Boxing is a great way to stay in shape, whether your goal is to become competitive in the ring or simply tone your body. Because it requires both strength and a strong heart and lungs in order to make it through a long match, boxing is a great exercise for anyone who wants to reach a high level of overall fitness. And one of the convenient aspects boxing workouts is you often don’t need a lot of equipment.
Anyone who has seen the movie “Rocky” knows that jumping rope is an important part a boxer's workout. Jumping rope can help you lose weight. There are 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat, so by burning just 700 calories a day you can lose weight. Jumping rope can also help you become lighter on your feet, a critical attribute if you’re thinking about getting in the ring. Another benefit of jumping rope is it helps strengthen your heart and lungs.
Shadow boxing, or boxing in a mirror, is a great way to hone your technique and practice proper strikes while burning those extra calories and helping tone your body. If you’re thinking about getting in the ring, the benefits of shadow boxing are critical. They include the ability to work on different combinations without the danger of getting hit, a way to hone your defenses and work on footwork. It also allows you to sharpen your techniques to deliver powerful punches quickly. When shadow boxing, try working on combinations of three to five techniques at a time and practice them until they become instinctive.
Use a Target
Whether you’re using a heavy bag or hanging up a duffel bag filled with clothes in the backyard, there is nothing quite like actually striking a target. For the fitness enthusiast, using a heavy bag is an effective way to use boxing to burn calories. For the more serious boxer, a heavy bag allows you to sharpen your skills without using a partner and allows you to improve the strength of your strikes. If you’re a beginner just getting started hitting the heavy bag, be sure to use hand wraps or bag gloves, because you can hurt your wrists. Start off slow and be sure you’re using proper technique and the proper muscles when hitting the bag.
Proper footwork is critical for boxers getting in the ring, but their drills can benefit both fitness fanatics and pugilists alike. Footwork drills can help build your cardiovascular fitness while burning fat and tightening up the muscles of your lower body. These include quickly moving your front foot to the rear by rapidly bouncing on the balls of your feet. More advanced drills include standing in the center of an imaginary clock while rapidly moving your feet to different hour positions on the imaginary clock.
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.