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The 10 Best Stretches for Boxing

To stay injury-free in boxing, you need a proper stretching program. Boxing sessions can be rather vigorous and high intensity, so you’ll want to incorporate the best stretches into your routine. Stretching will help prepare your muscles for exercise, as well as prevent injuries during your session so you can punch and jab away. 

What Muscles Are Used in Boxing? 

The upper body is the predominant force in boxing, so you use your pectorals (chest muscles), deltoids (shoulder muscles), biceps and triceps (arm muscles), and your spine. However, you still want to use your hip muscles to help facilitate trunk rotation and power. 


But there’s also one muscle that is used a lot that has the distinct identity as the “boxer’s muscle”. The Serratus muscle, which is located between the ribs and the scapula, helps protract your shoulder blades, which happens in a punching motion. Hence, the nickname boxer’s muscle. 

Common Boxing Injuries

Sprains, strains, dislocations, and ligament tears to the legs and shoulders are common boxing injuries due to the amount of force your body generates to throw a punch. 

Among these injuries, boxers can be subject to:

  • Sprained wrists
  • Sprained fingers
  • Broken nose
  • Concussion
  • Fractured ribs

As such, it's important to stretch these areas. We recommend trying out some rib stretches to build the chest.

Why is Stretching Important for Boxing? 

Stretching for boxing is one of the best techniques for improving athletic performance, reducing injury risk, and accelerating workout recovery. When you stretch prior to boxing, you are effectively warming up your muscles and preparing them for activity, while stretching after boxing helps reduce lactic acid buildup and keeps your body healthy. 


The same goes for kickboxing and Muay Thai. Since kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing require a lot of cardio and have high injury risk, stretching before kickboxing can drastically improve your physical performance. In general, stretching before martial arts is encouraged. 

Best Boxing Stretches

If you’re getting ready for your next boxing workout, try out these 10 best boxing stretches to supercharge your performance and recover stronger and faster. These stretches are a combination of static stretches and dynamic stretches. 

10. Hip Circles

Hip circles help actively move your hip through its full range of motion. Considering the variability in punches thrown in boxing, hip circles will help prepare your body for all angles.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start standing, feet shoulder width apart, and raise your right leg up to hip height so it’s at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Slowly, rotate your right hip out to the right side, so it is now parallel to your hip.
  3. Then, rotate your hip again, this time backwards, so your right hip and knee are now behind you. Toes should be facing down. 
  4. That makes 1 hip circle in a clockwise direction. Repeat 10x and switch sides. 

9. Forearm and Bicep Stretch

Holding tension in the arms is paramount when boxing, as your grip when throwing punches helps produce power. Stretching the forearm will help alleviate tightness in your wrist, while stretching the biceps will loosen up your elbow and shoulder. 


Here are the steps:


  1. Start by reaching your right arm in front of you at shoulder height, with your wrist flexed and fingers pointed down. Reach your right arm out straight in front of you with your fingers pointed down
  2. Using your left hand, gently push on your right hand to increase the range of motion and feel the stretch in your forearm, and hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Once finished, flex your right wrist up this time so your fingers are pointed to the sky.
  4. Now, take your left hand and gently push your right hand back to feel a stretch in your wrist extensors and bicep and hold for 10 seconds. 
  5. Then, switch arms and remember to keep your elbow straight at all times.

8. Assisted Reverse Chest Stretch

Boxing moves entail a lot of shoulder flexion, with your arms in front of you. So in order to counterbalance the shoulder flexion, use the assisted reverse chest stretch to encourage shoulder extension. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by standing about 6-12 inches in front of a table.
  2. Then, grab the edge of the table with each hand and start to lower your body towards the ground. You should feel a nice stretch in the biceps, chest, and shoulders.  

7. Calf and Thigh Release

The calf and thigh release helps promote flexibility throughout your lower body. Since it is more of a static stretch, it can be performed at any time of day to help loosen up your legs.

