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TITLE Boxing Blog

From inside the gym to around the world of combat sports, the TITLE Boxing Blog keeps you up-to-date with the latest MMA and Boxing news, training tips and fighting techniques. This is the kind of info you need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Training

  • Take the Lead: Putting the Heavy Bag to Work for You

    Take the Lead: Putting the Heavy Bag to Work for You

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Heavy Bag Workout Tips & Techniques

    For as long as the modern day sport of boxing has existed, the heavy bag has been at the core of nearly every prizefighter’s workout routine. In the beginning, they were constructed of everything from canvas bags to gunny sacks filled with sand or grain. Although construction methods have advanced, the purpose that the heavy bag serves has remained the same. It provides a substantial target for a fighter to practice the art of power punching, movement and crafting a full arsenal of punches. Everything in the book, from the jab to the body shot, can be perfected on the heavy bag. The key to this integral piece of equipment and getting the most out of it is to be sure that you work it and don’t let it work you. What that means is that you don’t let it become a force that you only react to.  Instead, control its’ movement, dictate the pace of the round, the direction of the bag and every aspect of what you do with it.

    Too many fighters stand in front of the bag, hit it a few times (or once) and allow the bag to swing back and forth while they wait to hit it again. There’s really much more you can get out of the heavy bag than that, by not allowing yourself to follow, but lead the charge. If it were a dance, you would want to be the man, not the woman.  Lead, don’t follow.

    One of your goals on the heavy bag is to keep it moving, don’t let it settle into place. When you strike the bag, either pursue it and throw an additional combination or step to the side and throw. It is best not to hit the bag when it is coming straight back at you. Instead, step off and counter the direction the bag is going to interrupt its natural movement or hit it so that it continues its motion. The idea is to control the bag, where it goes, how fast it moves and when you stop its motion. If you have just hit the bag and it is swinging back at you, step off to your right and let a right cross go or plant a solid right hand to the body. Or as it swings back, step off to your left and rip a left hook to the body or head. By stepping to the side in this manner, you are accomplishing three main objectives.

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    First you are training yourself to remain in perpetual motion and making each minute of each round on the bag a real workout. Time spent standing flat-footed, waiting for the bag to come back it pointless. That means you are conditioning yourself to wait for your opponent to lead and take control. That’s a bad habit to get into and a dangerous position to put yourself in.

    Secondly, as you step of to the side, you should be shifting your weight to the lead foot that you stepped with. When you do this it is re-establishing a firm foundation and is putting you in the proper position to throw another punch or combination.

    Although it may sound basic, by working around the bag or pursuing it, you are hitting a moving target, as opposed to an “opponent” that is just coming straight at you or running away from you all of the time. That is both unrealistic and too simple. When the bag moves and you move to counter it…that’s more like a real fight. It requires you to respond and place your shots more precisely.  When you’re attacking a moving target, it requires better timing, judging range and adjusting your distance. You have to think more and work the bag more deliberately.

    It is also good to sometimes follow the bag. This form of attack may play into your already aggressive fighting style or is just good to work on in case you ever find yourself in the type of situation where you need to apply pressure and force the attack. By keeping your head planted on the bag while you bury punches into it, pressing the action and firing off powerful combinations, this will get you accustomed to moving forward. Even if this is not your typical fighting style, it will get you in the type of shape that you will need to be able to constantly apply effective pressure and will make you a more adaptable fighter.

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    What you do on the heavy bag, the types of drills you incorporate and the various routines you work on are virtually endless. But, more important than what you do, is how you do it, because ultimately, the heavy bag will never make you work harder than you want to. It’s not going to push you or punch back or make the rounds any more difficult than you dictate. Let the seconds tick by while you watch the bag swing lazily on its chain or take charge and put it to work for you and you’ll quickly find that the heavy bag can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.

    Get your heavy bags here and your bag gloves here.

