Building a Better Body with Solid Basic Boxing Technique
By Bryanna Fissori
There are really only a few basic punches that are crucial for boxing. These are the punches you will be using the most in boxing classes. Having the proper mechanics for your punches will not only make them more effective, but it will cause less stress on your body and promote muscle growth and weight loss in all the right areas. Solid basic boxing technique is sure to get you in fighting shape!
This is a quick punch that extends from your lead arm straight out in front of your face. The fist goes straight from point A to point B and back without any elbow curvature. To increase power and speed it is recommended to snap the punch out, finishing with the thumb pointed slightly down. Your lead foot should step slightly forward at the same time as your arm when you throw the jab.
This punch is used to determine and maintain distance from an opponent. It is also the longest reaching punch. The jab can be used to distract, frustrate and set up more powerful punches.
The cross is the straight punch that is thrown with your rear hand. This is often the most powerful punch because if thrown correctly it will engage much of your legs, core and back to generate momentum. To throw a cross the rear hand comes forward in a straight point A to point B line and back, similar to a jab. One big difference is that instead of stepping, the back foot pivots toward the center of the body causing the hips to rotate bringing the rear shoulder forward to extend the punch with force.
The cross usually follows the jab but can be thrown as a lead punch. The majority of knockouts come from the cross or other similar punches thrown from the rear hand.
This punch, though basic, is one of the more difficult techniques to master. It can be thrown from either side. In a numbered progression of punches, it is typically learned first coming from the same side as the jab. There are a number of ways to throw a hook depending on your instructor’s style. Generally, a hook is thrown to the side of the body (or heavy bag) with the elbow bent. The power for a hook is generated in the torso and hips as they turn with the arm. The elbow should come up as the punch is thrown and stay elevated as the punch lands.
The hook is a great punch that can be hidden behind straight punches as an opponent focuses on blocking the front of their face or body. It is also ideal for building a strong and toned core.
The uppercut is a sneaky punch thrown at close range. Unlike the other punches, it comes from below the opponent’s line of vision. Targets for the uppercut are usually the ribs or under the chin. The rotation in the body is again, where the power is generated. Your knees start the punch slightly bent. As the body rotates upward the first drives upward toward the target.
The uppercut can be a game changer in competition and can be practiced on a heavy bag or a teardrop bag.
Basic Boxing Technique Benefits
Remember that each punch should return immediately back to the blocking position at face level. This is proper technique not only for defense, but to reload for the next punch to be thrown. Using solid mechanics when mastering basic boxing technique will be crucial in forming the lean athletic build that fitness boxing is sure to help you achieve.
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Amazing Sexy Arm Tone with Boxing
By Bryanna Fissori
If you are looking to get some shoulder and arm definition to complement an overall sexy upper body composition, boxing is probably what has been missing in your life.
The majority of cardio workouts such as running, biking, step aerobics and Zumba are focused heavily on lower body cardio endurance. That is great a general calorie burn but leaves out those upper body muscles. That being said, the first time you put on a pair of boxing gloves don’t be surprised if trying to punch for a minute straight makes your arms feel like death. Don’t give up! You are about to earn yourself some amazing sexy arm tone. Here are the mechanics of how boxing will get those muscles poppin’.
Your pecs are the largest muscle used in boxing. It is located in the chest spanning from your sternum, clavicles and lower ribs all the way to your upper arms. This is a powerful muscle that is responsible for a lot of the force generated when punching. The pecs are engaged the most when the elbow is elevated which is the case especially when throwing the hook but also active in all other punches. Strengthening your pecs will give you a more defined neckline and has even been said to help perk up the rest of your chest!
“Delts” are the shoulder muscles that helped to give you the super defined look of a fitness expert. There are three major shoulder muscles that make up your delts: The anterior deltoid, posterior deltoid and medial deltoid. These are the muscles that are likely to feel the most fatigued after a long session, especially when using proper technique returning the hands to the face.
Anterior Deltoid: The anterior deltoid is located in the front of the shoulder and is the most active during boxing. It serves the purpose of generating force in your punches working in conjunction with your pec muscles.
Medial Deltoid: This muscle is triggered every time the arm is lifted especially for a right cross or left hook.
Posterior Deltoid: These are located toward the back of the shoulder and activate whenever you pull your arm back from punching (which is a lot).
You may hear coach encourage you to snap your punches. This is a fast twitch movement that ads speed and power to your punch primarily generated by the triceps. The triceps are located on the back of your upper arm and is often overlooked in a lot of exercise routines. Sexy arm tone requires an overall workout. Without maintenance, this part of your arm can begin to loosen and sag, which is a great reason to keep those straight punches snappy!
This is the muscle that makes people look “buff” or “jacked”. But it really takes little to no conscious effort to tone. The bicep muscle is active the entire time during boxing so long as you are holding your hands up. They are also strengthened more by hitting a heavy bag as opposed to shadow boxing. If you are concerned that your biceps are going to get big and scary, rest assured that usually takes some additional conscious effort and weightlifting to achieve.
Tips to Optimize your Sexy Arm Tone and Shoulder Workout
Keep your Hands Up:
Every punch thrown should finish with the glove being brought back to face level, essentially touching the face. This is a good habit to get into to protect yourself and is proper technique. If you have ever watched a sparring practice or live boxing, you may have heard coaches yelling, “Get your hands up!” This is the same for all boxing practices. The act of keeping your hands up will initially fatigue your shoulders and biceps. This may require shorter training sessions in the beginning, but it will get easier and visible results will follow.
