WE place huge emphasis on strength, speed and fitness when structuring a physical training plan for a boxer. A boxer also needs fast hands, great footwork, coordination, balance and great lateral movement. Having the mobility to float around the ring and use the right muscles at the right time is essential for you to harness the physical characteristics required for high performance. Mobility and movement training also helps reduce muscular imbalances and reduce likelihood of injury. This doesn’t often get boxers excited … but what if we told you it will also improve your punching force?
Movement and mobility isn’t just about static stretching either. You can improve the way you produce force and glide around the ring with dynamic, flowing, explosive exercises.
Shoulder Mobility for Boxing
“Hands up, chin down” is often the coaching point to a defensive guard, requiring rounding the upper back and shrugging the shoulders. If you’re throwing 100’s of punches thrown in a week’s training, the anterior shoulder and trapezius muscles can become over-active.
This alone can cause shoulder mobility issues for boxers. Large volumes of strength exercises like press ups and shoulder press further confound the issue meaning shoulder mobility should be a focus for boxers.
Poor shoulder mobility often creates over-active anterior deltoids and upper traps, causing the middle and lower traps become weak which affects the natural movement of the shoulder and arm. This can also cause shoulder impingement, rotator cuff weakness and lower-back injuries.
Mobility training can improve this.
Following eight weeks of movement training, mean overall FMS scores increased by 9%. Stand out improvements were seen in overhead squat (2.1 vs 2.6 out of 3) left shoulder mobility (1.62 vs 2.8 out of 3) (pre vs post).
This Affects your Rotational Mobility!
Rotational mobility is needed to transfer force from ‘foot to fist’ when delivering punches.
However, tightness in muscles across the thoracic spine can limit rotation, causing the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) to play a big role during rotation.
The QL is a muscle in the side of the lower back. Over activity can cause lower back pain. You can use a foam roller, spend money on a sports massage and try numerous ways to stretch it to make it feel better, but this is likely to be only a short term fix.
To make beneficial long-term changes, you should focus on improving thoracic and core rotation. This will reduce the compensatory patterns of the QL and use the preferred muscles in your kinetic chain.