No matter if you’re in the ring, shadowboxing, doing heavy bag work or training with punch mitts maintaining a proper fighting stance keeps you ready to react. However, holding this body position for long periods of time can lead to extreme fatigue and muscle tightness. This muscle pain may be worse when you first start training, introduce a new style of training, or after a hard workout/intense competition. Foam rolling and stretching are not usually the first thing you want to do after a taxing workout, but introducing this into your routine will help you recover faster.
Although it's not as enjoyable as getting a massage, foam rolling is thought to have many of the same benefits and for a fraction of the cost. Foam rolling breaks up adhesions, decreases soreness, reduces stiffness, increases blood flow and reduces tissue tension. All this will lead to improved recovery time. After an intense workout or competition, ignoring your muscle pain can lead to longer lasting mobility issues.
After keeping your muscles tense in your fight stance you'll want to help your muscles relax by stretching. Stretching accelerates the healing process by increasing blood flow. You'll be able to bounce back faster after an intense workout or competition when you take time to stretch for just a few minutes. In addition to recovery benefits, being more flexible will help your performance as an athlete as well. Regular flexibility training helps maintain range of motion, strength of muscles, and prevent injury.
AREAS TO FOCUS ON
In your fight stance your quads are always working hard. If you’ve got a good crouch and good ring movement, your quadriceps will almost never be relaxed when you’re in the ring. Rolling and stretching your quads will help a lot with your overall recovery. If you don't properly stretch your quads, the next time you visit your fight stance the muscle fatigue will come faster.
While in your fight stance you have you chin slightly down, arms up to protect your face, which often results in a slight rounding forward of the shoulders. This stance is great for boxing, but we want to make sure that we are releasing this forward tension after to resume our normal posture. Foam roll by extending the thoracic spine over the roller and begin rolling slowly up and down the vertebrae. Find some stretches for your back that work best for you, while focusing on good posture in the neck and spine.
The constant movement in the ring and when in training can cause a lot of soreness in this area. The anterior tibialis (the muscle that runs along the outside edge of the shin bone) gets worked a lot when doing lateral movements and directional changes, while the calf helps with your explosive movements. These are both very important in the sport of boxing. Use a foam roller to release tension in this area and stretch to relax the muscles. If you find you need a deeper release, you can try using a massage ball or tennis ball to release tension in more specific areas.
Tight hip flexors are a common issue among athletes. The main reason your hip flexor feels tight is that you likely exceeded its ability to handle the training you were doing. When you're in fight mode the adrenaline often kicks in and we do whatever it takes to win, including pushing out bodies past its limit. Foam rolling and stretching will help your hip flexors recover. Once the hip flexors are recovered you can start focusing on strengthening exercises.
Focusing on recovery is not always fun, but it's an integral part of our training routine as athletes. Even if you don't experience extreme muscle pain foam rolling and stretching can help prevent injury and improve your performance.