Stretching is Important
I’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!