This guide is meant to help newbies, amateurs as well as professional boxing & MMA fighters learn about injuries. You will learn how to prevent injuries through stretching, warming up, cooling down and more. You will also learn how to speed up your recovery with rest and patience. Below are the topics contained within this guide.
- Why Is Injury Prevention Important
- How Warm Up and Cool Down Can Help Prevent Injury
- Why Should I Warm Up
- Warm Up Examples
- Why Should I Cool Down
- How Can I Cool Down
- Should I Be Stretching Before I Workout
- How to Speed Up Injury Recovery
- How to Prevent Boxing Injuries
- Where Can I Learn More
Why Is Injury Prevention Important?
No one likes being injured. For starters, injuries hurt and it’s not fun going about your day to day with the pain and physical limitations of an injury. Athletes suffer immensely when they obtain an injury. Because their injury takes them away from their passion, and in some cases their job too. But why is injury prevent important?
- Injury prevention keeps you healthy– the most important reason to make injury prevention a priority is because it keeps you healthy. Serious injuries can be life altering. Even minor injuries can take an mental and physical toll on our health.
- It keeps you on track – whether your goals are to compete professionally or just keep fit, avoiding injuries helps you stay on track. Injuries take time to heal and can slow you down or even stop you from reaching your goals.
Not all injuries are preventable or foreseeable. But you should do everything you can to try to prevent injuries before they happen. Take your safety and the safety of others seriously while training. Always listen to your coach and wear the protective equipment suggested or required for your sport. You might not be able to stop all injuries from happening, but you can help reduce severity and frequency when you follow directions and play by the rules.
How Warm Up and Cool Down Can Help Prevent Injury
If you’ve ever worked out in a group setting you are likely familiar with the instructor leading you through both a warm up and cool down. Maybe you enjoy the time spent walking and stretching out your muscles. Or maybe you would rather get right to your workout or just get back to the rest of your day as quickly as possible. For some people, warming and cooling down can feel tedious. But it is an important part of any workout routine.
Warming up and cooling down not only helps you feel good while working out, but it also can aid in preventing injuries. We will help you understand why warming up and cooling down can help prevent an injury as well as give you actionable tips for incorporating it into your routine. If the best MMA coaches in Toronto are doing it, you should be too. Keep reading to find out why.
Why Should I Warm Up?
Warm ups are essentially a mini workout that helps to wake up your body before a more intensive workout. Though not everyone does the exact same warm up before a workout, all warm ups are used to both improve your performance and prevent injuries. Global Sports Development lists a variety of benefits of conducting a warm up including joint efficiency and removal of lactic acid. But how does warming up prevent injury?
Though research on the topic does not definitively answer the question with a yes or no, it doesn’t say that it is a bad idea either. Some people swear that a warmup sets them up for success and ensures that they are ready to move their bodies through strenuous tasks post warmup. Others feel that they can skip it and do just fine. Most people can likely benefit from conducting a short warmup that both increases their heart rate and allows more blood to flow to the muscles.
Warm Up Examples
Warming up should raise your heartrate but it shouldn’t tire you out. Consider developing a simple workout plan that will target both the areas of the body you will be focusing your workout on. Though there is no right or wrong way to warm up, you should avoid stretching at this point in your workout. See Our examples to help you develop an efficient warm up for you.
Combine the following movements to help raise your heart rate. Do a variety of movements in order to warm up the areas of the body you are looking to workout the most. Remember that your warm up doesn’t have to take long and shouldn’t burn you out. Do any combination of these movements for approximately 5 minutes as a good way to get started.
- Jogging – either take it to a track or run on the spot.
- High Knees – get your heart rate up while also engaging the legs.
- Jumping Jacks – engage your upper and lower body while raising your heart rate
- Sumo Squats – gets your legs warmed up quickly.
- Arm circles – feel a quick burn in the arms
- Push ups – can help wake up your upper body and core.
Though it can be tempting to skip a warm up, it will likely do good for your body. By completing a quick warm up, you set yourself up to both feel and perform the best you can.
Why Should I Cool Down?
After finishing a great workout, you might be ready to hit the showers the second you are complete. Though that likely sounds like a good idea, there are many reasons why you might want to reconsider adding a cool down to your routine. Unlike a warm up a cool down is used to bring your heart rate down gradually. It also gives you an opportunity to stretch your muscles while they are warm and help reduce the chance of injuring yourself during a stretch.
But how does a cool down prevent injury? In relation to the workout you just completed, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do one. What a cool down does do is help aid in your post workout recovery. As a secondary mechanism of injury prevention, cooling down may help you avoid injury while stretching. Some of the benefits of cooling down include:
- Reduce dizziness
- Allow for a gradual heart rate reduction
- Regulate blood flow
- Relax muscles
- Returns the body to its pre-workout state
A cool down is most critical after high intensity workouts such as HITT sessions or long-distance running. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it if you did something more low impact. Making a cool down part of your routine will help for a habit that ensures you complete one when your body needs it the most.
How Can I Cool Down?
Cooling down doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember that cooling down just means that you gradually ease yourself out of your high intensity workout to return to your regular day. If you are doing something at high intensity, such as running fast, simply slow it down gradually. Incorporate stretching or a lower intensity core workout while bringing down your heart rate.
No matter what you are doing, just be mindful to take it easy and allow your body to transition out of movement slowly. There is no need to develop a plan for your cooldown. Instead, do something that feels good and relaxes your muscles while slowing down the pace of your workout.
Should I Be Stretching Before I Workout?
When your muscles are tight it might seem natural to stretch before a workout. But does stretching before exercise prevent injury? Though you might think you are doing yourself a favor with your pre-workout stretching, you might be making yourself more susceptible to injury. Here’s what you need to know about stretching before a workout.
