Boxing is one of the most intense sports in the world, a sport that demands extreme focus and dedication, both physically and mentally. Oh, and it’s also a really fun way of getting fit too!
Before you start thinking boxing is only for people who want to be able to step into the ring with the likes of Amir Khan and have to guzzle down eggs before a run like Rocky, think again. Boxing is a really great way of getting in shape, learning some self-defence skills and building your overall confidence – the best part is, anyone can do it.
Warming up before any sport is vital as it helps get your muscles ready for physical exertion and reduces the risk of causing damage to your muscles and organs significantly, but warming up before a boxing match, sparring or even boxing training is especially important.
Here are the best warm ups for boxers:
Skipping rope is by far one of the best exercises a boxer can do to warm up as it loosens everything up, raises your heart rate, warms your body and your muscles up and prepares your body and breathing for what is to come. Whether you’re about to step foot into the ring or about to start sparring with your trainer, the skipping rope is the first thing you should be reaching for. Start with alternating steps and build up to higher knees after about 2 – 3 minutes. For the last part of the warm-up start jumping high and getting double rope turns per jump. A skipping warm up should last around 10 minutes. Alternate each exercise so you’re skipping normally for 4 minutes and double jumping for 1 minute.
Duck and weave
Tie a rope or piece of string from one corner of the ring to the other. Start at one end with the string just touching your right shoulder. With your guard up throw a 1-2 punch and then duck underneath as if someone has thrown a hook at you, come back up the other side whilst shuffling forward and throw a 1-2 punch again. Keep doing this whilst moving forward and keeping your back straight at all times until you reach the other end. Cross the ring 4-6 times. This will get your arms ready for throwing punches, your hips ready for ducking and weaving and help with your footwork.
Shadow sparring / shadow boxing
Shadow sparring is an essential part of your warm up and should never be skipped. This warm up technique gives your body a chance to practice the skills you need in the ring and will also start to activate all of the muscles needed for boxing. Start slow throwing single jabs and crosses, ideally in front of a mirror and then start throwing combinations whilst ducking and weaving. Move around whilst practicing your footwork and start increasing the ferocity and speed of your punches.
Parry return drills
Get in the ring with your partner and get them to start throwing punches at you at half the power they would normally throw them. Concentrate on parrying with a quick return and moving out of the way. Only ever throw one return and just focus on moving out of the way. Stay close so they’re not just chasing you – you want them to be able to throw the punch. This helps get you ready for moving around the ring and will encourage good blocking and parrying technique.
No boxing warm up is complete without pad work. Start by throwing light jabs and crosses at your partner’s pads and then gradually increase the intensity and power. Move on to combinations with plenty of hooks, ducking, weaving and returning. This will really get your fists ready for the bout ahead. If you’re just doing it for exercise it will strengthen fist and work muscles you didn’t even know you had!
With these exercises in the can, you’ll be completely warmed up and ready to rumble. Enjoy.
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