Here are the steps:


  1. Start sitting upright on your Yoga Strong Mat with both legs parallel in front of you.
  2. Keeping your right leg extended, bend your left leg and place the bottom of your left foot on the inner thigh of your right leg. Your left knee should be splayed out wide. 
  3. Then, start to hinge at your hips and reach down your right leg for your toes. If you cannot reach your ties, gently hold the stretch with your hands on your shins. 
  4. Breathe and hold for 20 seconds and switch legs

6. Rotating Stomach Stretch

Keeping your abdominal muscles extensible is another important aspect of maintaining flexibility for boxing. Stretching the abs properly with this rotating stomach stretch also helps loosen up your thoracic spine.


Here are the steps:


  1. Lie face down on your Yoga Strong Mat with your hands next to your shoulders.
  2. Then, start to press up from your hands with an arched spine,  while keeping your hips, knees, and feet on the ground.
  3. Next, slightly bend your left elbow and rotate your left shoulder to the ground.
  4. At the same time, look towards the right to feel the stretch on the left side.
  5. Hold for 10 seconds and switch sides. 

5. Standing Toe Calf and Achilles Stretch

Ankle mobility is extremely important for the health of your achilles and knees, and the best way to achieve good ankle mobility is with the standing toe calf and achilles stretch. 


Here are the steps:


  1. Begin standing in front of a step or stairs.
  2. To start, take your right foot and place the ball of your right foot on the step. Your toes should be in the air and not on the step.
  3. Then, start to lean forward to increase the stretch in the calf and achilles. 

4. Arm Swings

Arm swings are one of the most common martial arts stretches to do. Encouraging shoulder mobility through full range of motion will also help keep your shoulders healthy when boxing. Using arms wings as a dynamic warm-up is a great tool to promote flexibility and maintain shoulder strength.


Here are the steps:


  1. Start standing with your arms by your sides.
  2. When ready, raise your arms in front of you and start to make big circles going clockwise with your arms. 
  3. With control, pretend like you’re touching every digit on the clock (12,1,2,etc.) 
  4. Repeat clockwise 5x through, then switch directions and perform the arm circles counterclockwise. 

3. Leg Curls

Leg curls help open up the hamstrings and quads, while lubricating the knee and preparing you for your boxing session. With this dynamic movement, you will also get your heart rate up, making it a great warm-up exercise. 


Here are the steps:


  1. Begin standing, feet shoulder width apart. 
  2. To start, lightly jog in place to get going..
  3. Then, go ahead and kick your heel behind you towards  your butt with each step.
  4. Once you have the motion down, start moving forward while doing the leg curls.

2. Calf to Hamstrings

The posterior side of your legs, which is the back side, can be prone to tightness. Utilizing stretches such as the calf to hamstrings stretch, attacking the entire posterior chain, from your feet to your butt, is important.


Here are the steps:


  1. Lie on your back, feet extended, with your Yoga Strong Strap at your side.
  2. To begin, loop the strap over your right foot and firmly hold the ends of the strap. Pull your leg up trying to reach a 90 degree angle.
  3. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. 

1. Overhead Lat Stretches


Lat stretches are especially important because of the function of the lat muscles in connecting the shoulder to the spine, as well as covering the serratus muscle, the previously mentioned “boxer’s muscle.” And adding an overhead position with overhead lat stretches can increase the efficacy of the stretch. 


Here are the steps:

  1. Raise your right arm overhead, completely straight. 
  2. After that, grab your right wrist with your left. 
  3. Once you have a firm grasp, sway your hip to the right, as you pull your right wrist left side overhead. 

Benefits of Stretching for Boxers

Overall, stretching provides numerous benefits to boxers. Similar to stretches for tennis and stretches for volleyball, stretching promotes flexibility and range of motion. However, stretching will also help prevent injury and enhance performance.


Therefore, if you’re a boxer, it’s important to take stretching seriously, whether it’s before some light sparring or an actual match.



References:


Static vs. dynamic stretching: What are they and which should you do? Hospital for Special Surgery. (n.d.). https://www.hss.edu/article_static_dynamic_stretching.asp 

Knight, C. (2022, February 18). Why stretching is important for athletes? (top 5 tips) - gymnastics - stretching for men and women. Gymnastics. https://www.massgymnastics.org/stretching-tips/why-stretching-is-important-for-athletes-top-5-tips.html