Thread: Learning to relax the shoulders
11/06/2011 5:14am, #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
Learning to relax the shoulders
I've been training in Boxing for about two months now, and in Wing Chun for about eight months before that.
I'm constantly being told off for being too stiff - especially in my shoulders. My coach is right - I can feel it when I try to throw a punch, that the stiffness in my shoulders is holding me back, slowing me down, and wearing me out faster than otherwise.
I've been to a physio and he's given me some neck exercises/stretches to help loosen me up, but they haven't been very successful. I've also been trying Yoga, but only for a few weeks at this point. No noticeable change for me as yet.
I've probably spent 15-30 minutes a day for the last six months stretching/exercising my neck and shoulders, but so far I'm still stiff as a board when sparring.
Does anyone have any advice for ways to loosen up my shoulders - especially when sparring?
Thanks for any help, cheers,
11/06/2011 5:47am, #2
I've had a lot of trouble with this myself. Paying attention to when I feel them rising up and making them go back down helps.!!RENT SPACE HERE FOR 10 VBUCKS PER LINE PER MONTH!!
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11/06/2011 7:49am, #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
- Lower Franconia
Incorporating some arm circling in my warm up has helped me. Also... two months isn't that much. Getting stiff in sparring may also be caused by adrenaline etc. Trying to be relatively relaxed in general has helped me as well.
11/06/2011 8:57am, #4
It's probably not a physical lack of flexibility, but a psychological issue.
More practice, and you'll realise you don't have to go all HULK SMASH to get the same power in a shot. All tensing up does is make you slower and makes you tire quicker. I still catch myself doing it occasionally, but it's definitely a habit you want to get out of.
..but the stretching can only help, so I'd continue that anyway; and who knows, maybe feeling more relaxed will help solve the problem."The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero projects his fear onto his opponent while the coward runs. 'Fear'. It's the same thing, but it's what you do with it that matters". - Cus D'Amato
11/06/2011 9:27am, #5
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- Rochester, NY
Something that helped me ease up a lot when I first started sparring was to just focus on one thing to work on, or a small group of things. Say to yourself, "This round, I'm just going to work on doing x." It can help to have a specific task to focus on instead of your mind going "Okay, I'm going to throw a 1-2, and then-AH CRAP HE HIT ME SWING BACK NO I HAVE TO MOVE AWAY NO MORE 1-2s THEY GET ME PUNCHED **** THAT HE JUST HIT ME I HAVE TO HIT HIM", etc. Trying to worry about everything just makes your muscles tense up the way you're talking about because your brain is trying to send so many signals to your body that it's just going to freak out.
Long story short- the more comfortable you get doing what you're doing, the looser you'll get.
11/06/2011 9:45am, #6
Given the problem, I think it's a waste of time to do yoga or physio training - anyone can relax when relaxing. It's doing fighting exercises that tenses you up, not doing deep breathing or stretching for goodness sakes. It's like learning to relax by watching TV and drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon. "Remember! Stretch out and sip beer! Now click the remote softly and breathe deeply!" That's bullshit. You are learning to fight and need to learn to relax when doing exercises or sparring.
This is a life long issue - breathing and relaxing. I've added breathing because it goes hand-in-hand, so to speak, with relaxing. One technique I learned was to relax during drills by opening the fist. We'd do line air punches in karate (at command, all together) and Sensei would tell us, "Open fist, relax arm, relax shoulder. Tense punch, not between." And the ubiquitous, "Breathe, remember, breathe." (Sensei was ESL). Later in Kyokushin I heard, "Drop the shoulders," hundreds of times. It takes THINKING while training. So when hitting air, bags, or people, think. Purposefully breathe, open fists, drop shoulders, then do your strikes as fast and hard as you can (without fucking up your form), and then remember, breathe, open fists, drop shoulders. After awhile it becomes automatic, though, that said, as an old **** I still go through the exercises mentally because in hard drills or sparring it's easy to tense up and forget to breathe and relax.
It's a matter of mindfulness. Get some good habits."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
11/08/2011 2:49am, #7
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
Great, thanks for those replies all.
I'll keep actively remembering to relax when drilling and sparring. Concentrating on only one thing at a time while sparring will probably help me a lot too, thanks Neo - I do tend to overthink things sometimes.
I'll add some arm circling in before the class starts as well.
I'll try some shadowboxing at home, relaxing and opening my fists between strikes and dropping the shoulders.
I have to keep up with the Yoga though - the wife and I used to do Wing Chun together - after I left Wing Chun for Boxing, I had to offer to do something together as a couple to keep the peace!
Boxing together was sadly not accepted as an option...... :(
11/13/2011 4:40pm, #8
Oh, there's nothing wrong with Yoga. But it won't teach you much about fighting!"Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
11/15/2011 1:52am, #9
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
Hi friend ..Try this exercises, When you start doing it, take a deep breath, shrug your shoulders as high as you can and let them drop as far as they'll go. Tell yourself to relax or get hit. BEst of luck