BoxingFrequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of boxing?
Of course there are benefits to every physical activity, but why do so many gym buffs prefer boxing? I honestly think it’s because boxing offers a lot more benefits than what you’d normally expect from a combat sport! If you’re still trying to decide whether or not to take up boxing, these eight benefits I’ll be sharing with you might just be the push you need.
1. Burns Fat
If you really want to show off your muscles, you need to get lean first. That means you need to burn off your excess fat. Boxing can burn up to 500 calories each session. If that doesn’t get you lean, nothing will! A single boxing session burns so many calories because it is a form of high-intensity training. You’re not just burning calories while you’re training, but afterwards too. You’re not going to get this with most types of training, so this makes boxing somewhat unique and attractive to anyone who wants to lose weight.
2. Improves Muscle Tone
If you’re looking for a way to get a toned body, your search can end right now with boxing. Just look at the way boxers are built—their muscles are defined without too much bulk. This is because they train with fast, repetitive movements, which are perfect for toning and tightening muscles.
3. Bone and Ligament Strength
Stronger bones and ligaments not only make it easier for you to lift heavier weights (if that’s what you’re in to), but they also prevent injuries that could keep you out of the gym for months on end. Your tendons and joints will really thank you for all that resistance training you’re getting from boxing–and you’ll thank yourself in the future for lowering your risk for osteoporosis, thanks to the increase in your bone density.
4. Great for Cardio!
I’d say the biggest benefit of doing cardio exercises is they help make your lungs and heart stronger. In case you didn’t know, boxing is one of the most powerful cardio workouts-just try to spar for five minutes and you’ll see what I mean! By increasing the strength of your heart and lungs, your muscles will receive more oxygen, which will make building more muscle a lot easier. This will, in turn, allow you to train with greater intensity and multiply all the benefits I just mentioned.
5. Increases Endurance
If you can push your muscles to work harder, you can build muscles faster. It’s that simple. Boxing helps you increase your endurance so you can train for longer periods of time without getting tired easily or quickly. This is also great for burning calories.
6. Core Strength
Throwing punches won’t just make you look fierce, but it will also make your core stronger. A strong core helps you throw those punches without losing your balance. It also improves your stability and posture, which can help lower your back and neck pain.
7. Increases Strength
Strength is everything when you’re doing any type or form of training. Boxing develops your power and strength by causing your muscles to contract faster and with greater force every time you punch the bag or your opponent’s face. If you want to build up your strength and look really tough while doing it, try boxing!
8. Mental Health Benefits
We don’t often talk about the mental health benefits of exercising, but we should. Boxing is great for relieving yourself of some stress. It also sharpens your focus, which comes in handy so you can avoid getting punched in the face by your opponent!
What are the best boxing workouts and exercises?
A good boxing training program will help you improve your overall fitness and enhance your boxing skills. I’ve put together a basic boxing workout routine to help you out, whether you’re doing boxing just to look good or whether you’re looking to prove yourself at a competitive level.
Remember, it’s up to you to make adjustments to your workout depending on your abilities, strength and exercise equipment available to you.
1. Jump rope
Is there a more iconic duo than the jump rope and a boxing workout? I don’t think so! What makes this pairing so beneficial, you ask? Jumping rope is great for many reasons—it’s a great cardio workout and it’s pretty intense, so you’re going to keep burning calories long after you stop jumping. It also helps improve your coordination, agility, endurance and footwork—all important aspects when you’re in the ring.
When you’re jumping rope, you need to focus on three different styles:
- Running in place: you’re just going to be staying in one spot here, lifting those knees as you jump the rope.
- Double-unders: things get a little more complicated here as you double the turns for every jump you make.
- Criss Cross: take things up another notch by forcing you to cross your arms at the elbows when the rope is coming down in front of you. You’ll need to jump through this hoop to finish the circuit.
2. Shadow boxing
You shouldn’t step into a ring with a real opponent until you know that you can hold your own—and it all starts with shadow boxing. Not only is this a great way to warm up before you train with a heavy bag, but it also allows you to work on your technique and speed. You can use a mirror to work on your aim as you imagine fighting against a real opponent.
