Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Improve Your Fitness Through Boxing and Martial Arts Training

With an increase in boxing for fitness classes and an overall growth of MMA (mixed martial arts) enthusiasts, training for boxing has become more and more popular each year. Because a one hour training session for boxing can burn up to 900+ calories, boxing fitness classes have become a favorite weapon for fat loss. The health and fitness benefits from boxing are not restricted to a boxing gym though, many personal trainers and health clubs are now offering either classes devoted to training, or equipment for mimicking the techniques the pros use. It is important to remember, that like any training or fitness routine, training for boxing can lead to serious injuries and set-backs to your fitness goals. Before attempting any of the exercises and techniques in this article you should seek the advice of a professional fitness instructor for proper form and technique.

Tailoring Your Workout Routine for Boxing Training

At first glance boxing seems simple. You put on boxing gloves and move around a boxing ring while dodging punches or throwing them. However, the body mechanics involved in boxing require special attention to all areas of your body. Your midsection (lower back, abdominal), lower body (legs, glutes) and upper body (arms, back, shoulders) must all be well trained to produce effective results. Because the power from punching originates in the legs and moves up it is essential to have well developed leg muscles that have a high endurance threshold. One of the easiest ways to train your legs initially is by using your own body weight. For these exercises a boxing ring is ideal but not necessary. Remember to wear your boxing gloves during these exercises as the added weight to your hands helps train your shoulders and arms at all times.

Leg Exercises to Improve Your Power While Boxing

To develop your calf muscles for maneuvering around either a punching bag or boxing ring, start in a large, clear area and side step in an almost skipping motion. The idea is that you want to push off with the trailing leg with the tip of your foot to engage the calf muscles as much as possible. Start by performing one direction for three minutes (the length of one boxing round). After the first three minute round take a rest for 30 seconds and begin the exercise but in the opposite direction. Perform the side stepping in the opposite direction for three minutes. The number of repetitions will be determined by your fitness level and your trainer, but start slow and grow familiar with the movement before attempting extended repetitions.

Focus on Lower Body Strength for More Punching Power

Your glutes and your quad/hamstring muscles also play an important role in boxing. The power from a boxers punch comes not only from a strong arm, but from strong legs pushing into the ground as the body's trunk rotates into the punch. For this next exercise you will be performing step-ups. As the name implies you will be standing in front of a raised surface (step box, fixed bench, or boxing ring edge) and with one foot up on the raised edge, you will be using that leg to lift your body and other foot the height of the raised edge. You can either focus on one leg at a time or switch legs after each raise. The idea is that a single leg is lifting all of your body weight. The higher the edge the greater the workout. For added difficulty, while wearing boxing gloves, you can raise both hands over your head while performing the step-ups, or you can hold a medicine ball over your head. When beginning the step-ups to increase leg strength for boxing, remember to be safe, start out by holding onto a support if needed. Three sets of fifteen step-ups for each leg should be adequate for starting out.

Building Shoulder Muscle (Deltoid) Strength and Endurance

The shoulder muscles of a boxer must be developed but also possess a high level of endurance to aid in keeping the boxers hands raised while blocking and punching. With your boxing gloves on, stand in front of a punching bag and rapidly punch the bag alternating each arm for three minutes, rest for 30 seconds then repeat. Try to punch as fast as you can throughout the three minutes. You can supplement straight punches with hooks, upper-cuts or by focusing on either jabs or a straight cross. Perform a three minute set with a 30 second rest for a total number of 5 sets. The weight of the boxing gloves will increase the work your shoulders must do in order to keep punching. Another good exercise to train your shoulders uses the same idea as the rapid punching on a punching bag except you place an elastic exercise band around a pole or secure object, turn around so that the pole is behind you then punch as fast as you can for three minutes with the tension from the band taxing your shoulder muscles.

Remember that most exercises in boxing use multiple muscles at the same time. Resting after a long exercise session is key to recovering and preventing injury.