  • Old Habits Die Hard

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Although there are certainly life lessons and traditional rules of etiquette that apply to all situations, there are a handful of seemingly good habits that can work against you in the boxing ring.  What you do in life, how you conduct yourself day-to-day, doesn’t always mesh well with what you need to practice in the gym in order to properly protect yourself.  When you break it down, you might be surprised how many of the good habits you were constantly reminded of as a child, just don’t apply to life in the gym.  The good habits you worked to perfect actually translate into bad boxing technique.  Some of these physical traits and mental beliefs you have worked so hard to follow are now the very ideals you need to leave at the gym door in order to become a better fighter.Sub01-OldHabits-Blog

    1.  Stand up straight…don’t slouch.  That was great for attending Sunday school, but in the ring, correct posture is not good.  Although you were taught and constantly reminded to stand up straight, shoulders back and chin up tall, that’s a like putting out an “open for business” sign on your chin.  Instead, keep your shoulders rounded, your chin tucked in and your head behind your hands.  Too many times, you see guys bending at their waist to try to avoid punches.  They duck and slip punches with their backs straight and their shoulders back.  Their posture is great, but their movement is horrible and they get hit with EVERYTHING. Your arms and shoulders are like your own personal shell.  Roll your shoulders over and get in it.Sub02-OldHabits-Blog

    2.  When you walk, you do it heel-toe, but when you move in boxing you should always stay on the balls of you feet.  Anytime you find yourself on your heel, you are vulnerable to be hit and knocked off balance.  You can’t move from your heel.  You need your toes to push off with, so anytime you have to move from your heel, you first have to shift your weigh onto the ball of your foot and then move.  That means you have to make two movements to get into a new position instead of just one.

    3.  If it hurts, avoid it.  Boxing involves pain - in the gym, in training and in the ring.  That may sound pretty basic, but for some people changing their mindset and becoming okay with facing and embracing that pain day-after-day, requires some re-adjusting.  It’s not all that natural to seek out and actually look for ways to create pain in your workout or thrive on it when you enter the ring.  Pain comes with the territory, so if you want to become a fighter, you don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it.Sub03-OldHabits-Blog

    4. Be nice. Don't get angry.  Don’t lose your temper.  Those are all valuable in the workplace, in school and in social gatherings, but in the boxing ring, a little anger can go a long way. That’s not to say you should let it get away from you or that it’s okay to lose your cool in the heat of battle.  You have to keep it under control, but some well-placed aggression is necessary. That’s one of the appealing aspects to competitive athletics is that you can blow off a little steam and it’s not only accepted, it is admired.  Again, that’s not to say that pitching a fit or outwardly abusing your sparring partners is good, but sometimes a little fire (under control) gives off the kind of heat you need to keep the competitive fire burning.

    5.  Don't be egotistical.  Actually a little ego is good. Arrogance is bad.  Don’t get the two confused.   Your ego is what your idea of your own importance is.  It is your self-esteem and it doesn’t have to be at an inappropriate level.  Arrogance is feeling or showing contempt or disregard for others and having an inflated self-importance.  It’s important to not underplay your importance, your skill set or potential. Its part of what makes you want to compete and achieve.  It’s only when this escalates into feelings of superiority over other people that your views and the way you treat others fighters or coaches become out of balance.Sub04-OldHabits-Blog

    6. Fear is a bad emotion.  When harnessed, fear is actually good.  Your brain is hard-wired to respond to danger, to send your body and mind into overdrive so that it can physically and mentally cope with pressure. Your body's natural response induces sweating, speeds up your heart rate, heightens your awareness and increases blood flow.  Don’t these all sound like good traits to take into the ring with you?  Your mind, feeling fear, works faster and more intuitively than your conscious mind and can jump into action instantly when it senses the slightest bit of danger.  This emotional skill allows you to act quickly and instinctually, without having to take the time to process new information.  The only time fear is negative is when you allow it to consume you and inhibit your ability to think and react naturally.  Embrace it and this won’t happen.

    Although breaking some of these traditionally good life habits may feel unnatural or be difficult at first, working to correct them could mean a better life in the gym.  These changes may not make your mommy proud, but as long as you still don’t talk with your mouth full or put your elbows on the dinner table, ignoring some of these minor rules of etiquette will help protect your face...even if it is one only a mother could love.

  • Rock Your Workout with OTHERWISE & TITLE Boxing

    Rock Your Workout with OTHERWISE & TITLE Boxing

    By OTHERWISE & TITLE Boxing

    Balls To The Wall Workout Playlist

    Ditch that old, overplayed playlist you’ve been training to all year because Las Vegas-based hard rock band Otherwise curated the most “balls to the wall” workout playlist we’ve ever heard. Including warm ups like “Indian Summer” by Jai Wolf, Metallica’s sweat-inducing “Enter Sandman” and their very own adrenaline-pumping “Angry Heart”, this playlist is the only playlist you’ll need at the gym.

