Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Boxing Exercises to Strengthen Jaws

Boxing is a contact sport in which the muscles of the jaw and neck play an important role. A fighter who cannot take a punch to the jaw is said to have a "glass jaw." Having a good chin in boxing is about being able to withstand the punishment of trading blows to the head and neck. A strong neck helps the chin absorb some of the shock because the jaw muscles are connected to the neck muscles. Strengthening the jaw muscles involves strengthening the neck muscles also.
Jaw Muscle Stretch
This is a patient exercise for the jaw from the NHS Orkney health board in Scotland. This exercise loosens and warms up the jaw for exercise. Sit with your back straight, relax your and lower your shoulders. Relax your jaw and make an "mmm" sound making sure your teeth do not make contact.
Next, move the jaw up and down and side to side using small-relaxed motions. Now that your jaw is warm, open and close your mouth then move your jaw forward, back and then side-to-side. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Jaw Resistance Exercise
This exercise builds muscles by using your hand for resistance. Make a fist and place it below your chin. Try opening your mouth while keeping pressure under your jaw, hold for 10 seconds and release. Next, place you thumb against your chin and try to push forward while keeping resistance with your thumb, hold for 10 seconds. Use your thumb in the same manner for side-to-side movements using resistance.
Next, open your mouth as wide as possible. Place your fingers against your lower teeth and try to close your mouth against the resistance of your fingers. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
Open your mouth as wide as possible. Then use your fingers to open your mouth even wider. Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
All sections of this exercise should be repeated 10 times.
Neck Flexion
This is a three-step exercise that works the front, back and sides of the neck.
Using a weight bench, lie on your back with your head hanging over the end of the bench. Keep your head parallel to your body. Holding your head against gravity builds muscle strength. Bring your head up slowly and tuck your chin resting it on your chest. Slowly return your head to a parallel position using a count of five. Repeat five times.
Step 2 works the back of the neck. Roll onto your stomach with your head still over the end of the bench. Keep your head parallel with your body, tuck your chin into your chest and then return to the starting position using a count of five. Repeat five times.
Step 3 works the sides of the neck. Roll onto your side with your head in line with your body. Lift your head to your shoulder and then return to the starting position. Repeat five times. Now, roll over on your other side and repeat.
These exercises can be done using a light free weight also. Cover a round plate with a towel and place it on your head while performing these exercises.

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