Boxing Injuries and How to Avoid Them

If there is one thing that is preventing boxers from going back to health and do routing activities right after the fight, that’s an injury. In Vancouver, they would usually get the help of a chiropractic service just to alleviate the pain.

Top Five Boxing Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Boxing is a contact sport and you can get hurt if you engage in this activity. When injuries do occur, you have to understand that there are a few things that you can do to deal with them. Here are some common injuries that boxers suffer.

  1. Fracture

This happens when you punch a hard object with the wrong technique. While most common among beginners, this can happen to professional fighters as well. This can occur mostly in the middle finger because it is where most of the force of the punch is concentrated.

To deal with this problem, you have to develop your punching technique and make sure that you deliver your punches correctly. Make sure that it is your knuckles that will hit your target and not your fingers.

  1. Laceration

Lacerations or cuts usually happens when your hit with a punch. This usually occurs around the area of the eyes. If its a minor one, there is really not much that you need to do. You just make sure that you receive treatment immediately so it will not lead to infections.

To deal with this problem, you make sure that your skin is well hydrated with Vaseline because it’s usually dry skin that gets lacerated. This technique also prevents nosebleeds.

  1. Trigger finger

This injury happens when your finger gets locked in the position like pulling the trigger, hence, the “trigger finger”. This happens to boxers because they have clenched fists most of the time. As you tighten your finger to form a hard fist, the trigger finger develops.

To prevent this, you have to soak your hand and fingers with warm water every after a workout to allow it to relax. Try also to stretch your fingers on intervals during training so it does not lock in place. Massaging your hands will also help with this problem.

  1. Carpal bossing

Carpal bossing happens when a lump at the back of the boxer’s hands where the bones of all the fingers and your wrist meet. Repeated punching over a long period of time is the cause of this injury.

Make sure to wear protective gloves while training on a punching bag and while sparring. The weight of the gloves should be exactly 16 ounces to be protective enough. You should also recheck your wrapping technique and see if the knuckles are well protected with it.

  1. Shoulder impingement

Repeated blows to the shoulder joint is the main cause of this injury. You know you have this when you experience pain when moving your arm.

To deal with this problem, you just make sure that you have proper warm up around your shoulder and ligaments before each workout. You also have to avoid getting hit in the area.

Do boxers need to take protein powder?

To answer this question, we must first stick to some facts.  This will enable us to better answer the question about whether or not boxers need to take protein powder.

Can they get all proteins from food?

Those who are athletes know how difficult this is.  Most of the food, besides containing proteins, contain other large portions of other substances that are not necessarily in the best interest of a boxer.  Now, there are some times when, after a strenuous workout, a boxer might need some help building up muscle.  A decent amount of protein powder might help.  Remember that a supplement is something that fills in a need.   When it comes to boxing, getting all proteins from food can be difficult.

A boxer getting all their supplements from a healthy breakfast is on a good path.  Nevertheless, consider that a boxer’s body needs to build muscle in order to perform at their best.

Everything with measure

It is not alcohol, yet even protein powder should be taken with measure.  It has been known that excessive consumption of protein powder can cause kidney issues and failure.  So boxers should be careful of the amount of protein they intake and when they do.

Plus, these substances can have an adverse effect on some individuals.  So, they usually take things with precaution.  Take a supplement only when it is needed.

Boxing enhancement

Creatine monohydrate is especially good to increase strength, power at the upper and lower body, and increase high-intensity exercise capacity.  This one is present on most protein powders along with whey protein.  Those who have tried creatine suggest you use it during a time of no combat just to check how it adds up to your weight.  There are reports indicating that creatine can increase your body weight.

B-Alanine is another amino acid that does not really increase strength or performance.  Instead, it helps improve the anaerobic threshold.  In other words, you should be able to perform at high intensity for a longer time.  This is especially useful if you want to hone a particular technique.

The consumption of protein by boxers is justified in that this is one type of activity that requires more protein than the average person.  This does not mean that it is open to abuse.  Most boxers will seek to supply their protein needs through a good meal.

If you would like to know which is the best protein powder for you, Workout N Recover is an organization that reviews many supplements out there.  Take a look-see and check how they can help you decide which way to go.

Preventing Injuries in Sparring Sessions

A boxing match is inherently dangerous for the boxers involved; however, what many people don’t realize is how safe and controlled the training aspect of boxing really is. Unlike high-contact sports like rugby and football, training for boxing typically consists of a workout routine, albeit an immensely exhausting routine, that doesn’t usually incorporate any contact other than glove-to-bag. The main avenue for a training routine that involves a high level of physical contact is sparring, which is highly controlled and supervised, and unlike a fight, is often broken up by the trainers for intermittent advice on technique.

That said, like all sports, there is still room for injury, especially when sparring is incorporated into the routine, as this adds one additional factor into the mix. Furthermore, sparring is very exhausting, so pushing through fatigue can lead to a training athlete being a little more vulnerable to injuries. In this article, we would like to provide a few tips for reducing the chances of an injury in training (in addition to proper stretching), but especially sparring.

