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.
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.