3. The heavy bag
The heavy bag is an essential and versatile piece of boxing training equipment. It lets you work on your skills as a boxer without requiring the help of a real, live opponent. A bag allows you to aim your punches and work against the resistance of a heavy object in front of you. It also helps increase your aerobic endurance, your punching power and your coordination. Make sure you use it to practice your footwork, as well as your sparring technique.
Before we move on, let’s take a quick look at the right stance when you’re working with a heavy bag. First, keep your feet about shoulder-width apart and then take a step forward with your left leg. Your right foot should be at a 45-degree angle and all your weight should be on the balls of your feet. Slightly bend your knees and tuck your elbows in. Your fists should be as high as your cheekbones. Keep your chin down and roll those shoulders forward. Now you’re ready to begin.
Before you practice punching, you need to know the different types of punches boxers use in the ring. I’ll take you through them, so listen up:
- The jab: this is a quick, straight punch that you throw with your leading hand.
- The cross: this is another straight punch that you throw with your rear hand
- The hook: this is a half-circle punch thrown with any hand, aimed at the side of your target’s head.
- The uppercut: this is a vertical punch that you throw with your rear hand, aiming at your target’s chin.
4. The speed bag
If you’re looking to improve your speed and coordination, hitting the speed bag will help you get there. This exercise can be tough for beginners, but keep at it until you have increased your confidence and skills.
Now it’s time to go against someone else and show off everything you’ve learned in training. You should aim to have about 3 individual 5-minute rounds—if you think that doesn’t sound like much, go and give it a try.
6. Weight training
If you want to improve your strength and size, add some weight training into the mix. For boxers, it’s the compound exercises that will really help improve their skills. I’m talking about squats and deadlifts. Add some pull-ups, crunches and shoulder presses for good measure. Whichever exercise you choose, make sure you work your entire body.
If you want to last for more than a minute inside the ring, you need to get your cardio up, and running is a great way to do that. Aim for HIIT. Start by warming up with a slow walk for 5 minutes, then break out and run for 1 minute and then slow down for a minute. Repeat until you’ve reached between 15 and 20 minutes. Make sure you cool down for 5 minutes after.
What's the best boxing exercise equipment?
Now that we have the boxing workouts down, let’s talk about boxing equipment. You don’t need more than a heavy bag and some wraps to start perfecting your technique, but there are also other equipment that can help you get there faster and with less injuries.
1. Hand protection
It doesn’t matter whether you use hand wraps, gloves or both—you need to protect your hands every time you go boxing or you could end up suffering from hand injuries. If you’re sparring, gloves are a must, but if you’re just practicing with a bag, hand wraps may be enough to protect those small but important bones in your hand. Before you start boxing, you also need to learn how to wrap your hands properly if you don’t want to stay out of the boxing ring for weeks or months.
When you’re looking at boxing gloves, I suggest you get a pair for sparring and another pair for the bag or pad workout. The best size for sparring gloves is around 0.5kg while those used for heavy bags are between 0.28 to 0.34 kg.
2. Mouth protection
A mouthpiece is another must-have when you’re sparring— after all, your teeth won’t grow back if your opponent punches them all out. Just like with any other piece of equipment, you can get it off the rack or get something especially made for you. The latter might be more expensive but it’s going to provide you with a lot more protection.
3. Boxing shoes
You might think boxing is all about the hands and arms, but that’s not the case. Footwork is extremely important in boxing and that’s why a good pair of boxing shoes is worth investing in. Amateurs can get pretty far with a good pair of tennis shoes, but if you’re really serious about the sport and competing in it, get yourself some legit boxing shoes.
Boxing is notorious for causing head injuries, so you’ll want to prevent these with quality headgear.
5. Protective cups
Do I even need to tell you why you need to protect the crown jewels?
6. A heavy bag
A heavy bag is great for practising your punches at home, but if you don’t have the funds or space yet, just use the one from your local gym. Take your time exploring which type suits you best—choose from sand- or cloth-filled bags to swinging or stationary bags.
7. Chin-up bar
Remember what I said earlier about strength being everything? Chin-ups are great for building your strength, and a chin-up bar will help you get there.
