Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kicking Your A**. Literally.



People tend to get bored with their exercise routines when all they have been doing is running, running, and more running. And then maybe some weight lifting here and there. Well, if you haven’t considered boxing, you might be short-changing yourself.

Men tend to gravitate towards sports with players that women swoon over, like football, American football (see what I did there), and basketball. And women tend to gravitate towards sports that require a ton of aerobic effort and not much bleeding. Since boxing tends to get looked over as a sport, and since it does not require team effort, a lot of people don’t consider boxing when they are looking for a plain and simple way to stay fit. Well, as the girl who has tried it all, I figured I’d tell you why it is.

When I talk about boxing here, I will be focusing more on boxing using punching bags as a way to stay fit, not as a sport. So you can relax your jaws around me now.

Benefits?
The number of calories you burn depends on your level of intensity, but with boxing, you both burn and work on toning your muscles at the same time. It is mostly an anaerobic exercise, which means that you keep going without much oxygen for a few minutes and then you rest for a few minutes. So it’s very much an interval type of workout. And if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that interval training is a really good way to lose weight.

However, if you look at some boxers that don’t spend too much time on cardio, they may look very muscular, but their bodies are not very well defined. This is where the cardio comes in. Boxing just works on every area without the focus of other strength exercises, and so this could leave you muscular, but not evenly defined all over. Adding consistent cardio to your workout routine gives you that definition.

So it’s boxing plus some cardio.

Where do you start? Get a bag!
If your gym has a punching bag or boxing classes, that’s great. But if it doesn’t, don’t use your friend’s face as your test bag! You can buy one online. There are many different types: ones you can hang from your ceiling, ones that come on a base that you can fill with sand or water, and even ones that come with their own stands. Just remember, if you hang one in your ceiling, make sure the nuts and bolts you use can actually handle the weight of the bag. Not that I've had a bag fall of my ceiling or anything...

Since we all can’t go from zero to hero in one workout, if you consider getting into boxing, you have to gauge your level of fitness. The non-stop intense portion of the intervals are pretty hard, and so make start with a few jabs for a few seconds and then rest. Keep going until you can do the high-intensity for longer. If you skimp on your routine and don’t keep moving, you are robbing yourself of a proper workout. And since there is no treadmill to estimate the number of calories you’ve burned, you may not know that you are doing poorly.

Don’t know how to punch?
There are 4 basic types of punches. See the picture at the top of this post for a visual on all four.

Jab: The basic punch most of us know. It starts with the left foot forward (for right-handed boxers), and basically, the body does not move to much as you punch. It is a straight punch.

Cross: This involves more movement from the knees. If you are right-handed, a cross is done with the right hand. It is also a straight punch, but you move your torso forward as you jab.

The jab and the cross are usually done as a sequence; left hand with the body facing the side, and then right hand with the body facing forward.

Hook: This is a side punch. If you were boxing with an opponent, this would be one of the punches that get you the side of his face or his liver in a semi-circular type of motion. Unlike the jab, even though the hook is mostly done with the left hand, it can be done with either. Again, I’m using a right-handed person as an example so it would be different for those who are left-handed.

Uppercut: If you’ve ever played Mortal Kombat, you know what an uppercut is. It is also a side punch where you bend slightly and get your opponent in the jugular. Getting an opponent in their chin or torso can push them of balance really quickly so you can finish them off. When hitting a punching bag, it is a little hard to get the uppercut right because, well, the punching bag doesn’t have a chin. But if you act like you’re going for the torso rather than the chin, it works out better.

Any more tips?
  • The biggest mistake people make when they box is to just run right into it. Don’t do this. Make sure you practice in front of a mirror first. That way you can see if the punches “make sense”. This idea of practicing in front of a mirror is called shadow boxing.
  • You see boxers jumping rope, right? Do you ever wonder why? Jumping rope helps to improve speed and coordination, which boxers definitely need to keep punching at high intensity. So to improve your technique, buy a rope. Your consolation? You can use them to the cardio bit we talked about earlier.
  • Your footwork is very important too. You have to learn to move your feet right so that you can keep moving and not burn out. Plus, it helps with burning calories all over too.
  • After you have punched a bag the first time, you may realize you are not as strong as you thought you were. But that is what the training is for. You improve your strength, your speed, and the look of your body.

Want a sample?
Here is a beginner’s boxing training video. Check it out and try it today. You might love it.



Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: allfight.blogspot.com 

2 comments:

  1. I love boxing. I do box exercise classes twice a week. An awesome workout as it works the whole body. Besides I get a good night's sleep afterwards. We use stationary punch bags (2 to a bag).

    Thanks for sharing..
    Ps.. would you like to be a guest blogger for A Day In God's Will? To write something on the Health and Fitness section. If yes, let me know, and I will send you more details. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Remi. Sure, I'd like to be a guest blogger. Send me more info :)

    ReplyDelete

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