Boxing is a sport that became a fitness phenomenon. It's out the ring and into gyms and even the homes of those who want to get fit and strong. The high-intensity boxing training is very appealing, not only because of the total body workout it provides but also because of the mental benefits you experience when you release your feelings into the punching bag. As a sport, boxing requires a high level of skill, such as strength, speed, hand-eye coordination, power, agility, endurance, and more.
However, boxing as a fitness activity enables you to develop those skills without having to take a punch for it. You get to punch without getting punched. Plus, boxing training comes with plenty health benefits for you and no scary brain injuries such as those that pro boxers experience. You get to play without having to pay!
BENEFITS OF BOXING
Let's face it, most people would skip running if they could. More and more people are looking for some form of cardio that they can enjoy better than jogging or running, especially people who live in urban areas where jogging can be dangerous. Boxing is an excellent way to benefit from a good cardio session! It helps you burn calories, lose weight, and promote cardiovascular health. So, punch and kick your way to heart health!
While it may seem like your arms are doing the punching, you actually have to punch with your entire body to deliver effectively. Punches are basically explosive movements that recruit every major muscle group in your body. Just one punch engages your entire upper body, drawing power from your core, hips, and legs. Develop proper technique in order to engage your body and burn more calories.
When frustration and stress build up, take it out of your punching bag. It's illegal to punch people, but it's OK to punch your bag. Combining proper technique with hard bag punches will help you release stress, pain, and negativity in a healthy way. Boxing is definitely the best outlet for stress because high-intensity punching takes your mind off of your worries while putting you through high-intensity bouts of exercise with moderate recovery periods. So, you get two birds with one punch!
Hand-eye coordination plays a vital role in your motor skills, thus affecting your total health and daily function. When you benefit from improved hand-eye coordination, you have faster reflexes and reaction times. As you get old, your hand-eye coordination starts to deteriorate and that also affects your balance. To prevent this from happening, focus on your punching bag (or boxing partner) to react faster and time your punch perfectly. A moving target will keep you engaged and challenged, helping you maintain and improve your coordination and balance. Your brain will get a good training out of this as well, forcing you to think fast.
Not only will boxing make you lose fat, but it will also help you build muscle. It improves your body composition significantly by combining muscle-building strength training with calorie-burning cardio. Do regular boxing at your local boxing gym to get back in shape, build strong muscles, and lose unwanted body fat.
Perhaps the most important benefit you will experience from boxing is that you will get a confidence boost. Women and young adults especially love this sports because the skills they learn can be used in real life situations when they need to defend themselves. Everyone can benefit from a good confidence boost that makes them feel strong and safe at all times.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Most gyms offer both types of boxing training: pro training and fitness training. Whether you want to have a boxing career or just simply box to reach your fitness goals and release stress, you can easily find the right gym for you. If you don't want to take a punch, look for a gym that offers you classes and programs outside of the boxing ring.
You will learn the same basic skills, such as learning how to jab, hook, cross, improving your footwork, developing your strength, and much more. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner and never delivered a punch before. Most boxing gyms are beginner-friendly and they help you get started regardless of your fitness level. You can work at your own pace and control the intensity levels to better suit your fitness.
Boxing at Home
If you have space, you can set up your punching bag at home and get started. You will need a 75-100-pound bag to hang it from a stand or ceiling, boxing gloves, jump rope, and a medicine ball. These items are all you need to get an efficient boxing training at home and once you invest in them, you can rely on their durability. It's probably more cost-efficient too.
Next, you'll want to learn the proper boxing stance and the main punches, in order to get you started and enable you to start your training. While you need to learn the proper technique and form, keep in mind that the effectiveness of this sports is in its intensity. So, without any reservations, go hard! Unless you plan on being a pro boxer, make sure that you rest and that you don't make your boxing sessions too long.
A pro boxer trains at least an hour, 5 to 6 days per week in order to prepare for a match. This prepares their mind to be able to perform under pressure as well. But if you are not interested in taking punches as well as giving them, then incorporate boxing into your training regimen to help tone your muscular structure, cardiovascular health and provide you sweet stress relief.