8. Jump rope
I’ve spoken about how beneficial jumping rope can be for your boxing technique and your overall fitness. Make sure you get yourself a quality and manly jump rope (not your daughter’s or little sister’s jump rope, for Pete’s sake) to practise your coordination and footwork with.
Dedication is everything when it comes to boxing, or any intense, combat sport, for that matter. If you want the fame and success that the world’s greatest boxers have, or their physique, strength and speed, you need to work and train hard for it. Now that I’ve shared with you the benefits of this sport, and some boxing exercises and equipment to get you started, I think you’re well on your way to boxing success. As Michael Buffer would say, let’s get ready to rumble!
Is Boxing Cardio or Strength?
Boxing is one of the best training routines you could do to improve your cardio. You will recruit pretty much every single muscle group in your body and burn loads of calories. But you will not be able to build up significant strength just by boxing training alone.
Both amateur and professional level boxers include strength work in their training regime. Strength training in boxing is not just for knockout power. It is also important for injury prevention. For example, many boxers do specific neck training to prevent their heads being knocked off their shoulders.
So, if you want to get stronger lift weights. If your goal is improving your cardio endurance, then adding in some boxing will do the trick. Doing specific boxing training where you focus on techniques is even more taxing. You will be surprised how much thinking increases your cardio demands. Versus mindlessly wailing against a punching bag.
Does Boxing Training build muscle?
Boxing training alone will help you build a little bit of muscle when you will first start out the training. But as you progress your growth will slow down considerably.
That is due to the fact the boxing training sessions can last a couple of hours and you end up working the same muscle group every training session. Your body is not getting the ideal stimulus for muscle growth – progressive overload and variety.
If you are already training and start boxing, you may appear to gain muscle. This will most likely be the loss in bodyfat from performing an intensive cardiovascular activity like boxing. Your muscles have not dramatically increased in size. They have just been exposed by peeling away your bodyfat.
Is Boxing Training good for Losing Weight?
Boxing training is an excellent way to lose weight! It is far more explosive and can be more enjoyable than other forms of cardio. Personally, I would much rather spend one hour in a boxing class than one hour on a treadmill.
It combines two out the four key elements needed to lose weight. Firstly, it activates your muscles. Secondly it takes place over an extended period. Boxing training sessions can last for a couple of hours. But even a short and sharp 20-minute session will recruit pretty much every single muscle group in your body.
If you train with appropriate intensity, recruiting so many muscle groups for even 20 minutes will burn loads of calories. A heart rate monitor will confirm this for you.
The other two key elements, which are the most important in weight loss are diet and recovery. While boxing training will help you to burn calories, it will not offset a bad diet. Hitting a punching bag for 20 minutes is not a licence to go out and binge on junk food. That is why a heart rate monitor is important. Look at the calories burnt versus the calories in your comfort food.
A bad diet will also affect your recovery. Boxing training taxes your body. You cannot do back-to-back boxing sessions. You need to recover from your last session. A healthy diet will get you back into the ring quicker and losing more weight.
What muscle to train for Boxing?
Boxing training engages pretty much every single muscle group in your body. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on improving specific areas to maximize your training.
The most important muscle groups in boxing are:
1. Cardio/Heart/Lungs – it will not matter how quick or powerful your punches are if you are struggling to get enough oxygen into your system. A boxer can lose a fight to a much less skilled opponent if they are lacking in cardio endurance. Once you are gassed you will struggle to punch your way out of a wet paper bag!
2. Legs – Quads/Hamstrings/Calves – legs are extremely important for both punching power and pretty much everything else you will do in the ring. Punching power is generated by planting your feet on the ring and recruiting as many muscles as you can. All this force is directed through your legs.
3. Core muscles – strong core compliments strong legs. Having a strong core will both help you to avoid sustaining damage and improve your punching power.
4. Arms/Shoulders – having great shoulder endurance will allow you to keep up a high rate of punching. Strong biceps will help you to keep your guard up. Strong triceps will help you generate punching power.
5. Back – back muscles seem to develop more naturally during boxing training, mostly because of the movement of the punches. It is worth investing a fair bit of time strengthening your upper back muscles, such as neck and trapezius.
6. The Serratus Anterior – which is called the boxers muscle for a reason. It is responsible for the movement of the scapula whenever the athlete throws a punch.