  1. Matching Fighters – This should go without saying, but sparring should involve two fighters who are similar in weight-class, and who are at similar skill levels. This doesn’t always have to be the case. For example, if the focus is on advancing the skillset of one of the fighters in particular, then the “opponent” may be a more advanced fighter, but one who understand exactly what the purpose of the sparring session is. In other words, they shouldn’t be going all out, but rather, acting as a tool for the trainers to show the other fighter the ropes. Therefore, if you are new to the boxing scene, never try and overplay your abilities. Be honest about where you feel you’re at in your training, and you will be able to get the most out of your training and minimize the risk of injury at the same time.
  2. Vaseline – Always coat your face and sparring gear in Vaseline or something similar before hopping in the ring. This includes the padding of your headgear, especially on the forehead and cheek padding (if applicable), and definitely the nose. Additionally, the front of your gloves should be coated with Vaseline, which will help punches slide off your opponent better. You can also apply some to your shoulder and arms if you feel it’s appropriate. To be clear, you will still feel any punches the opponent lands on you, and vice versa, but this technique can go a long way in minimizing any damage, especially in terms of cuts.
  3. Bracing – If you are coming off any sort of joint injury, such as a sprained knee or ankle, or a sprained wrist, be sure to have the joint properly wrapped or braced, but in a way that won’t put your sparring partner in any danger (so no exposed hard plastic). This can be easy enough for the wrist, as your hand wraps will already provide a good form of splinting, and you can add an additional brace under your gloves if necessary. What we find to be underrated is the use of a brace on the lower limbs. Boxing involves lots of cutting and other rapid changes in direction, and when sparring, it’s not uncommon to see partners step on each other’s toes, especially if one is a south-paw or they are just inexperienced in general. One brace a lot of our fighters have started using is the Zamst AX-D2 ankle brace, which is most popular for having help NBA superstar Steph Curry play through and prevent further ankle injuries. The site braceaccess.com also has a lot of other options explained in detail, so check that out for more information.
  4. Conditions – One thing I always appreciated as a boxer was when the trainer didn’t allow any sparring on excessively hot and humid days that steamed up the gym, unless it was at the very start of the training session and only a light sparring session. Injuries don’t always take the form of a sprain, strain, or cut, but can also be in the form of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Plus, throwing a fighter in the ring when they are incredibly exhausted is just asking for trouble. So make your own judgment here, but just keep an eye on the conditions and how the guys in the gym are responding to them.

When all is said and done, these are pretty obvious tips that most trainers are already well-aware of. That said, they are extremely important to stick to. Deviating from this, or getting lazy and simply thinking “whatever” is when injuries are most likely to happen, so stay on course and always incorporate the highest level of safety into your sparring sessions. This will help keep you in the ring, and ultimately, allow you to get the most out of your training. Now, get after it!

Tips for Throwing a Left Hook

The Left Hook

left_hook

The left hook is often a very difficult punch to learn how to throw properly. It’s not as simply as just swinging your arm wildly in front of you. Instead, there are precise mechanical movements that should be followed in order to attain maximum punching power in a way that won’t injure your hand or wrist.

Warm Up

We discussed warm up techniques for boxing in a previous article, but if you are simply planning on shadow boxing for more rounds than usual in order to learn the proper technique of the left hook, then something as simple as skipping with a jump rope followed by light dynamic stretching could be adequate.

Stance and Foot Movement

The stance during a left hook is the same as any other punch. If you are a classic boxer (right hand back, left hand in front), then your left foot will be in front and the right in the back, as usual. Remember to maintain good balance with feet approximately shoulder width apart and on the balls of your feet and knees bent. Then, as you begin throwing the left hook, your left foot will turn in so that your toes are pointing to the right (just the toes on your left foot, don’t twist your right foot).

Arm Motion

When learning a left hook, I always found it useful to maintain a 90 degree angle at the elbow joint at all times, at least when first learning. You will want to bring your left elbow up to the height of your chin so that your fist is now pointing towards the right. Then, on the follow through, it’s often helpful to imagine that if you miss with your fist, then hit your opponent with your elbow. Of course, this is illegal and you don’t want to actually hit them with your elbow, but it helps maintain proper technique especially when first learning.

Return

When bringing your fist back towards you after the actual punch, it’s extremely easy to unknowingly drop your hands. Remember, your opponent is looking for openings, so make sure to keep that fist up and elbow by your side.

Practicing

When you practice this punch at the gym or at home, make sure to start slow and potentially practice different phases of the punch at a time. Go slow at first, because the hardest part of this punch is simply coordinating all the movements into a smooth powerful flow.

Avoiding Inuries

If you are practicing the left hook, try and avoid the heavy bag until you feel comfortable with the proper technique. By getting lazy or purely by accident, many fighters will injure their wrists on this punch. Aside from technique, one way to help reduce the risk of wrist injury is making sure your boxing gloves have appropriate protection. This doesn’t just mean padding up front at the knuckles, but good tight wrist support is also necessary.

