boxing may at times look easy when watching from the comfort of your living room, however the basics of the sport require a great deal of mental skill and strategy and of course a tremendous amount of physical training. A boxing workout is long, tiring and made of many types of exercise.
Understanding the Sport To understand why a boxing workout is so involved, it helps to understand the basics of the sport. Televised professional boxing puts a lot of emphasis on knockouts and injuries--they make for good television after all. But amateur and Olympic boxing puts its emphasis on landing good touches while keeping your opponent from touching you. A touch happens when your glove makes contact with your opponent. You can touch them on the head, face, body and arms, but nothing below the belt. In order to get your gloves near their body, you must be fast, have great endurance, decent flexibility and strength. Warming Up Warming up is crucial to a boxing workout. You're going to be working out your whole body, so you need to protect yourself from injury by making sure your body is ready to really work. Hold each stretch for at least 25 seconds before moving to another stretch. You'll want to warm up the major muscle groups with stretching. Hamstrings: Sit on the floor with one leg extended and the other foot pressed against the inside of the extended thigh. Bend forward at the waist with your back straight and try to lay your chest on your extended leg. Repeat with the other leg. Quadriceps: Sit on the floor Indian style, then take one foot and pull it behind you so that your legs are making a little triangle. Supporting yourself with your arms, lean backward until you feel the stretch in the quad. Repeat with the other leg. Shoulders: Take one arm and pull it in front of the top of your chest with the other arm until you feel the pull in your shoulder. Repeat with the other arm. Triceps: Extend one arm straight up above your head, then bend that arm at the elbow so that your hand touches the back of your shoulder. With the other hand, push your arm backward until you feel the tug in your tricep. Repeat with the other arm. Biceps: Extend your arm in front of you at a right angle with your chest with the palm facing up. With your other hand, bend the extended hand backward, bringing the fingers back toward your body while pushing your extended arm forward. Repeat with the other arm. Neck: Reach over your head with one hand and place that hand on the opposite ear. Gently pull your head over until you feel the stretch in your neck. Repeat on the other side. Abs: Lay on your stomach with your hands at your chest and your legs extended behind you. Push up with your arms until you feel the stretch in your abdomen. Adding Cardio Your cardio routine should get your heart rate up while helping you practice the kind of moves you will need in the ring.
Back/Forward/Side Jogging: This is best done in a workout room where you can jog around the perimeter of the room. Ease into the exercise by jogging forward for several laps. Then, making sure to watch behind you, jog backward for a lap. Then, jog going sideways leading with your right foot so that you face the inside of the circle. And finally, jog going sideways leading with the left foot so that you are facing the outside of the circle. After a warm-up lap going in each direction, keep jogging in the circle, switching up which direction you are going every few seconds.
Shadow Boxing: Facing a mirror so that you can check your form, practice each of the moves you would use in the ring. Start with a simple combination and work your way up to something more complicated. For example, start with a simple 1-2-3-4 combination (jab, cross, hook, uppercut) and work up to a more complicated combination of moves. The objective here is to check form and keep your heart rate up.
Jump Rope: Jump roping keeps the heart rate up, strengthens arms and legs, and teaches quick footwork. Try jump roping for 3 minutes at a time, then resting for a minute--the same pattern of time you would be boxing in a ring. As you jump rope, switch up the way you are jumping. Try jumping with your feet moving in a shuffle pattern, crossing your arms as you jump or double jumping--making the rope move twice under your feet before your feet hit the ground again. Strength Moves Building muscle serves two purposes in boxing. It helps you land stronger, faster punches and helps protect you when you get hit. Pushups and crunches are the best basic moves for boxers to practice. These moves train the areas where you will be getting hit and require no additional equipment. Try these variations to add even more power to your workout.
Pushup Variations Standard pushups - Legs are straight out behind you while hands are under your shoulders. Diamonds - Legs are in a V-shape you. Hands are together with the forefingers and thumbs touching to make a diamond shape under your chest. Wide grips - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are set farther away from your body so that your body makes a "y" shape. Knuckles - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are in fists under your shoulders. Fingertips - Legs are straight out behind you. Hands are in the standard pushup position, however you will balance yourself on your fingertips.
Crunch Variations Basic crunch - Hands are behind the head. Feet are flat on the floor so that the knees are bent at a 45-degree angle. Obliques 1 - Hands are behind the head. One foot is flat on the floor so that the knee is bent at a 45-degree angle. The other foot rests on the opposite knee. Repeat on each side. Obliques 2 - Hands are behind the head. Legs lay to one side, resting on top of each other. Repeat for each side. Rope climb - Hands are straight out from the chest at a right angle from the body. Legs are extended up at right angle from the body. As you crunch, move your arms as though you are climbing a rope. Mitt and Bag Work After your body is well warmed up, it is time to actually hit something.
Speed Bag - Use the speed bag to practice precise movements. You do not need to hit the speed bag very hard. Instead, you should focus on hitting it accurately--making it swing the same amount after each hit and being able to hit it again when it swings back. Heavy Bag - Use the heavy bag to practice all the punches and to add strength to your punches. You can practice each of the four punches on the bag, now concentrating on landing each punch with power. Mitt Work - Use a partner wearing mitts to practice hitting a moving target. This will also show you why cardio training is so important because you will have to control your breathing as well as your punches.
Make sure that your partner moves around as they hold the mitts that you are working to hit. Like the shadow boxing warm up, start with a simple combination and work up to something more complicated. Cool Down After a serious strength workout, lactic acid and tension can build up in your muscles. Make sure to cool down to release some of these workout byproducts. Repeat the stretches from the warm up. You may be more flexible at this point in the workout, so be sure not to over stretch as you are cooling down.