Boxing is no longer considered to be a sport dominated by men punching one another with leather gloves. It has evolved into a sport and conditioning activity used by men, women and children to develop confidence, stamina, dexterity and power. Incorporating a boxing exercise routine into your training program will improve your cardiovascular fitness, as well as increase your strength and burn calories.
Because boxers fight in timed rounds with fixed rest periods between rounds, they will often train the same way using intervals. If you are new to boxing or your conditioning level is not high, start with three one-minute rounds of exercise with one minute of rest between each round. As you progress, increase the duration of each round until you reach three minutes per round. Keep the rest period at one minute. Once you've hit the three-minute mark, start adding rounds to your boxing routine until you can train for 10 to 12 three-minute rounds.
Shadow boxing is used by boxers to practice timing and combinations. It is also used as a warm-up to increase blood flow and slightly elevate your respiration and body temperature to get you ready for the work ahead. Start your timer and start punching an imaginary opponent. Stay light on your feet and throw jabs, hooks, uppercuts and combinations to your opponent's head and body. Make sure you are using both hands and are not favoring one arm over another. Shadow box for one round and then rest for one minute.
Your second round is the boxer's staple exercise: rope jumping. Jumping rope improves your agility, coordination, footwork and stamina. Start with a basic technique of two-foot hopping, then alternate hopping and progress to running in place. More advanced techniques include double-unders and the crisscross. Whatever technique you use, or alternate between, just make sure you stay in motion for the full duration of the round. Rest for one minute once the round is complete.
Your third round will use focus mitts and will require the help of a training partner. Your partner wears the focus mitts, or padded disks that are worn like gloves, and you wear hand wraps and sparring gloves to protect your hands. Once the round starts, your partner will put her hands in front of you to hit. They are moving targets to which you deliver your punches. Your goal is to deliver accurate and fast punches. You are not going for full-power punches, but want to focus on speed and accuracy. Once the timer signals the end of the round, rest for one minute.
Your final round is you against the heavy bag. This is a full-power exercise where you hit the bag as fast and as hard as you can. Don't hold anything back. It's a combination of the skills you were working on in the previous rounds. Use your feet to move in and out from the bag and around it, constantly staying in motion. Your punches and combinations should be aimed at a particular spot on the heavy bag, and each shot should be delivered as fast and with as much power as you can muster. At the end of this round, you should be sweating, gasping for breath and thinking about how great all of this hard work will make you look and feel.
Jack Kaltmann is a Las Vegas-based writer with more than 25 years of professional experience in corporate communications. He is a published author of several books and feature articles for national publications such as "American Artist" and "Inside Kung-Fu." Kaltmann holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Miami University and is a retired nationally certified personal trainer.