A magical thing happened at that first class. A guardian angel in the shape of a petite, blonde competitive kickboxer gifted me my first pair of boxing wraps and showed me in one hour how strength and fragility, kindness and fierceness can coexist in the one body at the same time. My confidence was restored and I hit and kicked that bag with all I had. I was hooked.
I kept up with the boxing side of kickboxing over the years and it was something my husband and I enjoyed doing together pre-children. After I had our second child I remember doing my first boxing session thinking, "this doesn't feel right". My core stability was not yet able to cope with the twisting and impact and subsequently my pelvic floor was bearing the brunt of every blow. Boxing had to take a back seat for a while until my core was stronger and functioning well and my pelvic floor had regained some strength.
Another important factor in my return to this much loved sport revolved around changing how I thought about boxing and what I was really trying to achieve. I was no longer trying to punch out the imaginary face of my ex-boyfriend on the focus mitt with everything I had, and I realised I needed to modify my boxing to get the benefits I enjoyed previously but within my body's current abilities. So I applied what I had learnt about pelvic floor health and exercise to boxing and ran it past some physio friends for good measure.
Here are the top tips for pelvic floor friendly boxing we came up with:
- Keep it light and fast. Rather than going for the heavy, hard hitting punches that will likely cause you to hold your breath and overly tense your stomach, go for lighter, faster punches with a full extension of the arm.
- Exhale on the exertion. Breathing is key to pelvic floor health in general and definitely when boxing. We don't want to hold our breath as we punch. A little 'sss' noise through our teeth each time we punch helps relieve the pressure in our core and sounds cool too.
- Alignment. Don't be tempted to hunch your shoulders forward and hide behind the gloves. Keep yourself upright with your ribs over your hips and shoulders relaxed allowing for full breath through the diaphragm.
- Always listen to your body. Give your body time to heel after baby and do the ground work of pelvic floor and core strengthening to give yourself the best chance of boxing safely when you return. If something doesn't feel right, stop. Get some advice from a postnatal PT or exercise physiologist about how you can modify what you are doing.
Boxing doesn't have to be like Fight Club and you don't need to be an expert before you put on a pair of gloves. At Go Mum we pride ourselves on having a relaxed, fun atmosphere where everyone is welcome and we can support mums to get the most out of pelvic floor aware training.
If you haven't tried boxing before, here are some of the benefits you can expect:
- It is a great stress reliever and mood lifter
- It builds upper body strength without the mass
- It is short and sweet, you don't have to do it for hours to get great benefit
- It burns calories and can keep burning after your session is over
- It is for all fitness levels and you can work at a pace and intensity that suits you on the day
- It is FUN TO HIT STUFF!
To work on your pelvic floor friendly boxing technique, join us on Thursday's at Enoggera for our Boxing Mums class. Kids of all ages welcome to play while mum works out. If you are not sure if you are ready to start back at boxing due to pelvic floor or abdominal separation please call Christine to check the best course of action 0402 211 927.