    Otherwise stopped by TITLE Boxing HQ before their headlining show in Kansas City last month. Vocalist Adrian Patrick and guitarist Ryan Patrick threw some punches and told us why these are their go-to jams:

    “Typical” by Mute Math: "This song reminds me of our higher calling. It keeps the fire inside burning brightly. When I listen to it, I remember why we do what we do… why we fight so hard to cut through the clamor and be heard... why we sacrifice so much in our attempt to transcend."

    “Touched” by VAST: "This tune just makes me feel like a superhero. They tapped into something timeless and otherworldly, something that resides deep down in my psyche somewhere, perhaps passed down by my ancestors across the ages from some ancient battlefield."

    “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine: "I could simply listen to every Rage album on repeat when we train or lift because if any band speaks to the rebel-poet-warrior in me, it's THIS band. When I wrestled and played football in high school, we would hype ourselves up into a frenzy listening to Rage. We'd even blast it when we knew we were heading into some foolish brawl. To this day, I still feel that same youthful, unbridled fury when I listen to Rage."

    “Bury Me a G” by Thug Life: "I'd like to believe that Bruce Wayne would somehow appreciate the die-hard conviction of this jam… that somehow the darkness in his soul would connect with Tupac's savage prose, like mine does."

    “Steppin' Razor” by Peter Tosh: "If I were a professional fighter, I'd probably walk out to this one. It makes me think of our Dad, who is one of the fiercest fighters we know. We may not always fight the right battles or fight them in a way that's acceptable by society at large, but if there is one thing our father has taught us, it's to NEVER stop fighting the good fight, no matter what."

    “Rose of Sharyn” by Killswitch Engage: "This is an anthem that simultaneously fills me with anger and hope, for all the loved ones we've lost. It makes believe that there is light out there in the darkness. It keeps my fighting spirit alive in our pursuit to make all of our better angels proud of the path we've chosen."

    Follow and stream the full playlist here and be sure to grab a copy of Otherwise’s latest album, Sleeping Lions, for even more workout jams.

    To enter for your chance to win a gear package from TITLE Boxing + signed merchandise from OTHERWISE, click here.

  • There's More to Punching Bags than Punching

    There's More to Punching Bags than Punching

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    How To Hang A Heavy Bag

    Walk into any gym and you will see a variety of bags, hung in different ways, from varying heights, at a wide range of tension levels and anchor points. Most are mounted or anchored without much thought about anything more than being sure they are secure. In actuality the height at which you hang your bag and what you use to hang it with may be playing more of a role in your training than you ever realized.

    It's important to remember that each bag or work station in your gym is meant to serve as the opponent. Each real opponent your fighter will face has a personality or fighting style and whether you've ever really thought about it or not, so does each bag.Sub01-HowsItHanging-Blog

    The heavy bag, for instance, plays a central role in most gyms. Minutes turn into hours of training on this one piece of equipment and what you're doing on it each time you work out, is setting the tempo that you become accustomed to fighting at. It is helping establish the pace of your workout based on two characteristics, its size/weight and how it swings.

    If the heavy bag is hung from a taller ceiling and has a longer chain, its movements are longer, the range of movement wider and it requires less reaction time from the fighter. This style encourages more foot movement from the fighter as he chases down and counters the bag's movement and reinforces the style of fighting longer range, on the outside.

    On the other hand, if the heavy bag is hung from a lower ceiling, the swinging motion is shorter, it requires less foot movement and adjusting to counter the bag. The shorter swinging motion allows the fighter to stand more stationary and reinforces more inside fighting.Sub02-HowsItHanging-Blog

    The other bag that is greatly affected by how it is hung is the double end bag. This mostly relates to tension though and how tight your bungee cords are. The tighter the rubber cords, the shorter the movement of the bag will be. Having your double end bag tightly mounted encourages a greater level of intensity, requires greater hand speeds and faster reaction time.  Use more loose cords and the bag takes on a different personality. It becomes slower, moves in wider, more sweeping motions and reduces the pace the fighter is forced to work at.

    If you have a maize ball or slipping bag in your gym, even the length of the rope or chain used to hang this bag, encourages more or less movement from your fighter. If the rope is long, then the bag will take longer to swing back and forth and allows more time to react. If the rope or chain is shorter, the bag has a shorter range of motion; it becomes a faster paced exercise and is more intense.

