Shape-Up Boxing Style



Boxing for Beginners

Not everyone wants to get punched in the nose while they're getting in shape, but there's no denying the positive benefits that a boxing-style workout can provide. Boxing moves work the entire body, they highly engage the core, they require muscular and cardiovascular strength and they demand constant focus.  As you undertake your own boxing routine, stick to the basics to get the most out of it.  Get the fundamentals right.  Even if you're not going to get in the ring and trade punches, you should approach training like you are.  That’s where most of the benefit lies.   Performing real boxing moves, adhering to strict fundamentals and applying sound technique is where the science part of “the sweet science” comes into play.

Boxing is about heart, mental and physical toughness, but it’s also rooted in basic body mechanics.  It isn’t just about how gutsy you are, but also about how well you use the machine you were given to put complex movements together with precision and power.  Applying proper technique enlists your muscles, joints and bones to work together in the way they were meant to for optimal physical performance.  Combat may not come naturally to us all, but it is natural.  So whether you want to fight or just have the physique of a fighter, the rules for getting fit enough to fight are all the same.

Punch with accuracy.  Don't simply flail around on the bag as the seconds and minutes go by just to elevate your heart rate.  Keep your hands up as you punch and your elbows tucked in. This is good, basic boxing technique, but it also helps work your back and shoulder muscles.  By bringing your arms in front of your rib cage, you tend to use your whole body more to deliver your shots, not just wind-milling your arms.  Obviously, the more, bigger muscles you use, the greater calories you will burn and muscular-strengthening you will do

Turn on your punches and twist at your waist.  As you punch, roll your shoulder over with the punch and twist your wrist so that your palm is facing down when the punch is fully extended.  This puts more force behind your punches and also engages your core.  This turns a simple punching motion into a great abdominal workout and works your hips, shoulders and back.  In this case, less is not more…use your whole body.

Don't leave your legs out of the fun.  Good fighters drive their punches from the ground up, so bend your knees and press your feet into the floor as you punch. This will work your quads, glutes and connects your punches to the rest of your body.

Don't forget defense.  Even though real punches aren't coming back at you, thinking about defense adds another level of complexity to the movements.  Slipping, ducking and shifting your body weight from side to side, keeps resistance on your legs and lower body.  Some good defensive moves will work your quads, calves and glutes, just by applying constant perpetual motion from the hips on down.

Set a realistic boxing pace. The more you can replicate the real workout that competitive fighters do, the more likely it is that you will share the level of physical and cardiovascular fitness actual boxers enjoy. Throw a lot of punches at high intensity and keep moving. Don't always sit back and pick your shots, but let the action get heated and pull out all the stops. Don't be concerned about pacing yourself.  It's okay to get too tired and have to rest. The body was made for bouts of intense action and bursts of excitement. Tap into that and, from a conditioning and calorie burning aspect; you'll get your internal combustion system working harder and at a higher level. Do this often enough and your body will adjust and become more efficient at burning more calories all day long.

Fighters have been amongst the fittest athletes since the invention of sport. They are highly-tuned for combat, so why not fight for better conditioning, strength and health?  Even if you're not taking punches or exchanging blows, use what fighters know and what fighters do to face the most adverse of conditions. Mimic their technique and you'll likely harness their tenacity too.  Using true, sound boxing technique will have you in the best shape of your life and make the most of your boxing workout.

Doug Ward is the President and Trainer for the Underground Boxing Company.