- Boxing Stance - Your boxing stance is very important because it sets you up to both deliver and dodge punches. If you're right-handed, position your left leg in front, so that your dominant arm is further back in order to maximize the generated force. The opposite stance (left hand, right foot) is called "Southpaw".Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, then move the leg opposite to your dominant arm forward and shift the other foot back. Support your weight on the balls of your feet and soften your knees and bring your dominant fist up to touch the side of your chin with your index finger. Bring the other fist up to your cheek height and keep your elbows close to your body, touching your ribs, in order to protect your body. This will also help increase the power of your punches.
- Jab - The jab is not a power punch, but it helps set up your other punches. It's the lead punch thrown straight ahead with your non-dominant arm. It's the arm that's closest to your opponent so you will use it a lot.
- Cross - This is a more powerful punch that you throw with your dominant arm, which should be farthest from your target. It's a more powerful punch because your legs and upper body are able to generate more force. You should throw this punch after your jab.
- Hook - You can hook with either hand, but it's more effective if you focus your hooks with your non-dominant arm to be less vulnerable. It's called a "hook" because this is not a straight punch. It comes at the target from the side, using power generated from the hips and legs. Let the hook travel from your shoulder and turn towards your target halfway through the punch. Make sure your elbow doesn't travel wider than your shoulder and return the punch the same way you've thrown it.
Performing your jabs, hooks, and crosses are only the cherry on top of boxing training. It's your boxing performance when you want to maintain your fitness, release pent-up aggression, or when you face an opponent. But there is an entire routine you need to work through if you want to improve your fitness level or even prepare for a match. The following is a workout example that will help you develop the skills you need for boxing and improve your overall fitness. Make sure you don't skip your jump rope exercise because this plays an important role in developing your speed, agility, core strength and footwork.
Heavy-Bag Work 2 rounds x 3 minutes, 1-minute rest
This exercise strengthens your shoulders, chest, back, arms, and legs while increasing your power and endurance. Rotate your torso through each punch so that you generate more force. Move your feet when you punch, "dance with the bag", and punch in a series of jabs, crosses, and hooks.
Jump Rope, 2 rounds x 3 minutes, 1-minute rest
It's a great exercise to improve your cardiovascular fitness. It can be a lot harder than you think to skip rope for 3 minutes straight, but that should be your goal. Switch from foot to foot (crisscrossing) to hop around easier. For your second round of jumping rope, try double jumping by rotating the rope under your feet twice with each jump. This will help you improve your coordination and balance.
Crunch and Plank, 2 rounds without resting in between
The power of your punches doesn't come from your arms. It comes from the rotation of your hips and the force it generates through your core muscles. When you throw and take punches, your abs, obliques, and lower back contract. That's why the following 2 exercises come as one because they help you strengthen your core, both front, and back.
Dumbbell crunch, 12 reps
- Lie on your back, plant your feet on the floor and bend your knees.
- Hold a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms directly over your chest, and make sure they are perfectly straight.
- Crunch upwards and keep your arms straight at all time.
- As soon as your shoulder blades are off the floor, start descending to your starting position with a control movement.
Get into a plank position and hold it for as long as you can. Stay there for at least one minute and slowly work your way up to 3 minutes. Make sure your hips are lifted, back straight, and keep your abs, quads, and glutes engaged. Keep your neck neutral by fixing your gaze about 6 inches in front of you.
Boxing training is perfect for you if you’re looking for cardio variety, total body workout, and developing your self-defense skills, all while getting a good stress relief out of it. You can go to your local boxing gym or set up a punching bag at home if you space, and start from there. If you attend your local boxing gym, don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re a beginner, because they will provide you with a program that’s perfect for your skill level.
If you’re not interested in taking a punch, make sure you tell them that and stick to boxing training as a form of fitness. Many athletes and even models incorporate boxing in their fitness regimen at least once or twice a week. It is quite the fitness phenomenon, and we’re sure you’ll love it!