Why Do Boxers Punch Their Own Stomach When They Workout?

By William McCoy

While most boxers aren't fond of the idea of getting hit, a certain few tend to "wake up" during a bout after they receive a particularly punishing shot. If this type of boxer describes you, it's best to get this contact early in the bout -- or, ideally, before it even begins. It might look bizarre to onlookers, but some boxers have a habit of giving themselves a few quick shots to the stomach before they train.

Reason

Getting hit is a significant part of boxing -- if you aren't fond of the idea, it's time to select another sport. The first shots you take during a sparring session can occasionally shock your system and create a jarring feeling. For this reason, giving yourself a quick series of short punches to your stomach can prepare your body for the pending contact. Hitting yourself is also a way for some boxers to mentally prepare, as if to tell themselves to focus on the task at hand.

Punching Yourself

You might put everything you have into a body shot when facing an opponent, but don't employ the same force when you punch yourself in the stomach. The goal of doing so isn't to cause injury, and the organs in the area -- including your liver -- won't take kindly to excessive abuse. Instead, after you've wrapped your hands and donned your gloves, make fists with both hands, tighten your abs and lightly punch your stomach as though you're playing a drum.

Other Methods

If you aren't partial to hitting yourself, you can prepare your stomach area for the feeling of a body shot by working with a partner. Stand 3 to 5 feet apart and hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of your stomach. Throw the ball toward your partner's stomach by extending your arms -- much in the same manner as making a chest pass in basketball. Your partner's job is to catch the ball, but only after it bounces off her stomach. This drill reminds you to quickly tighten your core before absorbing any impact.

Strengthen Your Abs

For boxers, strong core muscles aren't just a way to get noticed by fans. Strengthening such muscles as your abs and obliques helps protect your organs and absorb part of the impact from body shots. You can strengthen your abs through a variety of exercises, including front and side planks, sit-ups and crunches. Boxers typically perform these exercises during the strength-training portion of their workout.

References

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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