I just started boxing. I've been 3 times so far. Great workout! The last time I went was Monday and there is a practice today (Wednesday). So 2 days. I find today that I'm sore. Specifically sore in the rib area (sides and front). Or above the stomach if you prefer. Not sure of the name but looks like internal and external obliques from a diagram I saw and perhaps latimus dorsi.

My specific questions are:

  1. Is it normal to get sore here given that I was not hit here? The practice consisted of lots of punching (air, bags, training mitts), sit-ups, but no sparing. Also, curiously (to me), I did not feel particularly sore Monday night after practice, but rather Tuesday night and now (Wednesday morning).

  2. Should I go to boxing practice today even though I'm sore? The fun part of my brain says "go for it", the intelligent part (what little there is) says "better hold off for a few days". Practice is tonight at 6 p.m.

  3. (Bonus question) Anything to do to prevent and/or help with soreness in these areas?

Thanks, Dave

  • Thank you all. Very useful answer. I can only pick one unfortunately. I went to practice and did Muay Thai instead of boxing. It was different drills which I think helped avoid more pain. Next practice is Saturday. Ultimately my goal is 3-4 times a week. Loving this forum. I'll post more questions about my training later.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 16:52

5 Answers 5


It's normal to be sore after a workout--even two or three days later, even in places you think you didn't workout--especially if you have been sedentary. The body is a unit, all the muscles are inter-related, so believe it or not you may be sore from punching, even if you did not get hit in the abdomen, and even if you did no exercises that target the abdomen.

Working out every other day is healthy. You are fine to go to class today. You mention that you just started. Yeah, you're going to be more sore in the beginning than later down the road. You need to respect your body's limitations, but don't coddle yourself. Do not push yourself beyond your limits. If you feel the onset of injury, stop and address the pain.

Preventing soreness

  • You can't. Nor should you. You will always get sore when you're pushing your limits (but not to the point of breaking!) which is the only way to improve performance.
  • Soreness will be less over time. In other words, it will take more to make you sore, if you are consistent with your workout routine.
  • Drinking lots of water will help with soreness.
  • Increasing potassium (bananas) may help with lactic acid.

One of my favorite related quotes:

"Go hard or go home... just don't go so hard you have to go home."


Yes, it is normal to be sore after doing hard exercise. Note that sore should not be painful. If there is pain, that's not so good and could be a symptom of something serious.

The soreness is due to muscles re-building after being damaged by exercise. This is a normal process of healing and building more muscle. This is why you should rest and not do the same exercise day in, day out.

Since you just started, I suggest you trained twice a week. You can then increase that to three times when you are feeling less sore after each session.

The best way to avoid feeling sore is to get fitter. A close second is to cool down after doing exercise, making sure you stretch all the major groups.


Something my Jujutsu Sensei always told us was come to class even if you are not feeling well. No need to participate, but you can watch and learn a lot from watching others practice. If you are contagious, stay home and get the rest you need, but if you are sore or have another injury where you can still watch the class then come on by.


It's completely normal to be sore when you're new to the sport. Boxing hits a lot of muscles you normally wouldn't, and especially through high repetition exercises(pushups, situps, burpees... and even just hitting the heavybag).

Know your body, and know the difference between being sore, and actually having pain.

Remember to stretch out properly after workouts. Those 10 minutes will be worth it.


I used to dance and my teacher was very wise about stretching; it relieves soreness so that you can still move around.

Try stretching each limb for 30 seconds each either standing up or sitting down. When sitting down you can increase your flexibility by touching your toes, taking deep breathes while keeping your neck close to your chest.

I stretch before and right after my work outs and although my boxing session has left me very sore I feel a bit better because I stretched.


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