Have you ever considered taking up boxing to improve your health and fitness? What about learning boxing for self-defense? How about one day becoming a professional boxer?
🥊 Perhaps it’s time you take up boxing!
Boxing is not only great for your cardiovascular health, muscular strength and endurance, you’ll also be learning and developing a potentially life-changing skill.
Boxing classes are blowing up coast to coast for good reason. Many who had never even considered boxing before are now signing up thanks to growing popularity in the health & fitness scene and easier access to training facilities and coaches.
Whether you want to shake up your current fitness regimen, learn a new life-changing skill or one day become a professional boxer, taking up boxing will challenge your body and mind in new and improved ways.
❓ But where do I even begin?
If you literally have no clue as to what you will be getting yourself into, the tips in this guide will set you off on the right track.
However, we definitely recommend you Google search your local area to look for a highly reviewed coach or facility.
Once you’ve narrowed down a few potential options, be sure to ask them any questions you may have. Addressing all your concerns beforehand will ease some of the stress of taking up something new, especially boxing.
A good coach or facility will more often than not be willing to join you in dialogue before you sign up. This is a good sign that they are going to give you the attention you want and need to get the most out of the sport.
What is Boxing?
Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.
However, boxing is also a common health & fitness activity for many due to its amazing cardio and overall wellness potential.
In fact, the sport of boxing has been blowing up in the realm of fitness as of late. As a full-body activity, it burns a ton of calories and strengthens your most important muscle, the heart!
Five Things to Know Before Your First Class
Attending your first boxing class will no doubt be a life changing experience, but, you’ve likley got a lot of questions. In fact, you may be an outright wreck from nervousness.
😃 Don’t fret!
Here are five things to know before your first boxing class.
🛌🏻 1. Rest Up a Day Before Your First Class
One of the best ways to prepare for your first class is to attend it well rested. This means taking it easy the day before, staying hydrated, and getting in a solid sleep.
If you are currently on a regular workout regimen, give your muscles enough time to rest and recover before your first class.
Another thing you can do to prepare for your first boxing class is to perform some stretching and self-myofascial release with a foam roller.
Just remember, it’s going to be much harder to get through your first class if your muscles are sore and tight.
🔥 2. Expect an Intense Workout
If you’ve never done boxing before, it’s going to challenge your body in new ways. Boxing is a head-to-toe sport so expect to work your upper and lower body, in addition to your core muscles.
On top of this, your cardiovascular system will be challenged in new ways as well. This means your blood will be pumping and your body will be sweating like you’ve never sweat before.
👊 3. Don’t Get Too Crazy With Your Punches
One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is getting overzealous with their punching. Give yourself time to learn proper technique first before you transition into full-on Floyd Mayweather mode.
Punching yourself into oblivion, especially without proper technique, is a fast track to injury. Newbies often mess up their wrists during heavy bag work so it’s best to go light and utilize proper technique.
Boxing 101 when it comes to punching is keep your wrists straight and make contact with the bag using your index and middle finger knuckles.
😎 4. Approach With Reasonable Expectations
Mayweather didn’t become one of the greatest boxers of all time overnight. Just like you, he started out as a beginner. Sure he had his father to get him up to speed, but he still started as a beginner.
Be prepared to mess up and feel awkward as hell during your first class and even during your first week or month. Give yourself time and don’t be hard on yourself.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Approaching your first class with reasonable expectations will keep you focused and in good spirits.
🔍 5. Pay Close Attention to Your Coach
If you want to learn and you want to learn right, paying close attention to your coaches instruction is going to be key. Use your brain but do so by paying close attention.
It’s very easy to get comfortable with yourself and fall into a groove after your first few classes, however, you will want to make sure your groove is a productive one.
The only surefire way to ensure you’re doing it right is to pay attention to your coach and do exactly what they instruct you to do. Missing out on some key details can lead to injury or you’ll simply just not be the best you can be.
The Bottom Line
Attending your first boxing class doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. Knowing what to expect before your first class and having realistic expectations goes a long way here. If your nerves are still acting up, perhaps the tips in the next session will ease things up.
Six Practical Tips for Absolute Newbies
Here are some additional tips for you to keep in mind during your first day and upcoming weeks of boxing practice. Sometimes it’s the little things that count most.
Don’t forget to ask your instructor what they recommend you take with you each training session. For example, some boxing venues provide gear but some do not.
