It’s no secret that in 12 rounds, a Mayweather Boxing + Fitness class will effectively target and challenge your upper body, lower body, core strength and cardiovascular fitness. While every movement and exercise performed during a class is strategically selected and is critical for reaching your fitness goals, there is another very important aspect which is often neglected: stretching. While boxing is an extremely effective workout, it is also high-impact and takes a toll on your body after a long-period of time. In order to be able to give your best each and every class and maintain a consistent workout regimen over a sustained period of time, stretching is key. Below are some of the most effective stretches targeted specifically for boxers and the muscles used during a Mayweather Boxing + Fitness workout.
One body part that many people forget to stretch – but is very important for boxers – is the neck. Defensive boxing movements require a lot of flexibility and mobility from your whole body and keeping your neck loose is very important. Prior to each workout, especially if you’re taking a morning class shortly after you wake up, you should stretch out your neck and prepare your body for exercise. By simply putting your head to each shoulder and holding for several seconds, you begin to activate and lengthen your neck muscles. If the ring is available, you can also lie on your back at the edge of the ring and let your head hang off the ring. Using gravity in that way helps increased blood flow and allows for alleviation of natural pressure and stress build up.
Stretching your chest is very important for boxers and is often overlooked, as well. With each punch that you throw, you actively use your entire upper body, especially your shoulders, chest and pectoral muscles, in order to deliver a powerful punch. Prior to taking your Mayweather Boxing + Fitness class, it is a good idea to gently stretch out your chest. Place your arm one of the boxing bags so that is is fully stretched out to your side, and gently twist your upper body away from the bag to feel a stretch in your shoulder and chest. This particular movement is important not to rush as boxers should be highly aware not to force their shoulders into a harsh movement before they are warmed up. Rotating on both sides, you should feel your entire chest area begin to loosen up. As you feel more stretched out, you can increase your range of motion in your rotations.
Awakening your entire spine from top to bottom is another very important movement for boxers to get into the habit of doing. While this move may seem simple, it is highly effective in waking up your spine and preparing your core for high impact exercises, which is one of the foundations for your boxing. Standing with your feet hip distance, slowly roll your upper body towards the floor, especially focusing on rolling vertebrae by vertebrae in order to individually activate the entire spine. The slowed-down attention to each section of the spine allows your body to more completely loosen up and helps avoid back pain or core pain or injury. Take slow breaths as your are rolling down in order to bring plenty of oxygen into your muscles, and repeat the stretch twice.
Finally, most of a boxer’s power comes from their hips, so it is very important to stretch your hip flexors and open your hips prior to and following your workout. Kneeling on one knee, you can bring your other foot up towards your hands and go into a deep lunge. The more flexible you are, the deeper you can press into the lunge and bring your chest closer to the floor. This runner’s lunge opens up your hips, which allows boxers to be more aggressive and agile with their defensive movements and bring more explosive power into their offensive punches.