Why Training Like A Boxer Gets You in Amazing Shape
There are countless athletes, Olympians, celebrities, and weekend warriors who added boxing into their workout repertoire – and that is not by chance or because it’s a trendy workout. Instead, it’s because boxing as a workout truly gets your body in amazing shape.
And here’s why – Boxing Workouts Use Your Entire Body.
While most see boxing primarily as an upper body strength workout, there is no doubt that boxing is much more and benefits go far beyond building strong arms.
Using proper boxing techniques when engaging in a boxing fitness workout requires muscles throughout your entire body and it includes activating your core strength, leg strength, balance, and endurance. From throwing a cross and ensuring a proper hip turn to slipping using your core and ducking using your legs – all those movements start from the larger muscle groups and the arm/hand is the last thing to make contact. Your arm and hand become the extension of the power and the point of delivery for the power generated by the rest of the body.
Leg Strength Powers the Workout
Boxing requires strong quads and calves. Ultimately, power comes from the ground and the only body parts touching the ground should be your feet. Your legs are connected to your feet and therefore, much of the energy thrown in a punch comes from a boxer’s legs through a pivot or rotation.
When you’re in a boxer’s bounce, you are staying light on your feet and keeping your weight in the balls of your feet. You are using your calve muscles to move your body, make quick pivots to change angles, and using your leg power to maintain balance. Without strong legs, your boxing technique will have less force and your punch power will not reach its full potential.
Core Strength Fuels Technique
Ultimately, your core is the set of back, hip, and abdominal muscles that hold your body together and serve as the central point that allows your muscles to work together – hence why it’s referred to as your “core.” While your arms and legs have their own power, your core is where that power is combined and pushed through in a strike or a powerful movement. Strengthening your core muscles helps with stability, balance, and control over your body and its movements. Boxing drills that include defensive moves such as blocks, rolls, and slips all work your core as you move your entire body to simulate avoiding punches.
In addition, when you train like a boxer, you focus on strengthening your core when you are working off-the-bag. Exercises such as bicycle crunches, planks (and plank variations), and sit-up twist variations are all foundational movements in a boxer’s training regimen.
Shoulder Strength Supports the Punch
While a boxer’s arm is the delivery of the power, more often a boxer’s shoulders will fatigue before their actual arm gets tired of punching. Since the shoulder muscles are a smaller muscle group and more challenging to strengthen, boxing workouts often include shoulder strengthening exercises that do not bulk your shoulder, but instead create lean, defined muscles. This muscles strength contributes to overall endurance and allows punches to maintain technique for a longer stretch of time.
Boxing Builds Endurance
Even though you don’t often see boxers running around the ring as if they’re training for a marathon, boxers must maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness and be able to withstand 4-12 rounds (depending on level) of being in fight mode. Those rounds include using power and bursts of energy for striking and movement to take hits and avoid being hit.
In a boxing fitness workout, keeping your energy and movement through entire rounds (two or three minutes) with brief rest periods will build your cardio strength and endurance. Working your way up to enduring 10-12 three-minute rounds will help you get into better shape and as your endurance improves, you will be able to work harder within the rounds and maintain technique without premature muscle fatigue. Overall, this will elevate the level of your workout and continue pushing you to get stronger and be more accurate.
The Best Cross-Training
Because of the all-encompassing workout boxing provides, most athletes who train like boxers use the workout as cross training to help them prepare for their primary sport. Almost all competitive athletes can benefit from improved leg, core, and arm strength, and more controlled movements, better reaction time, and learning to channel the body’s power into a strong burst or movement.
Although you may never get into a ring or have any desire to hit someone or be hit, using boxing drills and training techniques can get your body into amazing shape. It can allow you to strengthen and define some of the smaller muscle groups that work to transfer your power throughout your body and fuel your performance to help you reach your optimal training level.
About the Author:
Jen Crompton is a co-owner and fitness instructor at FUEL Cycle Fitness, an indoor cycling + boxing fitness studio located in the Philly suburbs. An entrepreneur with a deep-rooted love of fitness and health, Jen combined her passions and talents alongside her husband to open their fitness studio in 2016 and begin building their FUELFit brand. Jen is also a lululemon ambassador, digital marketer, writer, and mom to a 3-year old son.