Boxing workouts have become a real hit across the fitness scene, as countless people with no desire to step into the ring have learned to throw proper jabs, crosses and hooks. Then again, you’ll find plenty of women who are into competitive boxing, or mixed martial arts, particularly after cheering on the first-ever women Olympic boxers in 2012. Whether you’re learning to box to lose weight, or you’re channeling your inner Muhammad (or Laila?) Ali, punching an electronic bag can offer valuable feedback, especially if you plan to try punching someone in the nose for real.
Electronic Punching Bags
Electronic punching bags may be normal heavy punching bags with sensors attached to the surface, or smaller, specially built bags. When you hit an electronic bag it measures the intensity of the blow and displays it on a readout. The bag may also include targets for you to hit, thereby measuring the accuracy as well as the power of your blows. Some bags also measure your punching speed.
If you’re training to box, you want to remain in the habit of punching with proper form, no matter which type of bag you’re hitting. If you’re boxing as a workout, proper punching form is just as important as using proper form in any other exercise. Also, if you’re hitting a heavy bag, remember that a heavy bag with sensors on top is still, literally, a very heavy bag. If you punch the bag using poor form you may injure your hand or wrist. Make sure to transfer your weight forward as you throw punches to gain maximum power. Clench your fist and strike the bag with the top of the boxing glove to help avoid injuries.
Check the Readout
Throw a variety of punches at your electronic boxing buddy and check the intensity of each punch. You may be throwing your right cross with plenty of power, for example, but you may also discover that your left hook couldn’t harm a fly. Also check your punches’ accuracy. You may be jabbing accurately but missing badly with your uppercuts. Work on your weak points, using the data you receive from the electronic bag. If you’re boxing as part of your workout, keep track of your punching power over time -- if it increases, then you know your workouts are making you stronger.
Practice Offense and Defense
Instead of just walking up to the bag and battering it, throw a punch at one target, slide to one side, then throw a punch at another target to simulate more realistic ring movement. Ideally, your second punch should be just as accurate and powerful as your first. Or make some defensive maneuvers, such as bobbing and weaving, before throwing a combination of punches. Compare the power and accuracy of those blows with punches you threw without bobbing and weaving.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.