The Warm Up: Why it is Necessary
Getting your body ready for a training session is crucial for preventing injury and performing at your peak. Your arms can’t put out hard punches and your mind can’t focus if your body isn’t ready to move.
A dynamic warm up before boxing is a sure way to wake up your body and get your workout started right. Warming up before exercising will increase performance and decrease the risk of injury. That’s why we always start our sessions off with a dynamic boxing warm up to help you get the most out of your Gloveworx session.
Here’s all you need to know about warming up, and why it’s necessary.
The Benefits of Warming Up
A good boxing warm-up before you start training gets your body physically ready for the more high intensity exercises, the main focus of your workout. Warming up has numerous benefits including:
- Increasing blood flow to working muscles;
- Raising core body temperature;
- Enhancing joint mobility; and
- Mental preparation.
Increased Blood Flow
Increasing your blood flow is the main reason you want to warm up before boxing. More blood flow brings oxygenated blood to areas of your body that don’t usually receive as much of it on a regular basis.
Often, your extremities, like your hands and feet, don’t get as much blood flow as the rest of your body, making them colder, stiffer, and less agile. Getting blood throughout your entire body helps get oxygen to all of your muscles, ensuring a better cardiovascular output and aerobic energy production.
Raised Core Temperature
As you move to increase circulation throughout your body, you raise your core temperature and start to sweat. However, sweat isn’t the only indication of warming up—there are effects internally as well. Raising your core temperature helps ensure that your muscles and connective tissue are oxygenated enough to perform demanding movements.
Enhanced Joint Mobility
While blood flow and core temperature affect your muscles and connective tissues, they also affect the mobility of your joints. As every part of your body heats up, the increased temperature and blood around the body lubricate your joints and make you more flexible, faster, and stronger.
Warming up is a great way to prepare mentally for your training session. It’s easy to go through life with a cloudy mind, focusing on all of the things you have to do, want to do, or letting stress overtake your thoughts. A warm up is a great way to ground yourself, become present, and get your mind on the same page as your body while you’re going through your exercises.
Warming Up vs Stretching
While warming up is different for everyone, generally, you want to complete active, aerobic exercises that force you to move. Many people assume that stretching is a type of warm up, but it is in fact, a static activity that could cause injury if performed when your muscles are too stiff. Static stretching should be considered part of your cool down, rather than your warm-up.
If you’re not sure how to warm up before boxing, consider speed walking or jogging, jumping rope, or using the stationary bike for several minutes. You can always ask a Gloveworx coach for a warm-up tailored to your needs.
Dynamic Stretching for Warming Up
While static stretching isn’t a good idea during a warm-up, dynamic stretching is another story. Unlike static stretching which involves holding a stretch without movement, dynamic stretching is a more movement-oriented type of stretching. Dynamic stretches are designed to improve mobility while moving through a range-of-motion.
For example, you might use static stretching for your hamstrings by putting your feet together and folding forward to reach your toes, and holding there for 15-20 seconds. A dynamic hamstring stretch may include lifting your legs, alternating each leg, up as high as you can without bending the knee, and meeting your toe with your opposite hand. You might continue this for 30 seconds. Here, you’re still stretching your hamstrings but you’re not holding the stretch for long. You’re also engaged in more movement so you’re including other parts of your body in the warm-up, and you’re slowly bringing up your heart rate.
Static stretching is not the enemy here; it’s a great way to improve flexibility and range of motion. It simply works better after a workout as a cool down.
Warm-Up Exercises for Boxing
Here are some great boxing warm-up drills to try out before your next training session.
Start off with light cardio exercises, like jumping rope, shadow boxing, or jogging. These are familiar exercises for boxers and are all great ways to start elevating the heart rate, raising your core temperature, and getting you ready for more strenuous exercises. Start off simple and include more intermediate moves as you get warmed up.
For example, if your jumping rope, start with your feet together. When you feel ready, move on to alternating toe to heel action or other moves you want to include.
You should go on for 5-10 minutes altogether with your cardio warm up.
Strengthening & Mobility Exercises
Light cardio is a great way to get the blood flowing and the heart rate going while strengthening exercises help to warm up the specific muscle groups that you plan on working. It’s a good idea to include some lighter strength training drills in your warm-up routine. Exercises like squats, lunges, glute bridges, and push-ups are a great way to get those muscles going. You can do these exercises with light weights or just your body weight.
Go for 8-10 reps, for 20 seconds each, doing 1-2 sets.
Once your body and muscles are a little warmer, you can include some dynamic stretching in the mix. This can include things like arms circles and swings, shoulder circles, neck mobility exercises, leg swings, and calf bounces.
Shoot for 6-10 repetitions for each exercise.
For some higher intensity movements, finish off your boxing warm up with pad work. Throw punching combinations into hook and jab pads held by your Gloveworx coach or sparring partner. Start off by making light contact with the pad and gradually increase your power and speed.
You can do this for 3-6 minutes, depending on your fitness level. Remember not to use 100% of your effort, as you don’t want to tire out before your actual training session begins. You want to get your heart rate up, but not to the point where you can’t hold a conversation.
Time to Get Moving!
When you first start making a dynamic warm-up routine part of your training, it may take a little more out of you than you initially expect. Over time, your body will adapt and you’ll start to perform better as your body warms up more efficiently. Soon, you’ll be moving better in the ring and out in the world as well. Add a warm-up before boxing and experience the difference in your workout regimen.
Join us at Gloveworx to get a customized warm-up routine along with your training session!