Why you shouldn’t skimp on your warm up
After a long day at the office or at school, all you want to do is finally slip on your boxing gloves and get started with your workout. But this means that you’ll sometimes skip a thorough warm up. Yet, the warm up is extremely important, not just as a way to prevent injuries. The body temperature is increased to a good energetic level, your metabolism is stimulated, your muscles can perform better, which allows them to recover more quickly after your workout. What’s more, a correct warm up increases your ability to concentrate, which is especially important in boxing. But it is also important not to overdo it! If your warm up uses too much of your energy, your muscles will already by tired before you have even started your workout.
The correct way to warm up
You don’t have to always do a lot of boring jumps or skipping rope. With just a little imagination, you can add variety to your warm up. What’s important is to focus on the muscles that will get the most use later in your workout, so for boxing, this means to make sure your shoulders, wrists and perhaps your legs get a good, thorough warm up. If you have enough room, you can start by running a few laps to slowly activate the body. Rather than just running in circles, add various exercises and movements to your run. You can alternate your leg movements by pulling them up to the chest and back to your buttocks. Next, you can run sideways, or circle your arms while running. After about ten minutes of relaxed running, your muscles and joints should be warmed up. You can switch to walking, and then finish up by making slow, gentle circles with your wrists, head and neck.
If you don’t have that much room, skipping rope is another great way to warm up. Start slowly at a normal pace, then increase the intensity, then slow it down before you run out of breath. And to increase your concentration and coordination, you can add in little tricks, like criss-crossing the ropes or jumping on one leg. After 5-10 minutes of jumping rope, you should feel your muscles but not to the point that they are overly tired. Before you begin your workout, do one or two 2-minute rounds of shadow boxing, which involves punching into the air and boxing against an imaginary opponent. Beginners should start slowly and not use additional weights. Concentrate more on correct position and execution of each punch and punching techniques. At the end of your boxing session, increase the speed to around 80%. Now give yourself and your body a short moment to regain your full strength. Close your eyes, relax each individual muscle again and focus on the workout you are about to do. At this point, you should now have forgotten the stress of the day and everything else and be able to be fully present in the here and now.
The cool down after the workout
After the workout is just like before the workout, and this applies to boxing just like to every other sport. The body and mind have to ‘come down’ and get used to less physical effort and performance. To do this, take a tennis ball and gently bounce it on the floor like a basketball, while at the same time shifting your weight from one leg to the other. A short relaxed session of shadow boxing is also a good way to relax your muscles and bring your body back down to its normal temperature.