You would think after getting hit in the head all day, you would get a strong order of neck pain with a side of concussion constantly. But boxers usually have relatively healthy necks (considering). What can we learn from a boxer's routine that will give us, the average joe, a shot at the title (that is of World's Cervical Champion - I know, very cheesy).
Here are the three things that training like a boxer will do for your neck:
Ever notice the exercises boxers do for their necks? I've never seen the average gym goer attach weights to their head and bust out sets of cervical sidebends. That's because bulging neck muscles aren't the best beach look.
2) Upper back flexibility
All the punching and reaching boxers do actually keep the thoracic spine (read upper back) flexible, the most notorious problem for people with neck pain. If you have neck pain, it is almost guaranteed you have bad posture which includes a tight upper back.
3) General hip and spinal flexibility
Watch a boxer train. Slips, dips, side stepping, shuffling. A great combination of rarely used movements that will keep your hips open, spine happy and pain away.
4) Hip strength
You might be wondering the role of strong hip muscles play in a good neck. If you are a holistic viewer of medicine, it is a no-brainer. If not, let me give you the house metaphor. Your neck is the roof and your hips and pelvis are your foundation. If you have a weak foundation, doesn't matter how the rest of the house is built. Its a sink hole waiting to happen. Boxers generate their power, much like golfers and baseball players from their hip muscles. Your glutes initiate the rotational movements you need for most sports and help give you power. For my last pun of the day: strong glutes will help you pack a strong punch and keep your foundation strong.
Dr. Joshua Mazalian, DPT, OCS, CSCS is the owner of JAM Sports and Spine in Los Angeles and specializes in sports and orthopedic physical therapy. You can reach him on Twitter @jamsportsPT and Facebook as well as email at firstname.lastname@example.org