The ability to relax

Discuss boxing techniques, strategy, drills, and preparation
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:37 pm

The ability to relax

Postby Brick » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:50 pm

I think one of the biggest aspects to being a good fighter is the ability to relax. Whether it's during a bout or in sparring, the ability to relax is critical. I always see new boxers try to spar, and it's the no. 1 thing that stands out. Every time. I have sparred with guys who wrestle, run, bike, swim you name it. They all rave about their conditioning, and when I tell them I'm going to set the timer to 2 minute rounds, they give me a funny look. Look at James Toney. Looks like he can't run a mile, but can fight all night because he's smooth and relaxed.

Then we spar. After 3 maybe 4 rounds, they are done. And even the guys who have experience, I have seen that the best way to increase their speed, defense, reflexes, is to improve their relaxation.

This past year, that is one aspect I have worked one. All my sparring partner have remarked how I have improved in this area or that area. And it all comes down to being smooth, relaxed and in a rythem.

You hear trainers yell all the time, "Relax!" But what does that mean, and how do you do it?? Here is one key that I found that helps: No facial expressions. Have a complete, deadpan look on your face while you work. Keep your breathing in a rythem, don't grunt when you punch, don't clench your jaw, nothing. Plus, your expression can tip off your punches as well. Try this little tip, see if it works.

Anybody have any other tips or thoughts on staying relaxed??


Re: The ability to relax

Postby gggleeson68 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:57 pm

Great post Brick. 'Relaxation' is a secret ingredient in boxing. I don't call it relaxation though. If you tell a novice to relax they usually relax their brain as well. They don't stay sharp mentally. I prefer the term 'slippery'.

I tell my novices to have grease in all their joints and to be slippery. One method I use to coach this is to tap on a boxers muscles while they are punching the bag. If any muscle has tension in it I tell the boxer to stop and I point it out. Its amazing how much tension novices carry in their traps and shoulders.

Another method I use is what I call the jellyfish technique. I get novices to throw a combo then shake all their muscles like a wobbly jellyfish and throw the combo again. This tends to work for most guys as they get attuned to their own muscular tension.

I will give your method a try and see how it goes.

User avatar
Posts: 1659
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:57 pm

Re: The ability to relax

Postby Intense » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:21 pm

I found the best way to stay relaxed is just not giving a shit. When i spar i don't try but at the same time i do try...hard to explain eh.
I beat dead horses.

Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:45 pm

Re: The ability to relax

Postby Dr.Mayhem » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:27 pm

Loose is fast. Be loose, crack the whip.
Head Coach, Penn State Boxing Team
PSU Boxing Highlight film 2011-2012
Training Videography

Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: The ability to relax

Postby Lugubrious » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:42 pm

Good advice, I really need to work on this.

My conditioning is by far my most limiting factor. I've only been at it for a couple of months, but I'm staying really tense during sparring and wearing myself out in just a round or two.

I will try not giving a shit, see how it goes.

User avatar
Posts: 997
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:48 am

Re: The ability to relax

Postby Shuruga » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:54 pm

Intense wrote:I found the best way to stay relaxed is just not giving a shit. When i spar i don't try but at the same time i do try...hard to explain eh.

I know what you mean, but thats not for everyone. I never had a problem with taking a good punch so it was easy for me to relax but other people need different methods to get the same results.
Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.
Miyamoto Musashi

User avatar
Ross Enamait
Site Admin
Posts: 13522
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 12:15 pm

Re: The ability to relax

Postby Ross Enamait » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:32 am

Learning to relax comes with experience. A novice who is brand new to the sport is not comfortable inside the ring. He may be nervous, uncertain, not sure what to expect, etc. First, he must learn to overcome these feelings in the gym. He must then learn to overcome these feelings in actual bouts (ex. learning to relax in the dressing room before the fight).

This all points back to the fact that the development of a fighter is not an overnight process. It takes time. There is no substitute for REAL experience. You can train night and day, but if you don't have any experience inside the ring, you are still a novice.

User avatar
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:52 am

Re: The ability to relax

Postby cosmicnun » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:12 pm

Absolutely! I come from an Opera and arts background, but I learned my artistic elegance from Sugar Ray Leonard.

Learn to relax your internal organs and muscles first! In singing, I had to learn things like how to relax my windpipe. Believe me, there are NO involuntary muscles. You can learn to relax ANYTHING, and one of the greatest payoffs I've had in athletic performace is having this internal relaxation ability be integrated into my body.

The BEST place to start is something called Alexander Technique, which is mostly used by actors/singers/stage performers. But it's an incredible all-body relaxation technique well worth learning because it teaches how to relax by individual muscles and muscle groups. The mainstay of the technique is "tense this as hard as you can and then let it go." That teaches the muscles and neurolgical pathways in the body what "relaxed" feels like, and then has the whole body learn it. It's an incredibly effective technique.

I teach it in a class-setting, so email me or contact me here if you have further questions.

Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:37 pm

Re: The ability to relax

Postby Brick » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:47 am

^ When I shadowbox to loosen up, you know what's in my Ipod? Classical music.

User avatar
The Hitman
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:35 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: The ability to relax

Postby The Hitman » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:25 pm

Relazation comes with experience. The more you do it the easier you feel.
Weather in boxing or with work or with Opera and arts.
You start out simple and slowly increase the pressure.
Start out with light sparring sessions no hard hitting but easy moving and throwing shots without hurting each other that is the way to learn.
Then slowly but steadily make your sparring more intense. By slowly inceasing the pase and the pressure of sparring you know what is going to come and stay relaxed but still focused.
Fights are won in the gym, not in the ring

Return to “Boxing Skills, Strategy, and Training”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users