Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. This is national posture month, and I'm very excited and all month I've been celebrating this with, by talking about how posture affects specific sports. So this week I thought I would highlight boxing and I figured I would do that because a lot of people think of boxing and they think of boxers that have really rounded shoulders and very bad posture. And I don't believe that that is always true, and I actually think it would be detrimental to their sport. So that brings me to the topics we're gonna cover.
So first I'm gonna define posture, and then I'm going to talk about all the forces that your posture takes on during your sport. So in this case, we're gonna talk about boxing. And then third, I'm gonna talk about the types of injuries that you may be seeing if your posture is not as stable as you need it to be, or in the right position that you need it to be.
And fourth, as I never wanna leave on a bad note, I'm gonna talk about how you prevent or get over the injuries that I'm talking about. Okay. So to get started, posture, what is posture? Posture is the alignment of your spine. So most people think of it like the anatomical position. So your ears should be over your shoulders, your shoulders should be over your hips and your hips should be over your ankles. Really your spine should have some slight curves in it, so that helps better absorb the impact from the ground from moving around in your space.
So what kind of forces do you get when you're boxing? So if we just take out the other person, because that is obviously a whole host of other things. Just the activity of punching, your spine has to be able to rotate your upper body and you have to be able to pivot at your lower body. The actual punch comes from the amount of power that you can sustain, that you can help to propel from your torso. Although your arm, your shoulder and your upper back play a big role in that. If your core and your spine is not stable, you're losing out on a lot of power. So those are the big things, right? So if you think about a boxer and you think about somebody who's just stuck with their shoulders in a rounded position, well it's a big difference to intentionally having your shoulders rounded so that you're guarding your organs and the front of your body to prevent a punch from getting through versus just staying rounded all the time and not being able to stand up straight. Being able to be in a rounded position to do an action is completely different.
And so if you look at a lot of professional boxers, they actually have very, very good posture when they're not in the ring. There are obviously exceptions to every rule, but people who take well-balanced training programs definitely hit their upper back, their shoulders, their neck, and they really work on having a very good overall posture while they're not in the ring. Because in the ring, they use all the muscles that they use to train, to keep that upright posture, to help them in the ring and to be more efficient at punching and more efficient at blocking and moving. So that's where that misconception of just because they're rounded in the ring does not necessarily mean that they have bad posture all the time.
So now I know, because I used to work out in a boxing gym. It's very funny, but nobody likes to train abs or at least that was the gym I was at. I guess I shouldn't say everybody because obviously I don't know everybody, but it was very interesting because if you cannot keep your spine stable and you can't use everything from your hip to your shoulder to help you propel force forward using your arm, as you know an instrument of delivering that, you're missing out on power. You're also messing up technique and then some other things. So while boxing, it is very, very important for you to be able to keep everything from top of your neck all the way down to your lower back, very stable so that you can get those really good pivots. And that's where all that power comes from. It's not necessarily just from your arm.
What happens if you do fall into bad posture? If for whatever reason, you're not training your upper back or you're not training your abs so that your lower back is stable. What kind of injuries can you see from that, while you're boxing? So let's talk about your upper body. So upper body, if you're really rounded and you're hitting a bag, I mean that's prime time for a rotator cuff tear. So just being collapsed in and not having the strength and the stability to be able to get out of that is definitively putting your shoulder at risk for some form of injury, whether you're talking in an impingement or you're talking a full on tear. You're also, because of that positioning, putting your neck at risk in addition to that. That's why anybody who's doing a well-rounded program and for boxing has to be working out their shoulder and their upper back muscles to help counteract all that forward pushing that you're gonna be doing.
The other thing is that, obviously you have wrist injuries that can come from punching because you're actually physically hitting the bag, but that's kind of outside of what I wanna talk about. Because I wanna talk more about what happens if your trunk is not stable? So your spine is in the middle. That's your posture is just how you're able to keep yourself, but trunk stability or core stability is that ability to fight off all those forces. No matter whichever way you need to be going. So you do need to be able to turn, so if your spine collapses, while you're trying to turn or you can't keep stable while you're trying to move your arms, then everything's gonna collapse down and something's gonna get worn out. So again, in your shoulder, it's very easy for that to be your rotator cuff.
So in your hips, sometimes as silly as it may be, you can end up with ankle problems because your hips aren't pivoting the way that you need to, then something weird can be happening at your ankle to make that happen. Also your knee. So if your hips aren't stable, especially when you're trying to pivot if your pelvis isn't stable and that knee starts to do a lot of wobbling, as weird as it sounds, your knee could be the problem. And that could be an indication that something in your lower spine is not stabilizing you while you're trying to hit the bags and other things.
Again, if you're talking about an actual fight, then we have to talk about a lot of other things. So we're just gonna keep it. You're either punching a bag or you know, at shadow by boxing.
So if your pelvis is not stable then your hip isn't gonna be able to be stable and that's where knee problems come in. Normally people don't notice hip problems while they're boxing. That's not as common as when they're pivoting, that knee collapses down and they start to have pain on the inside of their knee. So now what would be the cure for all those things? Kind of the same things I've been talking about. So if you're trying to combat your posture from falling in, then you have to do a lot of those pulling exercises. You know, if you're in a gym and you're working basic muscle groups, you talk about pushing muscles and pulling muscles. A lot of times if you're falling forward, it's because you're lacking on the pulling muscles. So you wanna work your upper back muscles, all of them, not just your lats, they are great exercise, but they do not get everything. You want the back of your shoulder, you want between your shoulder blades, all of those muscles need to be worked.
The other thing you really wanna work on, especially in boxing to keep, keep everything nice and stable is rotator cuff exercises. You need to be working on rotation in both directions forward and backwards to make sure that you have enough stability in there to sustain the action of actually boxing. For your hips, your knees and your ankles, It's AB work AB work AB work can we say planks, planks are amazing. So if you have been dealing with any kind of knee problem and you're while you're boxing and you're like, psh I don't even use my knee what's up, then I would try to see about adding a few more AB exercises into your routine and see how that helps.
So I hope that this information is very helpful if you personally are dealing with something in some of what I said makes sense, but you're not sure how it applies to you directly feel free to reach out to me, because I would love to have a calm conversation with you and find out exactly how we can get you back to boxing at the level that you want without having to worry about the injury that you're dealing with.
I hope you're having a great day. Bye.
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Dr. Molly McDonald