Two sweaty guys circling each other in an enclosed space may not look like much of an aerobic workout, but don’t fool yourself. Despite the relative brevity of explosive actions on the part of boxers, the sport demands extreme aerobic fitness—and exceptional muscle conditioning. And training for boxing can do the same for ordinary weeknight athletes. Even better, boxing is not just for tough hombres. Plenty of ladies have taken up the sport with great enthusiasm.
Boxing provides a workout for virtually every part of the body, and builds more than just strength. Think coordination, reaction times, agility, and balance. Throw yourself into your workout and you’ll burn significant calories; about 300 per half hour. Provided you can keep up the pace, that equates with strenuous activities like swimming laps or running.
Even better, boxing has always involved short bursts of intensive activity followed by brief periods of relative rest. This pattern is typical of trendy high-intensity interval training, which has been shown to yield huge benefits in a relatively short time. Boxing is also a “core workout,” given that it necessarily involves the entire body, when done properly.
It’s possible to sculpt those abs without ever doing another boring sit-up. Boxing fans note that they look forward to this workout, which makes it more likely they’ll continue. Consistency is key. Exercise is never a one-shot deal; you’ve got to keep it up. Anything that becomes a part of your daily routine is more likely to benefit your body in the long-term. Diehard fans note, too, that their dedication to the sport yields mental and emotional benefits.
Women, especially, are likely to appreciate the empowerment that comes with pummeling an opponent in a socially acceptable forum. And, finally, boxing training provides a modicum of self-defense training. Boxers are less likely to be physically intimidated or bullied, knowing they have the tools to defend, or even attack, if provoked.
What Will You Need?
Like most sports, boxing takes specific equipment, and involves some unique training activities. If you think boxing may be the activity to get you going; if you suspect you’d derive great satisfaction from power punching something—repeatedly—then you may be a candidate for boxing as a favorite fitness regimen. Find a gym or boxing studio and get involved in a beginner’s class. Afterwards, if boxing still strikes your fancy, you’ll probably want to invest in some equipment of your own.
Heavy (Punching) Bag
Harness your adrenaline—and the frustrations of the day—and lay into your punching bag. It’s good training, and it helps relieve stress. Bags weight approximately 70 lbs., or more. Experts recommend investing in a bag with leather exterior, which will last for years.
Long strips of cloth are wound around the hands to help protect them from the force of impact when pounding the punching bag.
Similarly, special gloves can be purchased for punching bag workouts. These gloves help protect the hands from impact.
Boost coordination and cardiorespiratory fitness with a jump rope. You’ll burn significant calories, too.
If you graduate to sparring with a partner, you will need the following items:
It’s worth spending more, rather than less, on headgear, which will take plenty of abuse. Although it can’t protect you from concussion, it will help prevent soft-tissue injuries, such as cuts and scrapes.
Standard in any sport featuring potential contact, mouthguards are a no-brainer if you value your pearly whites and lovely lips.
Sixteen-ounce sparring gloves are indispensable when it comes time to turn from the inanimate bag to a living, punching partner.
Groin protector (chest protector, too, for women)
Obviously, these items help protect your assets while sparring.