You probably don't visit a gym or boxing club without thinking of building your abdominal muscles, as having six-pack abs is more than appealing. In your boxing workout, you'll spend lots of your time perfecting your fundamentals on a punching bag -- also known as a heavy bag. But just because you're not doing crunches, don't mistakenly think that you're neglecting your abs. If you dream of fighting some day, strong abs will help protect you from body shots; if not, you can still incorporate plenty of ab-building exercises into your workouts with the heavy bag.
As long as you're using the correct punching technique and putting your entire body into each punch, you're working your abs. If you're still not convinced, just hold a hand over your stomach while you punch; you should feel your abs contract. A regular, high-intensity workout on the heavy bag will help you build your ab muscles and burn any fat in the area. Remember to move around the bag as though you're facing an opponent for an extra cardio workout.
Although all punches provide somewhat of a workout for your abs, punches such as hooks and uppercuts work the area even more. For a hook, bend your elbow and pivot with your midsection, driving the punch into the side of the bag. An effective uppercut, on the other hand, begins low and explodes upward. These punches are a must-have if you plan to spar, so practicing them is important. Hooks and uppercuts work the abs because you tighten that area as you throw the punch and also dip your body and uncoil, which requires the use of the abs.
Many boxers incorporate various circuit training exercises into their heavy bag workouts, and if you want to give your abs considerable exercise, tailor your workout to focus on this area. Always work in three-minute rounds, and try a workout such as: 30 seconds of general punching, 30 seconds of crunches, 30 seconds of speed punching, 30 seconds of knee-high sprinting on the spot, 30 seconds of power punching and 30 seconds of scissor kicks. By the end of the round, the fatigue in your body will tell you that you've worked your abs.
Gym staff won't take kindly to you taking a heavy bag down from its mounts, but many boxing clubs keep a heavy bag on the floor for boxers to practice jumping over in an exercise often called "jump training," which is as simple as it sounds. Place the bag in an open area and stand on either side with your feet together. Bend at the knees and jump over the bag, and upon landing, jump back immediately. Keep jumping for 20 or 30 jumps if possible or for 10 or 15 seconds. Take a break and complete another set of these ab-burning jumps. Each time you jump, you're tightening your core, which provides a killer ab burn and puts you well on your way to achieving six-pack abs. If you're not sure about being able to use a bag on the floor for this exercise, just check with a staff member.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.