-8.
About the Author: Brad Walker is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.
Disclaimer: The health and fitness information presented on this website is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises described on this website, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain.