When it comes to exercise, choosing an exercise that is both challenging and enjoyable is a must. While the sky is the limit when it selecting a type of workout, boxing programs have been found to provide numerous health and fitness-related benefits.
Why Choose Boxing?
According to The American College of Sports Medicine in Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, (page 290) boxing is a great form of exercise. In fact, individuals who engage in a boxing workout that lasts for one hour can expect to burn as many as 500 calories -- and can build and strengthen muscles throughout the body. In ACE's Personal Trainer Manual, (page 199) the American Council on Exercise notes that boxing exercises can be modified to suit exercisers of any age or fitness level. It is important to note, however, that those who suffer from acute musculoskeletal injuries, such as damage to the shoulder, elbow, or back, are cautioned against participation in the activity, as it may aggravate the condition.
Depending on the specific moves included in a boxing workout, the benefits that you achieve vary:
- Jumping rope -- Improves cardiovascular health, leading to increases in aerobic endurance, and strengthens muscles in the lower body.
- Right Jab -- Extend your right arm forward quickly and rotate your fist down. Strenghtens muscles in the shoulders, upper arms, and core.
- Left Cross -- Extend your left arm forward and across your body, raising your left heel from the ground. Strengthens muscles in the shoulders, upper arms, and core.
- Right Hook -- Bring your right elbow to shoulder height and bend it to a 90-degree angle. Rotate your right hip and swing as if you were punching the side of your opponent's face. Strengthens muscles in the shoulders, upper arms, and core.
- Left Upper -- Bring your right elbow into your body, and swing your right fist upwards, as if you were punching an opponent in the chin. Strengthens muscles in the shoulders, upper arms, and core.
- Bob -- Lower into a squat as if you were ducking punches, rotating from left to right as you do so. Strengthens muscles in the lower body and promotes improvements in cardiovascular endurance.
- Push-ups -- Strengthens and tones the shoulders, upper arms, and chest.
- Basic crunches -- Strengthens and tones core muscle groups, including abdominals and those in the lower back.
Be sure to include a warm-up and cool-down as part of your workout for optimal results when attempting a boxing workout.
Start your boxing warm-up by jumping rope, recommends She Knows. Jumping rope not only revs the cardiovascular system, but also helps to increase coordination, balance, and timing, all of which are needed to complete a boxing workout. For optimal results, She Knows recommends jumping rope for five to 10 minutes. As with any warm-up, starting off slowly and gradually increasing the speed at which you jump can be helpful when it comes to preparing for your workout. Individuals who do not have a jump rope handy can still engage in this activity by mimicking the action of jumping rope.
Start this routine with your arms in the "guard" position, with your elbows bent and your fists held on either side of your chin. Move quickly from one circuit to the next to get the greater workout. Once you have completed all four circuits, perform the entire workout one or two more times for optimal results.
- Right Jab
- Left Cross
- Right Jab
Perform ten repetitions, then switch sides and repeat the circuit, starting with a left jab.
Perform basic push-ups to exhaustion. Rest for twenty to thirty seconds and repeat. Rest for twenty to thirty seconds and repeat one more set of basic push-ups to exhaustion. Individuals who have a high fitness level may want to attempt push-ups with single-leg raises, those that require the exerciser to lift one leg off the ground while performing the exercise. Individuals who are new to exercise or suffer from upper body injury may prefer bent-knee push-ups, those which are performed with the knees supported on the ground.
- Right Hook
- Left Upper
- Right Hook
Perform ten repetitions, then switch sides and repeat the circuit, starting with a left hook.
Perform basic crunches to exhaustion. Rest for twenty to thirty seconds and repeat. Rest for twenty to thirty seconds and repeat one more set of basic crunches to exhaustion. More advanced exercisers may prefer to perform reverse supine crunches, those in which the legs are lowered and raised from the floor, instead of the upper body. Exercisers who suffer from lower back pain should perform crunches on an exercise mat or another surface that provides greater comfort.
End your boxing workout with a five to ten minute cool-down. While jogging or biking at a slow to moderate pace are both effective for those who have completed a boxing workout, others may prefer to end their session the same way they started -- by jumping rope. No matter how you cool-down, be sure to do it in a gradual manner.
In addition to aiding in weight management and strength gains, boxing can help burn off steam and destress after a long, difficult day. Instead of your same old bike ride, tonight, consider a boxing workout!