Do boxers really need shoulder flexibility? This question is often asked by trainers designing conditioning programs. The answer is rather simple. It can be found in study of boxing injuries. Shoulder dislocations and rotator cuff tears is rather common in boxing. Even pulled back muscles have a lot to do with the shoulder.
While boxing does not require extreme shoulder flexion or extension of the shoulder, it does require flexibility in other actions. Good lateral rotation allows the fighter to keep the guard up effortlessly. And a proper medial rotation helps to turn the shoulders in at the impact.
Besides the shoulder joint there is the scapula. Boxing is one of the few sports, which relies heavily on constant shoulder protraction and upward rotation. If the shoulder girdle does have range, injury will almost certainly take place. This means damage to bursa, biceps tendon and supraspinatus tendon. In many cases trapezius develops knots and rhomboids get pulled.
Lower and middle back compensation injuries are also common. Lack of reach the scapula forces the spine to over-rotate and over flex. This of course eventually injures the disks, muscles or ligaments.
The problem with most boxing stretches is that they are very general and not specific to boxing needs. Those standard relaxed stretches often relax and slow down the muscles. Our program uses kinesiological stretching techniques. These stretching techniques isolate each muscle. Muscle isolation allows to target boxers specific needs. At the same time, range of motion is quickly games, because the pain of stretch reflex is easily avoided. Together with stretching exercises, strength exercises are included. Strengthening allows to maintain the flexibility and to protect the joints in their vulnerable positions. Boxers using our program report increased shoulder ease of movement and less strain on the back and shoulders.
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