Boxing focus pad routines have many benefits, but if performed incorrectly can cause injury to you and your client. Combat athlete coach Hays Daewoud shares some simple tips for achieving best technique.
As a fitness professional, you may have noticed that many of your clients love hitting the pads when it comes to the boxing for fitness component of their training sessions. However, holding the focus pads (or focus mitts) is an art form, and if performed incorrectly can cause injuries to you and your client.
Focus pads were originally designed for boxing coaches to hold for the fighters they were training. They are used to sharpen up technique, as well as work on coordination, movement and balance. The goal is to imitate the techniques used in the ring. They were not designed as a fitness tool. As the trainer and pad holder, you must make sure that you’re holding the pads safely. With poor pad holding, trainers and clients risk incurring injuries to the wrists, elbows and shoulders.
The following are three of the main offenders when it comes to incorrect, and potentially dangerous, pad holding.
Many pad-holding trainers use unnecessary force in the form of an excessive slapping action, when attempting to apply resistance to a puncher. This jams the puncher, and prevents them from throwing a proper punch with the full range of motion. The slapping of pads can create injury to both the pad holder and the puncher.
Pad holders often make the mistake of holding their arms wide open, with the pads facing the puncher. Flaring the elbows out will put a strain on the shoulder muscles, ligaments and tendons when the pads are hit. This can cause rotator cuff injuries and labral tears, among other injuries. Keep your elbows closer to your body; this is where the shoulders are most stable.
Avoid complex combinations that divert the client’s focus from the main objective, which is performing quality punches. We recommend 2-3 punch combinations for most people, and up to 5 punches for more experienced and technically proficient clients.
Keep it simple, lead with some straight punches, and then finish off with hooks or uppercuts. The aim is for good technique and intensity throughout.
Using focus pads in your sessions has many benefits to your clients, with research showing that boxing for fitness improves not only strength, speed and power, but also cardiovascular, cognitive and mental health. By making good technique a priority you can ensure you and your clients remain injury-free and continue to reap these benefits.
Hays is an educator and the founder of Australian Combat & Exercise. He has trained athletes and champions in Boxing, Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts. Australian Combat & Exercise run face to face boxing and technical lifting courses nationally; AIF students and Warriors save 10% on selected ACE courses. – click here for upcoming dates & here to access your discount.
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