In this article, we introduce the importance and methods of an effective warm up, for optimal performance in the ring.
An effective warm-up can improve the rate of force development, reaction time, and oxygen delivery during exercise.
If we get the warm-up wrong, all our hard work in training could be undone, by doing too little or too much.
At Boxing Science, we use the ‘RAMP’ protocol to optimise performance in both competition and training.
The Warm Up Explained
Most successful boxing performances are a result of great amounts of technical, tactical, physical and psychological preparation.
The final part of that journey is the warm-up. This is a vital stage, if you get this wrong, all your hard work could be undone by doing too little or too much.
99% of boxers will shadow box and perform pad work before a fight. However, only a small percentage will perform a structured physical warm-up.
Why should I perform a structured warm-up?
Maybe you’re thinking “I already feel good in my warm-ups”, or “Surely we are activating the working muscles in pad work?”
What about if we told you that there’s a range of research that supports a structured warm
Would you be more open to integrating a structured warm
A warm-up can also have psychological benefits by decreasing stress, anxiety and tension. We put our warm-up before pads to help the boxer get more out of their technical warm-up, raising their confidence when entering the ring.
“I find that performing the Boxing Science warm-up routine really beneficial before my fights. You only have a short time on the pads before stepping into the ring, and I feel like the exercises help me fire up physically and mentally to get the most out of my warm-up”
Effective Warm-Ups are hugely important for optimal performance in the ring.
We know from research and experience that –
Stretching, mobilising and activating muscle groups can improve short-term elasticity and stability, resulting in more force being produced at high speed.
Increased muscle temperature improves the ability to perform more forceful actions, whilst increased metabolism benefits performance by changing the energetic state of the muscle and elevates blood flow.
Post-activation potentiation (PAP) is a phenomenon that acutely improves muscular force output. This is due to increased neural activity, rate coding and recruitment of fast-twitch motor units. This phenomenon can be stimulated by near-maximal voluntary actions associated with heavy lifting and jumping.
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Assess the Situation
Not every boxer has the privilege of fighting in the main event on an arena show with fantastic facilities and organised fight times.
Many have to estimate their bout time, have a tiny room to warm-up in and may differ in fitness levels.
This means that we need to assess the situation, respond appropriately and individualise our approach.
Check out the facilities – what exercises can be performed here?
How fit is our athlete? What is optimal to stimulate and not fatigue?
What does our athlete already do? Let’s not change too much?
What time is available? Estimate the bout time and keep a track of the bout number.
Structured Warm-Ups – The RAMP Protocol
For optimal results, we require a structured warm-up. Many coaches use the ‘RAMP’ method because it’s been found to contribute to short-term improvements in muscle force production during jumps, sprints and heavy lifts.
‘RAMP’ stands for Raise, Activate, Mobilise, and Potentiate.
Perform low-intensity activities to elevate body temperature and metabolism. This will stimulate the cardiorespiratory system and improve blood flow to the muscles.
Jogging, Skipping, Shadow Boxing
Monitor with heart rate, try to work in zone 2-3 (60-80% max heart rate).
Activate and Mobilise
Select exercises that mobilise key muscle groups.
We focus on the shoulders, hips, core, glutes and thoracic rotation.
Mobility exercises can help increase the range of motion and improve force production.
Activation exercises are used to fire up the muscles by priming motor units for subsequent neuromuscular activation.
Eagles, Glute Bridge, Side Clams, Glute Stretch, Squat and Lunges.
Medium Tempo, Progressing to Fast Tempo.
8-10 reps / 20 seconds.
Potentiate / Specific
We often use jumping exercises to encourage a fast, forceful extension of the hips.
We then transfer this into shadow boxing drills to get the neuromuscular system firing in boxing specific movements.
We encourage fast lateral movements and hip drive whilst using mini-resistance bands around the knees. This fires up the gluteal and core muscles during punching movements.
Countermovement / pogo jumps – 3-5 reps, 2-3 sets
Banded shadow box – 30 seconds, 2-3 sets
Raise the Heart Rate / Padwork
We need to raise muscle temperature again to get ready for performance. In the final phase of the warm-up, we need higher-intensity movements.
Boxers should aim to work in the red zone to stimulate the cardiorespiratory system and speed up oxygen kinetics. This means oxygen will be delivered to the working muscles more effectively and utilised more effectively.
Boxers should aim to work in the red zone for between 3 to 6 minutes. This is dependent on the boxers’ fitness, and what they are comfortable with. We can achieve this by performing sprints/high-intensity skipping. However, boxers may opt to achieve this during pad work.
Padwork – This is up to the boxing coach, but we advise to monitor heart rate closely, stick to structured work and rest intervals.
You can watch Callum Beardow perform one of our RAW pre-fight warm-ups in full in the YouTube clip below –
A structured and well-designed warm-up is essential for a great performance on fight night.
The RAMP method is a great method to quickly optimise physical qualities in boxers.
It is important to adapt the warm
Want to learn more about warm ups for Boxing performance?
The warm-up exercises described in this article are shown and described in our BRAND NEW exercise library, demonstrating over 70 warm-up, mobility, strength and conditioning exercises. The exercise library forms part of our all-new monthly membership service. Click here to learn more about becoming a Boxing Science member.