Stretching for Boxing

Stretching is Important

stretchingI’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before, but stretching is extremely important for injury prevention as well as performance. However, given that it’s extremely boring, it can be really difficult to do. Additionally, if you go a few training sessions without stretching and feel fine, it could be difficult to believe that it has any effect at all, at least in terms of performance and injury prevention.

Why Stretch Before a Workout?

Stretching before a workout seems a little more logical, so you’re basically “loosening up”. That being said, fitness researchers have found that normal, or “static” stretching can actually decrease peak power output if performed immediately before training or the actual event.

In this case, it’s better to perform some type of dynamic stretching. For example, instead of a boring sit-and-reach stretch that you hold for 30 seconds in an uncomfortable position, it may be better to do something like leg swings where you are still reaching the stretching point, but are still actively moving.

This way, you are still loosening up and are also getting your muscles ready for more coordinated movements. Specific to boxing, instead of doing upper body static stretching before a workout, try some form of dynamic stretching like 50 wide arm circles in each direction. This will also get the blood flowing and act as a segue into your typical warmup.

What About Post-Workout?

Post-workout is a bit different. You are already warm and likely exhausted. As long as you perform a proper active cool down and aren’t just going from 100% to 0%, then static stretching will be ideal. This is when you can do the classic stretches like sit-and-reach that you would hold for about 30 seconds.

Can You Be Too Flexible?

Some think so, but generally speaking, this isn’t usually something to worry about in boxing. In sports like football where you are cutting on a dime and digging cleats into the turf, then having extremely loose knee joints could be a problem and may lead to some injuries. That being said, this is necessarily from stretching too much, because you would really have to be stretching an insane amount, but instead from previous injuries where there may be missing ligaments or other stabilizing structures.

Should I Stretch At Home?

This is always a tough question to answer, because it really depends on your training and how flexible you are that given day. We would recommend some light stretching on your day off, but again, not too close to your workout or boxing match, because you may lose a tiny bit of power. But if you are feeling tight, sore, or simply need to increase your range of motion, then stretching is often the best method.

Take Home Message

Our take home message is that you should never avoid stretching. Yes, it can be boring and takes some time, but if you end up with an injury that could have been prevented or are constantly stiff and sore, you may end up kicking yourself. If you can keep in mind the simple difference between dynamic and static stretching, then you are already ahead of the game!

Boxing Nutrition Advice

Glycemic Index

GIOne thing that many boxers don’t know about, especially recreational boxers, is something called the glycemic index. In short, the glycemix index (GI) is a number that gives you an indication about how a particular food item will affect your blood sugar levels on a scale of 1-100, but most foods fall within 50-100. For example, pure sugar would have a value of 100, whereas something like a carrot has a much lower value around 35-40.

Why Does This Matter?

The GI comes into play primarily when preparing for training. Endurance athletes will typically consume foods that have a low glycemic index as the rise in blood sugar is very gradual and prolonged. So it’s a gradual rise followed by a gradual fall. In something like long distance running, this is beneficial because there is a constant supply of fuel, albeit low levels.

On the other hand, sprint-style athletes often consume food with higher a higher GI. If their event only lasts seconds or minutes, then a spike in blood sugar could be beneficial, as long as they don’t experience the “crash” while in their particular event.

What About Boxing?

There isn’t one particular food product or pattern to follow when boxing. It all depends on what your training will consist of that day. If you are going to be working on technique that will take some time and plan on being in the gym for a while, we would recommend foods with a lower GI. If you’re coming in with the plan to squeeze in a workout at very high intensity, then likely a higher GI food will be good for that.

For a comprehensive list of foods and their associated GI, please click here.

What about recovery?

GI can make a difference during recovery, but it doesn’t have as much of an influence on performance as the preparation phase. The main thing that matters is you are adequately refueling and are taking in a good proportion of carbs and protein. For workouts like boxing training, it is often recommended that a 3:1 carb to protein ratio within 45 minutes of exercise is best.

So what types of food have this ratio? Surprising to many, one of the absolute best foods, or in this case drinks, is chocolate milk! Finally, something that tastes delicious and is beneficial for your fitness! Generally speaking, about 500ml of chocalte milk post-workout should do. If there is lots of resistance training involved, then supplementing with a few more grams of protein could also be beneficial.

This doesn’t mean you should just sit around and drink chocolate milk all day. You still need to work out, and you need to consume it in moderation. Chocolate milk not your thing? A couple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread is also a great option. Again, depending on the workout, and how you typically eat on a daily basis (we are all on a budget) then some supplementation may be necessary. This could include vitamins, whey protein, and perhaps green veggie powders.

At the end of the day, the main thing that matters is you are conscious about the food you are eating and how it may affect your performance. If you know about GI, preparation, and recover, then you’re on a good pace towards an effective nutritional plan for boxing!