Give Me Your Best Shot: Get In Shape By Boxing

You will exert more energy and release all the day's tension from on the job when you hit that bag as hard as you can.

Looking to try something new and unconventional to liven up your workouts, then PUNCH your way into shape.

That's right, give boxing a round, or two or three. Boxing has become a fitness craze that breaks up the monotony of stair climbing to nowhere and typical weight training programs. Boxing can give you a high-intensity workout that will develop power, strength, endurance, balance, and confidence, not to mention maybe a title shot for the World Championship title.

The Workouts

Boxing workouts incorporate traditional moves in the ring but also a safe alternative to pumping all that iron. The upper body, mainly the torso and mid-section receives much of the conditioning benefit, especially when you are doing glove to heavy bag contact. Those gloves alone weigh anywhere from 12-to-20 ounces.

Yeah, it might not sound like a lot, but after 6 3-minute rounds keep your arms up and the shoulders are screaming for a break. The added weight in the gloves increases the intensity in the upper body movements because of the small amount of resistance.

Some of you might think this type of workout is aerobic with all that huffing and puffing going on, but really it is strictly an anaerobic workout. A boxing workout can be compared to the H.I.T. philosophy of training. Boxing is small bouts of high-intensity exertions followed by brief moments of recovery.

Boxing cross-training also incorporates the ability to improve your overall conditioning, agility and flexibility by adding basic drills, such as jump roping, medicine ball drills and interval sprint training. Boxing allows you to develop new skills.

A boxing workout is much more fun and motivational then the typical weightlifting on machines or free weights. And, of course, you will feel the difference in one workout. You will exert more energy and release all the day's tension from on the job when you hit that bag as hard as you can.

Merryle Gutierrez, an accomplished aerobics/fitness instructor at Gold's Gym Naples, Florida, specializing in kickboxing type classes incorporates basic boxing moves into real fighting combinations during classes. "I try to keep the moves simple and the intensity very high.

Basic jabs, uppercuts, blocks, cross jabs and some speed bag training too. This, coupled with aerobic type moves is much more difficult," Merryle goes on to explain.

The Technique
"Proper technique is crucial. Execution, style and form are the most important factors. Combine all these factors together and it will accelerate shaping and toning. Eye and hand coordination will improve, along with endurance, strength, fat burning, cardiovascular fitness and all the other benefits of boxing."

She goes on to say she personally found adding boxing movements to the upper body along with lower body kicks makes for one of the most physical classes she ever taught.

Boxing is all about stamina and speed. That's why incorporating boxing into any training format is going to make your upper body stronger, help you lose body fat, create cardiovascular endurance and tone your overall physique.

Richard Council, a Golden Gloves, retired professional boxer and now Collier County Deputy Sheriff understands the use of boxing to benefit the body. "Boxing can benefit everyone for strength training, cardiovascular training and body shaping."

Richard also goes on to say. "The benefits of using the heavy bag alternating with a speed bag is like doing a heavy set of bench press super setting a high rep set of flat dumbbell fly's, the intensity and body shaping are virtually the same."

Using boxing techniques in your personal training can aid you in reducing body fat, gain cardiovascular endurance, release tension and develop strength and body shape.

Welcome Newcomers!

Never boxed before? That's OK. Preparing yourself for the ring is easy. First, let's work on your stance. Proper stance is crucial to maintaining stability and for enduring all those rounds. Place either your left or right shoulder rotated toward the front at a 45-degree angle. Same side foot is at a 45-degree angle and the hips are square keeping your abdominals tight.

Place your hands face level at your chin, palms facing each other. Keep your elbows tight to your sides. Always warm up first by doing some jump rope and shuffling back and forth for about 10 minutes. After your jump-rope and shuffling back and forth then perform a series of upper body stretches for your pecs, shoulders and lats.

Now you can stretch for your quads, hamstrings, and also perform some standing calf stretches.

Now your ready for action. Get your gloves on and start with some vigorous bag work. This is your opportunity to release the hounds. Take your aggression out on the bag. This will help aid the release in your tension. Move on next to the heavy bag. By using different combination of moves, like jab, and jab-uppercut you can hit the bag with your punches. Exerting all your force unto the heavy bag will increase blood flow and stimulate your cardiovascular endurance.

Hit the heavy bag for three minutes, and if you'd like, incorporate some interval training. After doing a series on the heavy bag then take off the gloves and jump rope for three minutes and then get the gloves back on and punch the bag again.

No workout is complete without the proper cool down. After fully destroying that heavy bag and getting your heart rate pounding as loud as the punches you've been administering to the heavy bag, then go through a series of upper and lower body stretches to lower your heart rate and cool down.

After completion of your boxing workout add abdominal work. Keep your gloves on for the added resistance and perform some crunches while punching in the opposite direction you raise too.

The Supplies

Along with working new techniques and skills for your body. Boxing builds your self-confidence and self-esteem. Boxing can help release tension and frustration, making it therapeutic. Boxing also helps develop balance, agility, and works muscles you've never used before. What do you need?

Wraps: Cloth wraps that cover the knuckles, preventing scrapes and bruises during bag work. Wraps also support the wrists while hitting the bags.

Gloves: Can't box if you don't have a pair of gloves. There are several different kinds of gloves on the market, many cost in the hundreds, but those are worn by professionals. So, you can find a pair for fitness purposes at a more decent price.

As I stated earlier, gloves could weigh 12 or up to 20 ounces, pending about the investment you make. The Gloves are important. They provide the added resistance and protection from hitting the bag.

Jump Rope: There are leather jump ropes that you can get or 'heavy' ropes. Heavy ropes or "Power Ropes" as they are called come in different sizes ranging from 1 pounds up to 4 pounds. These are weighted jump ropes made of solid rubber with padded handles. The heavier the rope the harder the workout.

Give a 6-week program of boxing techniques and exercises and in no time you'll be able to take Mike Tyson on, any day. Or at least look like you can.