Good oral posture is a popular phenomenon in boxing and other martial arts. You’ve might notice many boxers flexing their jaws by wide opening them in a few repetitions. Although it looks funny but is there any secrete benefits behind it? Let see:
So, Why Do Boxers Stretch Their Jaws?
Boxers stretch their jaws to warm them up before getting into the ring. Flexing jaw muscles allow boxers to avoid serious jaw injuries while reducing the chances of knockouts. It also prepares them mentally to absorb hard punches and stay focused during the match.
In this article, I’ll dig more into the benefits of stretching jaw muscles and explain to you exactly how you can start strengthening your jawline:
Benefits of Stretching and Flexing Jaws in Boxing
Although boxers seem to have different opinions, here’re some of the most common benefits of stretching your jaws before a boxing match:
1. Reduce the Chances of Knockouts
When boxers clenched their jaws too hard, though it reduces the chances of jaw dislocation but boxers get more exposed to getting KO’d. Whereas keeping their mouth open decreases the likelihood of getting KO’d but can lead to serious jaw breakage.
That’s why boxers always try to keep their jaws lightly clinched into the mouthguard. This position allows for a little displacement of their lower jaw and helps boxers to stay less vulnerable.
Boxers stretch their jaw muscles before entering the ring because they are loosening the muscles around their chin area and essentially preparing themselves to stay in a lightly clinched position throughout the match.
2. Avoid Serious Jaw Injuries
Also, many boxers train their neck muscles causing an increase in muscle constriction there and that can also affect up into the jaw area. Stretching and flexing the jaw muscles allow boxers to loosen them up and thus decrease the chances of injury.
Along with that, stretching your jaw muscles for 1 to 2 minutes equalizes the pressure between the eardrums and sinuses. It helps boxers to stay balanced during the match, especially when their opponent delivers a solid punch on their face.
3. Take Punches Better
Opening the mouth wide and moving it up and down before a fight makes the skin on their face nice and lose that won’t cut easily and often allows boxers to absorb hard blows even after being punched straight on the face.
In addition to that, many boxers do this as their natural tendency. They flex their jaws in side by side manner before wearing a mouthguard and get ready mentally to hit it off.
It’s like how you used to stretch your arms and legs before starting a football match, boxers flex their jaws because they know, they are about to take punches on their chin in the next 5 minutes.
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How Do Boxers Strengthen Their Jaws?
Along with a regular training session where you target your punching muscles, it’s important to work out those muscles that support your jaws.
BUT: before you start performing the strengthening exercises, here is a simple warm-up session you should consider first:
- Open your mouth wide and then close
- Drop your lower jaw and move it side-by-side
- Open your mouth and rotate your jaw in a circular motion
Even a couple of minutes of warm-up will make your jaw muscles ready to get strengthened further. Here’re some of the most common exercises you can start with:
(You can also try them while reading 🙂 as they don’t require any extra equipment)
1. Jaw Isometric
Start by placing your fist under your jaw and applying the pressure in the upward direction. While doing this, try to slowly open your mouth, without allowing your jaw to move.
Now, repeat the same thing by applying pressure from the left and then from the right side and pushing your jaw against the pressure. Try to keep the amount of pressure and resistance constant and perform each of these movements 5 to 6 times.
This isometric exercise help strengthen your jaw muscles and brace your chin during a boxing match, without actually moving your joints.
2. Resistance Band
Sit on the ground with slightly more distance in your feet. Loop the one end of the band around your feet and bend forward to loop another end around the back of your head.
Now, grip the band in the middle with both hands and try to lift your head up against the resistance band until you came into a straight sitting position and your neck is as straight as possible.
Hold for 2 to 3 seconds and repeat this movement 10 more times. Even a basic exercise resistance band like this (link to Amazon) comes with many resistance levels that allow you to improve your strength as you progress with your training.
Essentially, this exercise will give you similar results as jaw isometric, but resistance bands are just there to speed up the whole strengthening process.
3. Neck Isometric
Sit up straight and place your palm on your forehead. Now, try to touch your chest with your chin while applying resistance with your hand. Repeat this movement by placing your hand on the back of your head and trying to look towards the ceiling.
Try to hold on for 3 to 5 seconds in each position, go for at least a set of 10 repetitions and make sure you’re not moving your head.
When we’re talking about boxing training, strengthening your jaws and neck muscles is almost equally important.
Stretching the jaws allow boxers to loosen them up and get ready to absorb punches on their face. It not only reduces the chances of knockouts but also helps boxers to avoid any serious jaw injuries.
BUT: It’s important that you’re training your jaw’s beforehand. You can start with the basic training session and gradually build up from there. Now you know, why exactly boxers make faces before entering into the ring and how they get benefited from that.
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