Cant Keep Your Hands Up During Sparring? Here's Why...

Are your shoulders constantly tiring out?

Do your shoulders start to burn after a good 2 rounds of solid jabs?

Does it make you drop your hands so your opponent can use your head like a speedbag?

As the rounds go on, do your gloves feel like dumbbells making your punches extra sloppy?

If this sounds like your experience in the boxing ring, you're not alone. Many young boxers struggle with shoulder pains when sparring, and it can seriously affect your performance.

 In this article, we'll explore not only why this happens but also the science behind endurance training and how you can alleviate these pains.

Why Do You Have These Shoulder Pains?

If you've ever found yourself questioning why your shoulders ache during sparring, it's essential to understand what's going on. 

When you're in the ring, your shoulders are working hard. 

Each punch you throw, every defensive move you make, your shoulder muscles are hard at work. Just like a car engine, they need fuel and training to run efficiently.

How To Keep Your Hands Up

Muscle Fibers: Slow and Fast Twitch

Now, these muscles are made up of tiny fibers, and there are two types: 

Slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers. 

Slow-twitch fibers are like diesel engines – they can keep going for a long time but aren't super powerful. 

Fast-twitch fibers are more like sports cars – they're powerful but tire out quickly.

In boxing, you want your shoulder muscles to be like a hybrid car, using both slow and fast-twitch fibers efficiently. That's where endurance training comes in.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic: How Muscles Get Energy

When you're boxing, your muscles need energy. They get this energy from your body through two processes: aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic is like a long, steady jog. It's a sustainable energy source that helps you go the distance, like keeping your hands up in later rounds.

Anaerobic, on the other hand, is like sprinting. It provides quick bursts of energy but tires you out faster.

How Endurance Training Helps

Endurance training aims to improve your muscles' ability to use energy efficiently, making them more like that hybrid car. 

When you train for endurance, you're essentially teaching your muscles to use both aerobic and anaerobic processes better.

How It Translates to Boxing

In the ring, this means your shoulders can keep punching and blocking effectively for longer periods. 

You won't gas out as quickly, and your hands won't feel like they're carrying dumbbells because your shoulders will have the stamina to go the distance.

So, when you're doing those workouts we mentioned earlier, you're essentially teaching your muscles to be smarter with their energy use. 

This, in turn, helps you spar better, hit harder, and last through those grueling rounds.

How You Can Increase Shoulder Endurance

Now that you understand the science behind it, let's dive into how to increase your shoulder endurance.

Perfect Your Technique:

The foundation of any successful boxing training is proper technique. 

However, recognizing your own mistakes can be challenging. Seek guidance from a coach or experienced fighter who can provide invaluable insights into your form. 

They can correct your technique and prevent unnecessary strain on your shoulders.

Training for Endurance:

To enhance shoulder endurance, you need a well-structured training regimen. 

The key is to push your shoulders to their limits in a safe manner. 

Your goal is to feel that satisfying burn without overexerting yourself.

Workout 1:

Perform 3 sets of 3-minute rounds with 2kg weights.

Each round should consist of:

30 seconds of punching in front of you.

30 seconds of punching above your head.

30 seconds of lateral raises.

30 seconds of front raises.

30 seconds of holding in front of you.

30 seconds of holding out to the side.

Take a 1-minute rest between rounds.

Workout 2:

Engage in 3-minute bag rounds.

Perform 20 seconds of power punching.

Take a 10-second rest during the 3 minutes.

Rest for 1 minute after completing the round.

Can't Keep Your Hands Up? Here's Why

Injury Prevention and Recovery:

In the world of boxing, injury prevention and recovery are paramount. 

The intensity of training and sparring can take a toll on your body, especially your shoulders. Here's how to stay injury-free and recover effectively:

Warm-Up and Cool-Down: 

Before every training session, ensure you warm up properly. Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles, making them more pliable and less prone to injury. 

After your workout, cool down with stretching to help your muscles relax and recover.

Proper Stretching Techniques:

Incorporate stretching into your routine to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of shoulder injuries. 

Pay special attention to your shoulder girdle muscles, including the rotator cuff, as they play a crucial role in shoulder stability.

Rest and Recovery: 

Your body needs time to heal and repair. Ensure you get enough rest between intense training sessions to avoid overuse injuries. 

Sleep is a crucial part of recovery, as it allows your muscles and joints to recuperate.

Hydration and Nutrition

Stay properly hydrated, as dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and stiffness. 

Additionally, maintain a balanced diet with adequate nutrients, including protein, to support muscle recovery and growth.

Ice and Heat Therapy: 

If you experience any minor shoulder discomfort, use ice to reduce inflammation. Heat can help relax tight muscles. Alternate between ice and heat to alleviate soreness.

Consult a Professional: 

If you experience persistent or severe shoulder pain, consult with a sports medicine professional or physical therapist. 

They can assess your condition, provide tailored rehabilitation exercises, and guide you toward recovery.

By paying attention to injury prevention and recovery, you'll not only reduce the chances of experiencing debilitating shoulder injuries but also ensure that you can maintain a consistent training routine, ultimately improving your shoulder endurance over time.


In the challenging world of boxing, shoulder endurance plays a pivotal role in determining your success in the ring. 

The familiar aches and fatigue you experience during sparring are not signs of weakness but rather signals for improvement. 

Your shoulders are the powerhouse of your punches and defenses, and to ensure they remain resilient, it's vital to comprehend the science of endurance training. 

As we've explored, this science helps your shoulder muscles work efficiently, akin to a well-tuned hybrid car, using both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers. 

Armed with this knowledge, you can focus on perfecting your technique and engaging in structured training, all while prioritizing injury prevention and recovery. 

By combining these elements, you'll not only reduce the risk of debilitating shoulder injuries but also pave the way for enhanced shoulder endurance, allowing you to dominate the ring and reach your boxing aspirations.



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