But without further ado, here are six beginner’s boxing tips for you…
💧 1. Drink Enough Water
In a regular sparing session, you can burn a whopping 400 to 700 calories in only 30 minutes. While practicing this, you are going to sweat excessively. To keep you going in the game, staying hydrated is essential. Drink lots of water with natural energy supplements. This will prevent dehydration and finish the workout effectively.
🎽 2. Pack the Right Clothes with You
Any clothes that you usually wear during your workout will work fine in boxing. You can wear shorts and a t-shirt for the sessions. Regarding shoes, you must wear light boxing or running shoes for the sparring sessions. Make sure that you don’t wear your boxing shoes outside the gym.
🥊 3. Bring Wraps and Gloves
Apart from the right shoes and clothes, you must also bring the hand wraps and gloves with you. For starters, you can choose to have the 16 Oz gloves. This is the standard weight of the gloves that you need to use in the session. Try them first to see how it feels when you use it.
Meanwhile, choose 180” size for the hand wraps. They are also available in smaller lengths but it will be safe to go with the 180” size.
You also have to buy a mouth guard. You can find other items like headgear and chest protectors in the gym. If you would like to use, you can buy the gears.
🔍 4. Study How to Wrap your Hands Accordingly
During boxing, it is irritating to have broken hands or sprained wrists because of a shoddy wrap. Today, you can find lots of video tutorial about wrapping the hands properly. Fellow boxers and coaches will also help you regarding wrapping. Just approach them without hesitation.
If you are still having trouble with wrapping your hands, there are pre-wraps available in the market. Each boxer has their preference on how they like their hands to be wrapped. But see to it that your knuckles have enough support and padding.
🔥 5. Develop Your Cardio
Boxing is a great cardio workout, but it is not the best. Spend time doing callisthenics and jogging to improve your heart. This helps you to stay still to the later rounds. Drink water with natural energy supplements and develop your cardio.
💨 6. Control your Breathing
In boxing, you must learn how to breathe. In this sport, you will be receiving and delivering punches so you must learn how to breathe to keep going.
Five Benefits That Help Individuals Excel at Pursuits Outside the Sport
Here are five benefits of boxing that help individuals excel at pursuits outside the sport.
These key benefits include:
- An accessible alternative to cognitive activity
- Evokes value and skills
- Helps manage aggression
- Provides people a sense of community (joining a club)
- Has famous role models that youthful people can look up to (Anthony Joshua)
Now that we know these five key benefits for those that choose to take up boxing, let’s take a look at each in a little more detail.
1. A Great Alternative
Since boxing is very physical, demanding, and requires that you have some fighting skills, it gives those going through a tough time a means to let off steam. For example, it is this ‘grittiness’ that enables students to stay focused and get through their academic pressures, even when things get extremely hard-going. Boxing gives you a sense of loss like no other sport. This mentality can also be used in academics to drive students to face up to challenges they would otherwise back down from. While other sports such as football, baseball, etc., have much more appeal to larger mainstream audiences, boxing’s tough and gritty nature makes it more appealing to those who want to “fight” their way out of social or occupational difficulty. This is one of the main reasons that so many university students who take up boxing are then able to clamp down and show greater devotion to their studies.
2. Evokes Value and Skills
If you want to be successful in boxing, you need mental strength, focus, control, discipline and the ability to take personal responsibility for your own actions. A lot of the time, these are the core values that those outside of sport tend to lack. However, when you’re taking part in boxing, you learn very quickly that these are the key values that separate winners from losers.
Boxing is an individual sport meaning you have to really take control of your own training if you want to see best results. Anyone that takes boxing seriously will tell you that there’s nobody else to blame but yourself when things go wrong. Boxing is one of the most effective sports helping participants learn these very important philosophies.
3. Helps to Manage Aggression
While many people see boxing as way for overly aggressive people to get their rage out, the truth is, boxing is really a means to divert aggression. It doesn’t exactly stop people from getting angry, but it does help people to re-channel their anger with control. When you’re involved in boxing, you’re required to keep a clear mind and focus on obstacles objectively. This can help you develop an ability to stay calm and collective where others would lose their minds to stress and pressure. For example, many students will see boxing as a means to de-stress.
Most people panic when they come face to face with a challenge that they perceive as incredibly daunting, Boxers who have been practicing the sport for many years have continuously trained themselves to face challenges above their current ability. This ritual of chasing achievement beyond your limits effectively re-builds your mind into believing that any obstacle can be overcome if you “fight” it the right way.