- There is no evidence that stretching pre-workout will help you avoid an injury. If anything, static stretching without a warm up can put strain on your muscle and cause an injury. If you enjoy stretching before a workout, consider doing it after you have done a warm up.
- Your warm up does not have to be high intensity, in fact, it shouldn’t be. Simply get your body moving and your muscles warmed up before you start doing any stretching. A warmed-up body should be able to stretch more efficiently and do so without the worry of putting a strain on your muscles.
- If you feel that stretching before a workout is important to you, consider dynamic stretches vs. static stretches. Dynamic stretching can be an important part of your warm up routine. Unlike static stretch (think the splits), dynamic stretches incorporate movement.
Every athlete has a different warm up routine that works for them. Stretching may be an important aspect of your pre-workout routine. But if done without a warm up, you might be setting yourself up for a muscle injury. You know your body best but consider trying dynamic stretched during your warm up or pre-workout and see how it makes you feel.
How to Speed Up Injury Recovery
When you’re an athlete with an injury, you likely feel that your focus is getting back to optimum health. Many athletes feel impatient with their injuries and will try anything to speed up muscle recovery after injury or strain. But if you’re rushing to get back into the ring after an injury you might be doing more harm than good. Professional and amateur athletes alike tend to start using their injured muscle or body part before it is truly ready, thus re-injuring themselves and making the wait for healing even longer. But what can you do to speed up injury recovery? Follow our steps below for a quicker injury recovery period and learn how to speed up muscle recovery after injury.
Take your injury seriously
The firs step in recovering from an injury is to ensure that you’ve had the injury diagnosed correctly. Though you may feel as if you have a simple strain or sprain, there could be a more serious issue that needs medical attention. Whether the injury is minor or more severe, don’t just play it off and keep training as normal.
Rest and rest some more
More than anything rest will allow your body to heal. Whether you are dealing with simple muscle strain or recovering from surgery related to an injury, your body needs rest. There is no way to speed up the process of resting your body. This step is often challenging for athletes as in one way or another they want to move their body and continue training. Respect that your injury needs time to heal and don’t re-strain an injury too soon.
Focus on overall health
While you aren’t training, use your time to focus on staying generally healthy. Eat nutritious food and stay hydrated. If your injury has an open wound, ensure you are caring for it properly. Though doing this may not drastically increase the time in which you recover, it will assist in keeping your body ready to return to training.
Take it slow when returning
When you’ve rested your injury and its finally time to get back to training, don’t hop back in at full force. Take your return to training slow. If your rest time has been particularly long you may even need physiotherapy to assist you in returning to your training safely.
Far too often athletes return to training either too soon or at too high of an intensity. Aside from caring for your ailments properly, there isn’t all that much you can do aside from wait it out. Remember that serious injuries or those that have required surgery will need more rest than others. Additionally, your surgeon or doctor will have likely given you directions to aid in injury recovery.
Always follow the advice of your doctor. Though it is important to get back to training, starting too soon or doing too much can re-injure your body and leave you with a more server injury or a longer recovery period.
How to Prevent Boxing Injuries
Like any sport, injuries in boxing can happen from time to time. Though you won’t necessarily be able to prevent every injury, there are things you can do to reduce and prevent injuries while training. See our tips below to on how to prevent hand injuries in boxing and other training related injuries.
- Listen to your coach – the most important thing you can do to avoid injuries while boxing is to listen to your coach. They will provide you with guidance on all thing’s injury prevention related. Take what your coach says to heart and let them know if you have any concerns about previous or new injuries Your coach is here to train you, but also to keep you safe and healthy. Listen to any safety guidelines they tell you.
- Use proper form – one of the easiest ways to obtain an injury is by using improper form. Always stay focused on correct for when doing anything while training. From throwing punches to cross training with weights or running, proper form matters. Have a spotter check your form or ask your coach to ensure that you are doing things correctly. Don’t try to show off and do something that could hurt you. Staying focused and using proper form should help to reduce your chances of injury.
- Wear protective gear – boxing gloves, head gear, and mouth guards are some of the safety equipment that you may be required to wear while training. Even if you don’t like a piece of equipment, wear it. Protective gear is used to reduce your chances of getting injured while participating in full contact sport, always use it correctly.
- Don’t train while injured – many athletes find it hard to stop training while they are injured. Though sitting still can be frustrating don’t train while you are injured. Even minor injuries can become aggravated and turn into serious or long-term injuries if not left to hear. Take the advice of your doctors and coaches seriously and allow your injuries to heal fully before returning to training.
- Don’t over-do it – when you are just getting into a new sport it can be tempting to train all the time. Even professional athletes who are working towards a goal have difficulty knowing when enough is enough and to take a break from training. But over-doing it and training while you are tired can lead to mistakes and a lack of proper form. If you are tired, take a break. Pushing yourself is great and important but going too far and causing an injury isn’t worth it.
These tips can help you stay safe and injury free in boxing or any other sport. Always talk to your coach about current or past injuries and follow safety precautions. Stay safe and avoid injuries during training to help you reach you goals and spend more time in the ring.
Where Can I Learn More?
If you are beginning to workout and don’t know where to turn for help, consider reaching out to a personal trainer. A qualified trainer can help you to develop a workout plan that suits your weight loss or athletic goals while keeping you safe from injury.
Injury prevention goes far beyond warming up and cooling down. Proper form and knowing the right exercise to do for you body can make all the difference. See our previous article “What Makes a Good Personal Trainer” for help in knowing what to look for in a personal trainer. The right support system can make all the difference in meeting achieving your goals. Grant’s MMA is here to help you meet your potential.