    Of course the weight and size of the bag also plays pivotal role in how much the bag moves, how far it swings and the style of fighting it reinforces. The larger the bag, the less it will move and the smaller the bag, the faster and more mobile it will be. This goes for speed bags, heavy bags, double end bags or maize balls.Sub03-HowsItHanging-Blog

    The most important question in all cases is what are you trying to accomplish? Whether the fighter you are working with is more of a boxer, a puncher, an inside or outside fighter or whatever attribute(s) you want him to be working on, should factor into how you hang each bag. Of course you can adapt a specific fighting style to work with any of these scenarios. You can fight at a fast pace on the heavy bag or a slow pace on a double end bag, but there is an unmistakable natural inclination to fight a certain way when the bag in front of you has a distinct rhythm or movement.

    The bags in your gym are helping you become a better fighter. They can't tell you what you're doing wrong or shower you with words of encouragement, but they can develop certain aspects of your game. If you use them correctly and thoughtfully, you can make each piece of equipment work to enhance very specific skills. Just hitting the bag is like using the computer to only type emails. There are a myriad of other things you can get out of it that will improve your life and make you more efficient. So think about each bag's personality and what fighting style you want to improve while doing it, and then hang your bags accordingly. Determine what level you want your bags to hang and you'll be deciding what level you want to fight at.

    Shop punching bags here.

  • Protection and Power: Take Your Mouthguard Seriously

    Protection and Power: Take Your Mouthguard Seriously

    By Douglas Ward, Marketing Director at TITLE Boxing

    Best Mouthguards for Boxing

    When boxing's first protective gum shield (mouthpiece) was introduced in 1913 by dentist Jack Marks and was consequently made popular by boxer Ted "Kid" Lewis, his creation was purely intended to provide protection for the teeth and gums. Little did he know, his simple product would ultimately be altered and engineered to improve athletic performance. His basic design would also become a part of nearly all combat and contact sports. However, it wasn't until recent years that companies have put the research behind this piece of gear to enhance its protective benefits and, in the process, discover that a good mouthpiece can actually make an athlete stronger and faster. By providing a better fit and aligning the jaw more properly, your mouthpiece can actually add power to your punch and improve your ability to take a better shot. A better chin combined with the ability to hit harder...could that be true? It could be and it is.11.29.17 Mouthguard-BlogArt-Sub01

    More than the obvious benefits of just protecting your choppers from being punched-out, a good quality mouthpiece affects your physical ability and energetic output. It achieves this through positively affecting the position of your jaw by drawing it down, out and away from the base of your skull, so that direct impact to the brain is lessened. The proper placement of your jaw also affects the position of your head.  In turn, the position of your head affects your posture. If your jaw, head and body are all in alignment, then your body and brain are not wasting energy on trying to balance and counter-balance your head. Even though the adjustments are so small that they are in-perceivable, because you are constantly getting hit, constant adjustments are being made. The thousands of punches you take and movements you make during a six or eight round sparring session really add up and are distracting from your focus, even if you are not aware of it.  You may not sense the ongoing task that your body is subconsciously managing for you, but it's taking a small toll on your energy levels and focus.11.29.17 Mouthguard-BlogArt-Sub02

    Gaining power is a plus, because you have to wear a mouthpiece anyway, but the type of jaw-clenching that holding a mouthpiece in place requires, also improves blood flow to the brain.  This translates into more awareness and greater focus. Even without these added benefits, biting down on your mouthpiece is just smart. It helps protect you from getting your jaw broken and forces you to breathe through your nose, which also helps balance the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our blood, which directly affects your aerobic endurance.11.29.17 Mouthguard-BlogArt-Sub03

    Will getting the best mouthpiece money can buy suddenly transform you into a devastating power puncher? No, but it can serve as one piece of the puzzle that will make you are more complete, picture-perfect fighter. According to a Rutgers University study conducted in 2008, you can realistically expect an improvement of anywhere from 3-7% in power output. In this study, participants clearly demonstrated enhanced performance during short duration, explosive exercises, like boxing.

    Knowing that a mouthpiece can have so many far-reaching implications gives you one more reason to consider what value you're placing on your boxing pursuits. Why spend two dollars on a standard, boil-and-bite mouthpiece only to turn around and splurge hundreds of bucks on a pair of gloves? Just as important as protecting yourself at all times, it is equally as important to protect yourself at all costs. In today's economic climate, everyone has a budget, but if boxing is your business, then invest your hard earned dollars wisely and put your money where your mouth is.

    Shop mouthguards here.

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