4. Gives a Sense of Community
Everyone likes being part of a group, it’s just how humans are built. Weather you train at a gym or a club, if you’re involved in boxing, the chances are that you’ll be joining a strong community of others that are in very similar situations to yourself. This act of joining a family gives people strength and a feeling of belonging. For example, a lot of students have a tough time integrating at university and making their first friends. Joining a boxing club can be an effective way to create new ties and meet others in your direct vicinity.
There are certainly other environments and sports that can give this sense of community, but boxing gyms tend to have their own distinct feel. Boxing is more like combat than any other sport, and a lot of people recognize that it’s within combat that people create the strongest bonds. The social skills you learn from integrating into a boxing club can give your the confidence you need to carry over these principles to your classmates and wider social circles.
5. You Will Have Role Models
Just like many other sports, the coaches and trainers in your boxing club that work closest to you will likely become strong role models. This dynamic is easily transferable to your university classes. You’ll grow a sense of respect for your boxing teachers and it can prove just as beneficial to form similar relationships with your university teachers as well. The best boxing coaches help people to build strong relationships and trust higher authorities. This can help those who practice boxing to construct sturdy bonds with their university teachers.
Seven Tips to Develop More Strength In Your Punches
You might be the faster, lighter-footed guy in the ring making the audience go dizzy with your schmancy moves, but unless you can punch, chances are that your opponent is winning it between the ears!
In Boxing, you’ve got to punch, and you’ve got to punch hard. It earns you the respect you deserve, helps you position yourself perfectly to land those follow-up punches and most importantly, keeps you alive for the duration of the fight.
Only, punching like a beast doesn’t come naturally for some athletes. That’s where strength building exercises come into play. And we aren’t talking about mundane weight lifting exercises in the gym either.
To build up your punching power, you’ve got to train smart!
7 Tips to Vastly Improve Your Punching Power
Here’s a mix of conventional, tried and tested and a few unconventional training methods that we borrow from martial arts that are going to help you build explosive strength in your punches.
#1 – Beef up the foundation
Start off with the legs. To throw strong, solid punches, you need to have a rock hard foundation.
Your legs provide your upper body with the stability and the balance it needs while you are constantly on the move or even staying stationary trying to duck.
Contrary to what’s popularized in old-school Boxing literature, don’t need to wake up in the am and sprint for 20 miles. Running is an aerobic exercise.
Boxing is a predominantly anaerobic sport.
This means that, most of the time in the ring, your muscles will be under tremendous stress without sufficient oxygen supply for short bursts of time. You’ve got to train your body to compensate for it.
So, it is imperative that you include as much anaerobic exercises into your training routine as possible.
For legs, you’ve got to include isokinetic, isotonic and isometrics anaerobic workouts.
Squats are the gold standard. To make it better you can squat with a medicine ball. Include plyometric exercises. Lots of jumps, do some lunge variations, to hit the glutes. Target all leg muscles.
#2 – Strengthen your fists
In a scene from the latest Rocky movie, Sylvester Stallone’s trainer tells him that ‘Every time you hit him, it’s gotta feel like he tried to kiss the express train’.
That sums up fist strength for you. There’s nothing like a rock hard fist to back up your strength with.
Sadly, in boxing, it doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.
In fact, most other forms of martial arts attribute a lot more importance to fist strength.
And we borrow this simple strength building exercise for your fists from Taekwondo.
Get a tub of sand (or rice) and punch your hands through it with the fingers extended. Go gentle at first and gradually increase your force and speed. Once you can comfortably throw punches (fingertips first) through sand, you can start warming the sand. This makes it harder.
Good old heavy bag workouts work great as well.
#3 – Dodge with your hips
If you have seen pro boxers move their head, you’ll realize the importance of the bob-and-weave technique. They can dodge punches like nobody’s business.
When its punching time, this translates into a strong upper body that swings like a sledgehammer to deliver the punch.
But in a long and tedious fight, with energy levels dwindling, it can become difficult to retain this upper body strength unless you train for it.
Concentrate on exercises for the torso. Hold a medicine ball at eye level with both arms, relax your shoulders (no shrugging) and swing the upper body from side to side.
Alternatively, you can also grab a baseball bat and swing hard at a heavy bag or a tire. That comes straight from the Pacman’s training routine by the way.
#4 – Punch through the heavy bag
Conventional heavy bag workouts focus on punching hard AT the bag. The trick is to punch through it. If you are punching at the bag instead of through it, you are kind of defeating the purpose of all that strength behind the punch.
