One of the oldest exercises in history, boxing has been around for thousands of years and is still a commonly used way to stay active. It didn’t even make its way to the United States until the 1700s or gain real momentum until the 1800s. From being a bloodthirsty, male-dominated sport to a popular stress-reliever for anyone to take advantage of, boxing has seen its share of change in time.
Boxing vs. Boxing-Based Fitness
Traditional boxing has two people gearing up with padded gloves, getting into a ring, and using strategy to knock the opponent out. There can be anywhere from three to twelve rounds lasting three minutes each. It’s commonly referred to as the fittest sport because it trains and maximizes both physical and mental stamina.
Boxing-based fitness lets people reap the benefits of boxing without the training and pain that comes with hitting other people. A punching bag stands in as your opponent, and you get exercise in the forms of high-impact cardio, strength, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s the perfect full-body workout that improves focus and coordination while blasting calories.
What Are Common Boxing Moves?
When it’s time to take your turn at the punching bag, there are three basic boxing punches to start with:
This punch uses your non-dominant hand for an initial punch that sets you up for the real punch that packs power.
You can use either hand for this punch, but it’s primarily done with your non-dominant hand (also known as the lead, because this is the one closest to the opponent). The hook aims to hit the side of your target, using your hips and legs for power.
Using your dominant hand, the cross is a straight, powerful punch. Your legs and torso should be generating the force behind this toss.
Once you have these basics down, combine them together into rounds, like:
Then you can focus on sets of each round, steadily improving as you gain speed, mobility, and strength. Come up with different combinations that you find fun, or have a trainer help you figure out the best ways to sculpt your body while practicing like a pro.
What to Wear When Boxing
You don’t need to wrap yourself in traditional clothing or invest in anything special to get started. Wear comfortable clothing that can withstand different movements and lightweight shoes. Secure long hair and get yourself a pair of hand wraps or gloves (your local studio can help you choose if you come to a class needing wraps or boxing gloves).
What Kinds of Benefits Do You Get from Boxing-Based Fitness?
You might get sore and tired, but in the end, the upsides are so worth it.
Improves Mental Agility
You’ll be moving quickly on your feet, making rapid decisions as you choose your next move and how you’ll execute it properly. Before you know it, that fast decision-making will extend into your day-to-day life.
Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
As you learn and optimize your punches, you’re training both sides of your body rather than one (like with tennis).
Since you’re balancing three different types of exercise and two out of three focus on high-intensity training, boxing will strengthen your heart and lungs. You’ll be able to keep boxing for longer the more you work at it.
Both everyday muscles and the faster response muscle fibers improve with boxing, so yes, boxing does build muscle. It’s very likely you’ll find that your reaction times get better and better as you keep going.
Everyone always hears that exercise in general provides a way to shed the difficult parts of the day from our minds, and boxing is a highly effective way to release endorphins.