Does your gym have a heavy bag, or do you have access to one?
If so, why aren’t you using it?!
At our gym, there is a small room with a heavy bag that practically nobody uses. This is a major waste, because boxing is the most fun and useful form of cardio there is.
Why boxing as a cardio?
A few quick reasons, because the workout below is more important:
It is a full-body workout
You might think hitting the heavy bag is only an upper-body workout, but if that’s the case for you, then you’re doing it wrong.
A key part of the boxing workout below is that you have to keep your legs moving. If you’re not moving your legs, it’s time to take a break or re-focus.
It will make you stronger
Running on the treadmill at a low intensity, steady state won’t necessarily make you stronger. Perhaps a stronger runner, but not a stronger person in the way we like to feel “strong”.
Boxing will. Many of the workouts, such as the one below, are a cross between HIIT (high intensity interval training) and LISS (low intensity steady state) workouts. And HIIT workouts do increase strength.
It will build your confidence
Let’s first start by saying that if you need self defense, you must get properly trained by a self defense instructor in your preferred school of fighting / martial arts / self defense.
But with that said, the version of you who has been hitting the heavy bag for a few months will have a decidedly better punch than the version of you who has been using the elliptical machine.
This ultimately helps build your confidence, especially immediately after a great heavybag workout.
It’s fun and reduces stress
It’s just fun. There are few things more satisfying than a properly-timed “snap” after jabbing the heavy bag just right.
On top of that, there is simply no better way to de-stress in a safe environment.
For the bare bones workout, you only need two things (alongside a decent pair of shoes):
A heavy bag
This is hopefully already at one of your gyms. If you are fortunate enough to have a house with room for a bag, you can buy one online (often with free shipping), but do your research and make sure it’s mounted properly.
Click here to see some heavy bags.
These aren’t boxing gloves that you’ll see a boxer fight with. They’re much thinner and have a minimum amount of padding to protect your knuckles/hands when hitting the heavy bag.
Get a pair with velcro straps. Since you’re a beginner, you should be able to get away with a pair for less than $30. Save the serious stuff for when you know you’re really into it and want extra protection for longer workouts.
Click here to check out some bag gloves.
Like any sport, boxing is all about body position, center of gravity, and balance. Everything starts from the ground (remember, this is a leg workout too).
You can research different stances for you, but the typical stance has your feet divided on a “toe-heel” line:
- Not too close or too far
- Not squared up, but not sideways
- Knees always bent, ready to bounce
- Weight evenly distributed, maybe a touch to the back leg (like 5% more)
- Back straight (but relaxed) with strong posture (as always in life)
Keep your hands up – defend your chin and face!
There are three main types of punches we’re going to worry about here (obviously there are more, but this is for a beginning workout):
You’ll use this the most. The jab should be thrown quickly at the chin of your opponent with your leading hand.
On the bag, you’ll want it to make that perfect “snap” sound. You’re not trying to punch through the bag – you’re simply trying to whack the bag’s “chin”.
Your fist should be relatively relaxed.
Exhale when throwing any punch!
The Straight Right
This is the punch we’ll have you throw after a left jab in the 1-2 below. You use your back and torso and pivot into a more “full-power” punch, but throw it from your chin area (remember, your hands should be up, protecting your face).
A harder punch to learn, it’s meant for power on the inside and is for close quarters fighting.
You transfer your weight to your side, and with your punching elbow up (arm parallel to the floor), you throw a punch in a hooking motion.
Note that some people like to have their palms facing sideways (towards yourself), but some like it facing the floor. It honestly comes down to personal preference.
The most important part is to realize that you are not trying to hit the heavy bag deep. You’re not trying to push it around. You’re once again trying to punch the bag’s “chin”, meaning you want to take a chunk out of the front of the bag. This is displayed below.
Again, exhale when throwing punches!
Now you can make some great combinations with the punches above (using their associated numbers in the list):
1-1 and 1-1-1
The double jab and triple jab.
A jab followed by the straight right. Stun then punish.
The above 1-2 combo, but finish with a strong left hook.
There are obviously more combo’s, such as the 2-3-2 and 3-2-3, but for your first workout, focus on the three basics.
A great cardio boxing workout
Now that you have the basics, it’s time to look at a great twenty minute boxing workout.
Note that you will be tired here – even in the video, it’s not the same boxer doing the entire workout! So if you need longer breaks, take them — getting too tired will cause a diminish in technique, which could lead to a hand or wrist injury.
In this video, by Nate Bower, you’ll perform the following 10 rounds, each which lasts two minutes:
- Round 1- Footwork
- Round 2- Jabs
- Round 3- 1 and 2’s. Range
- Round 4- 2-3’s. Speed
- Round 5- 1-2’s. Intervals
- Round 6- Freestyle
- Round 7- 2-3’s. Speed
- Round 8- Freestyle
- Round 9- 1-2 Intervals.
- Round 10- All out Freestyle
At this point, you’re ready to go! The Internet has an immense amount of information on boxing. If you thought YouTube was great for instructional weight lifting videos, wait until you see the boxing ones – YouTube is a gold mine for them!
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