Tips for Your Boxing Workout

There are so many amazing aspects to a boxing workout. Most boxing workouts include a combination of shadow boxing, jump rope, footwork drills, mitt drills, medicine balls, heavy bag and body weight exercises. Boxing is the perfect workout to add to your exercise regiment. Regardless of your goals, boxing will increase your endurance, strength, coordination and agility. It is one of the easier combat sports to attempt with no training or experience. Additionally, Chicagoland offers many places to find great boxing classes.

A boxing workout is mostly anaerobic. Although about 20% is cardiovascular (aerobic), the length of time for a round is 2-3 minutes. It is the supplemental training in-between rounds that make a boxing workout so intense.  In other words, if you hit the bag for 2 minutes and then rest for 2 minutes the workout is not very challenging. To experience a well-rounded boxing workout it is important to find a class that offers the right balance of technique, training drills, jump rope, mitt work, explosive exercises and core training. I have no problem with heavy bag classes, but I believe that most of your time training should be dedicated to mitt drills and the other movement skill sets. Heavy bag classes should be part of your training program, but not the predominant training format. Cross-training within boxing offers the same benefits as cross-training in general. For example to maximize cardiovascular workouts - it is better to mix it up with running, biking, swimming and rowing.

Everyone should first learn the following:

  1. Fighting Stance - includes your guard and weight distribution
  2. Basic Footwork - your ability to move in your fighting stance
  3. Lead Jab
  4. Cross Jab
  5. Jab, Cross Combo or 1-2

Below is a video that breaks these 5 movements. Everything else in boxing builds from this foundation. Without a solid fighting stance or the ability to move, your punches will quite honestly stink! In the long run, you will cause more damage to your hands, joints and back than benefit. Be careful of classes where you simply go in and bang on a bag for 45-60 minutes. These classes lead you to believe that you are actually boxing. Bags are great, but they do not force you to learn footwork and your fighting stance. Do not let the sweat fool you - workouts that offer a constant improvement in your quality of movement will always offer the body a better workout compared to inefficient movement with poor mechanics.

Here is an overview of the 6 basic punches in boxing. (AKA: refers to other ways in which the punch is described or named)

  1. Lead Jab , AKA Jab, Lead Straight or #1 (no pivot on this punch, combined usually with a step or advance)
  2. Cross Jab, AKA Straight, Cross, Straight Right, Power Punch or #2 (the foot pivots with this punch)
  3. Hook (lead arm), AKA #3 (lead foot pivots)
  4. Power Hook (rear arm), AKA power punch,Wide Right or #4 (sometimes interchanged with an wide-right hand, overhand. I separate it from he overhand punch which is more advanced than a power hook. There is a pivot on this punch)
  5. Lead Uppercut, AKA Upper, Lead Upper or #5 (Slight pivot on this punch.)
  6. Rear Uppercut, AKA Upper, Power Upper or #6 (Pivot on this punch.)

There are several other punches and variations of some these punches. For example, the overhand right is an unbelievably powerful punch, but one that is stylized by fighters and there are many great ways to throw it. It is generally the range of the target that impacts the style of overhand right that is thrown. If you are a beginner focus on the 6 basic punches in a boxing workout. The basics are the punches to master first!

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