Few people are as conditioned, fit, and powerful as boxers. For decades, these ring warriors toiled away in dark and dungy gyms while the rest of us went nowhere fast on our treadmills in air-conditioned comfort. In the last decade, however, mainstream fitness has finally caught up with the idea that if you want to get in shape, you need to train like people who are in shape.
That means working out like a boxer.
For many people, boxing gym training is quite intimidating. They feel out of their depth, uncoordinated, and unfamiliar with even the basics of boxing training.
Getting to grips with some basic tips and strategies can go a long way to easing those fears. Doing so will give you the confidence to get you through the door and into your first boxing gym workout. Then, once you experience the awesome atmosphere of boxing gym workouts, such as that encompassed in the Fort Fitness Defcon room, you’ll discover the guidance, acceptance, and community spirit that will have you wondering why you waited so long to jump in.
Stand with your feet neither too close nor too far apart. Neither should they be too squared or sideways. A good stance will feel natural, providing you with good balance and mobility.
Get into the boxing-ready position, with your dominant leg stepped back, and your body turned in that direction. Lower your chin and tuck in your front shoulder. Now bring your hands up to your face in two fists, slightly lower than your eyes. Next, punch your non-dominant hand straight out, lifting the rear heel as you do so. Rotate your fist as you punch so that your palm is facing the floor in the fully extended position.
A boxing punch is primarily a cardiovascular move to get your heart pumping and burn calories. However, it also works your front deltoids. Perform them in a quick, fluid action for between 50 and 100 reps to get your heart racing. This exercise works well as part of a circuit, especially when interspersed with bodyweight exercises that work specific muscle groups.
Throw a combination of punches on each rep with jabs-crosses-hooks. The six basic punches in boxing are the jab (referred to as “1 left hand”), cross (referred to as “2 right hand”), hooks (referred to as 3 and 4 left and right hand), and uppercuts (referred to as 5 and 6 left and right hand.
Jab – Step forward with the left foot, extend your left hand, and rotate the pam to face the floor. Snap the left hand back into a defensive position.
Cross – Rotate the right hip as you pivot on the right foot and extend your right fist for the punch across your face, palm facing down. Snap back to the defensive position.
Hook – Bend the left elbow to 90 degrees and then swing up with your fist to connect with an opponent’s chin, pivoting the rear heel to add power. The power should come from your torso and legs. You can also do this punch with your right hand.
Uppercut – This is a close-range punch that is delivered in quick succession. Bend your knees slightly as you drop the right shoulder and rotate your body to the right, simultaneously driving up with your fist to the target. You can also do this punch with your left hand.
Shadow Boxing is a method of training and warming up that involves throwing punches in the air in the simulation of boxing with an opponent. As a form of exercise, shadow boxing will work the chest, shoulders, arms, upper back, and thighs. It also burns a lot of calories.
As well as being an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, shadow boxing has the following benefits:
- It improves boxing form
- It enhances your technique
- It boosts coordination and balance
- It improves muscle memory
The key to getting the most from your shadow boxing workout is to get your whole body involved. Throw your punches from your core, not just your shoulder. Imagine that you are facing a very agile opponent who is throwing everything at you, including kicks to the head. To avoid being hit, you will need to bob, weave, and duck down. Stay on your toes, and be sure to rotate your torso on every punch.
An important tip when you are shadow boxing is to pull your punches. If you were in an actual fight situation, you would never pull your punches. The whole point is to strike the target with maximum force. But, there is no actual striking target when you’re shadowboxing. If you follow through with your complete trajectory, especially when you’re hooking, you’re putting yourself in danger of hyperextending your arm and suffering an injury.
Keep your feet constantly moving when you are shadowboxing. Constantly shift your weight from foot to foot and stay agile. If you want to look at a master as an exemplar, check out Muhammad Ali in the ring.
Boxing Bag Workout
Whether you’re training as part of a class or on your own, your boxing workout is likely to have you, at some stage, facing up to a heavy boxing bag. Here are six tips to help you get the most from your boxing bag workout:
- Maintain your balance – do not throw yourself into the bag. Stay upright at all times, rather than flinging your body into the bag. Never push the bag around with your upper body or head.
- Do not push the bag – punch it! Your punches should snap into the bag to produce a smacking sound. Rather than pushing your first into the bag, pull it back quickly and go into your next punch.
- Do not punch on your toes – when you throw a punch, make sure that both feet are planted on the ground. This will allow you to punch with more power and to keep your balance.
- Keep moving when you aren’t punching – as soon as you have thrown a punch, move. Keep within arm’s reach of the bag throughout your entire workout. If the bag swings toward you, back up. If it swings away, move with it.
- Keep throwing punches – you should rest no longer than a couple of seconds between punches. Remember that, even if you are training for exercise purposes, you are still simulating a real fight situation. If you wait for 5 seconds before throwing a punch in the ring, you are likely to end up on the canvas.
- Focus on your breathing – take in deep nasal breaths, filling your lungs and expelling them through your mouth. Staging focused on this type of explosive breathing will help you to stay relaxed and strong.
Boxing Gym Workout Tips
- Take a water bottle to your class
- Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing
- Bring a positive mindset
- Pay attention to the instructor
- Don’t worry about how you look to others
- Have fun!