A straight punch is a punch that is thrown directly toward the center of an opponent (or heavy bag). If thrown with the lead hand it is called a jab and with the rear hand is called a cross. There are also other terms for these punches but those are common ones. Throwing a punch straight requires the strength to hold your arm out extended repeatedly engaging all the important muscles. Don’t sell yourself short by letting your punches go limp.
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5 Reasons to Start Boxing for Health and Fitness
by Bryanna Fissori
Fitness trends come and go, but a heavy bag and pair of boxing gloves will never be outdated.
Competition aside, boxing for health and fitness is undoubtedly one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. Boxing requires a certain degree of athleticism: speed, strength, agility, hand-eye coordination, endurance and more. Luckily, all of these things can be trained and mastered with a little time, effort and sweat. Fitness boxing provides a platform for anyone to hone those skills without having to take a punch and increasing number of gyms are offering classes specifically designed to promote health and well being through boxing. If you aren’t already convinced, here are 5 reasons you should give boxing a try.
Running can get boring very quickly. It is also hard on your joints. Biking requires expensive equipment and maintenance. Swimming is hard to get motivated to do and all of these things are often solo activities. Though they are still good ways to get your heart rate up, these activities typically allow the mind to wander and dwell on the hardships of the day. Focus!
The interval training that accompanies most boxing classes varies in intensity throughout the session. With fast-paced hands flying in specific combinations, the mind will not have time or energy to think about anything but throwing the next punch. Boxing provides amazing and stimulating cardio that will have your heart racing without having to put forth a conscious effort to work harder.
2. Muscle Tone
How often do you see fluffy girls duking it out on HBO or Showtime? Not often if ever. Typically, boxers are fit and muscular. This isn’t from lifting weights.
Most competition gloves for women are between 8 and 10 ounces. Training gloves are typically between 12 and 16 ounces. That is up to a pound on each arm, not to mention the squats and side-to-side lunges that come with boxing footwork. Core strength and composition will improve naturally even without all those crunches you will likely be doing in between rounds. The body has to stabilize through the core in order to throw effective punches, and the twisting motion that generates power in those punches is sure to tighten up your tummy.
3. Mental Focus
If you drift off in your own little world during yoga you may end up in child’s pose while everyone else is in downward dog. If you drift of during boxing you may get punched in the face. Well, not hard but even in cardio motivated classes it is common for coaches to keep students accountable with light reminder taps. Again, this isn’t running or weightlifting. Punching combinations require focus. Blocking punches requires focus. Boxing requires that you live in the moment, which is something many people find difficult to do and boxing makes possible.
4. Self Defense
Everyone should know how to defend themselves. Boxing will not teach you how to disarm a gun or choke someone, but it will provide the confidence and kinesthetic awareness necessary to react appropriately in physically intimidating situations. Someone who trains in boxing will not only be more likely to defend a punch, but will have the proper footwork and sound mind to evade and remove themselves from a situation. Having both defensive and offensive natural reactions could make a big difference.
5. Anger Management
According to the Mayo Clinic, almost any form of moderate to intense physical activity can decrease stress by increasing endorphins that boost mood and improve sleep. Boxing takes that to the next level adding a degree of adrenaline that is hard to find in other workouts.
Frustration is a natural part of our everyday lives. What we choose to do about it determines how healthy our coping mechanism is. Are you going to find your vice in food, alcohol, retail therapy . . . or are you going to hit something? Not just hit something, but hit something really hard! The heavy bag can easily become your boss or your significant other. Let it out and go home with a smile on your face!
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Increase Calorie Burn with Fitness Boxing
By Bryanna Fissori
Everyone burns calories at a different rate depending on their metabolism, weight, age and various other factors, but overall boxing is an amazing way to burn a large number of calories in a short amount of time. It is arguably more stimulating, fun and therapeutic than a lot of other exercise routines. Here is what kind of calorie burn you can expect from boxing workouts:
Heavy Bag: Working out on a heavy bag can burn on average between 354 and 558 calories per hour according to LiveStrong.com. You would have to be in pretty good shape already to punch for that long, but intensity intervals can make up the difference. Using the heavy bag is a great way to strengthen muscles, work your core and technique. One suggestion is to set a timer and do sets of intense intervals to get the most out of your training.
According to HealthStatus 155-pound person will burn 423 calories in 30 minutes of sparring drills, while a 185-pound person will burn 505 calories during the same workout. Sparring drills are techniques done with a partner at varying rates of intensity. They do require contact, so if you are just doing fitness boxing and don’t care to get hit, this probably isn’t your best option. It is fun though!
The routine of boxing without striking anything but the air is called shadow boxing. Virtually every martial artist does this before practice or performance. It is a great way to practice techniques for striking, blocking and footwork. It is also a great cardio burn if done with some intensity. An average of 300 calories could come off per hour of shadow boxing. It is a great thing to do in front of a mirror to make sure your form looks good. Shadow boxing can be done with or without any gear. Wearing gloves may provide a little greater calorie burn because of the weight. Some people use weighed gloves and/or ankle weights. This is acceptable but be aware that it could place additional straining on the supporting joints and muscles.
According to WebMD jumping rope for 10 minutes are at a rate of 120 reps per minute will burn the equivalent amount of calories as running an eight-minute mile. For a slower jumper 15-20 minutes of jumping would have the same result and if done correctly may also be lest impact on your joints than running. Jumping also aids in balance and agility, which are important parts of boxing.
Strengthening the core naturally happens in any boxing workout, but crunches are a common addition to the regimen. According to Livestrong.com, a 150 woman could burn an average of 26 calories per five minutes of crunches. She could burn up to 46 calories if the intensity is higher. The big benefit isn’t necessarily the calorie burn, but the muscle that is being built up to form those awesome abs everyone is looking for.