I’m sure the general consensus is that physical rehabilitation is good for boxers. Why you ask? Well, it may have something to do with repeated punches to the head.
Yes I know that’s obvious, so what I pose is this, instead of using rehab to help boxers, let’s use boxing to help with rehab.
Let me clarify. I’m not saying that those in need of physical rehabilitation should step in the ring. It’s not the actual combative aspect of boxing to which I’m referring (hey, I like my nose the way it is thank you very much), it’s the fundamental training behind boxing that I’m talking about.
Boxing is a lot more than most people give it credit for. Behind the adrenalin soaked rounds, swings and knockouts, is a masterful training regime aimed at developing precise timing, rhythm and endurance. Boxing develops physical strength, breath control, and teaches you to stay focused under stress. These all just happen to be the stimulants needed for neuro-plasticity to kick in.
These days, you hear the word neuro-plasticity used a lot. At Aim2Walk, neuro-plasticity isn’t just a word, it’s a natural process that we clinically take full advantage of. To spark the recuperative powers of neuro-placticity through boxing fundamentals, we apply 3 important principles. These are:
1) Repetitive movement patterns
2) Precision and awareness
3) Focus under stress
Now this all said, you can’t just put on the gloves, beat the crap out of a bag, and think that you’re going to do yourself any good. It’s a specific system of learning, and that system needs to be done right. To help us implement boxing fundamentals into our rehabilitation programs, we brought in Jason Van Veldhuysen, an former amateur boxer, to show us the ropes (Jason actually did a great vid on implementing boxing at the clinic that’s posted at the bottom of the page). Jason was a great help and thanks to him boxing fundamentals have fully integrated their way into our program. Again, the emphasis isn’t on fighting. We focus on timing, spacial awareness, rhythm, breath control, mental focus and physical endurance.
The main training activities we’ve incorporated are pad work, heavy bag conditioning and speed bag drills. Here’s a little more info on each:
Padwork: Amazing for developing co-ordination and spacial awareness. Think of these as focus pads. The patterns are varied, changeable, and you need to stay on point. Also, the pads hit back! That’s right, when we work clients with the pads, the drills often include counter strikes that clients will block, duck and slip. All great ways to train the core and reaction time.
Speedbag: The speed bag trains your rhythm and timing. It’s also very difficult to control, so clients need to take extra care regulating their speed and strength. It’s great for developing smooth, fluid movement. Once you get the hang of it, it’s almost like meditating.
Heavybag: Then there’s the heavy bag, or as we like to call it, the big stress bag. Good to unload on (hey, we all need it sometimes). Builds strength and endurance. Apparently it’s also good for hugging.
As you can see, boxing really is a sweet science. Hopefully more eyes will be open now to it’s benefits, well, now that we’re thinking bigger than the whole getting punched in the head thing. Drop us a line if you’ve experienced the rehabilitative power of boxing. We’d love to hear your story.
(Jason and I talking about integrating boxing into neuro-rehab)