Think of it like a half-baked punch.
Punch hard, punch clean and punch through it. That’s not pushing at the bag mind you.
You will continue to use strong, snap punches. But you should feel the bag as you connect with it. Once you practice throwing punches through, focus on heavy bag workouts that allow you to make combination punches while moving around it.
#5 – Stop overextending
Overextending is a common problem mostly seen in boxers of shorter stature. To compensate for their short reach, they often overextend their punches, which does two things.
1. It throws them off balance
2. It reduces the strength in the punch
Rather than overextending and wasting the potential of a precisely landed punch, practice the bob and weave technique, trying to dodge punches and moving forward at the same time.
This helps you to get within reach of your opponent and launch a punch when its most effective. Reduce the distance that your punch has to travel before it finds meat. Use it like a bullet. Not a pole.
#6 – Bend your knees
Always bend your knees when you throw punches. Get into a crouching position, keep your legs firmly grounded on the ground and launch into the punch.
The best exercise for helping build strength is the squat. But you can also practice wall squats to help improve your leg strength.
#7 – Stay relaxed
Newbie boxers are often tensed on a big fight night. That’s understandable.
But if their bodies are tight and heavy, which is what tension typically does, it affects movement, velocity and coordination. Instead, staying relaxed helps the punches to flow.
You are light on your feet, your balance is perfect, your weight is transferring back and forth seamlessly.
That’s the right way to box. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!
Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques. An added advantage is that it helps build lung strength as well.
It Is Possible To Develop Monster Strength in Your Punching Power?
You don’t necessarily need to be a heavy handed fighter like Mike Tyson or George Foreman to be able to throw hard punches that hurt your opponent.
Work on your strength, balance and co-ordination. Use a combination of slip bag and heavy bag workouts to hone your skills.
With practice, you’ll get there.
How Students Can Continue Boxing While Achieving Academic Success
While a lot of people see boxing as one of the world’s most barbaric activities, those involved in boxing know that this sport is about much more than simple violence.
Just like most sporting pursuits, boxing requires technique, stamina, and relentless determination, especially if you plan on achieving wins in the ring.
Some students enter university with a passion for boxing, while others might grow an enthusiasm for the sport through a student club.
Once you get the boxing bug, it can be very hard to drop. Can it get in the way of your studies? Perhaps, if you decide to take it very seriously and end up spending more time in the ring than in classroom. That doesn’t always mean you should quit.
Studies have shown how increased sporting activity can actually aid academic achievement. Just like other sports, boxing will serve most as an excellent way to practice staying focused, healthy, and motivated to take on new challenges.
Some students will feel the bug bite harder than others. If you’re serious about boxing but also want to achieve the most you can out of your time at university, balancing the two commitments can seem quite can become quite overwhelming.
In these situations you might find yourself having to make a tough decision. Do you keep trying to do both knowing that you could burn yourself out or do you reign back your commitment to either pursuit?
If cutting back on boxing isn’t an option, you could always consider trying an essay writing service like essaypro.com. These services allow students to continue staying active while relieving a lot of the academic workload that comes with life at university.
When it comes to students and boxing, there hasn’t exactly been a wealth of cutting edge research conducted on the subject. But one study by Dr. Stephen Hills titled ‘The role of Boxing in Development’ identified boxing as one of the best sports in helping students stay focused and disciplined in their academic commitments.
Other studies into the benefits of sports have highlighted the extra drive, determination, energy levels and cognitive advantages people tend to build from increased levels of exercise.
Most people would assume that the more time you spend chasing other activities, the less time you’re spending hitting the books. When it comes to boxing, a lot of people relate the sport to conditions such as concussion and brain damage.
Where many would place boxing as the polar opposite to academics, the truth is that the fundamentals of the sport are actually built on solid principle including discipline, concentration, determination, and building towards a goal. Boxing and academics actually have a lot more in common than many would think.
The Bottom Line
While boxing may seem like one of the roughest sports available today, there’s also an unseen process that helps boxing students tackle the challenges of university life. Most people that has tried boxing will agree that the training and drills help you build extra confidence. This can then carry over into every other aspect of student living, including their studies, relationships with others, deadlines, and domestic responsibilities to name a few.
No matter what your opinion of boxing, the ideals and values that make up the fundamentals of the sport align perfectly with academics. Whether you’re just starting your journey at university or you’ve been studying for years, boxing can be means to relieve stress, get in shape, unleash your competitive edge and develop your self-discipline.
Remember, boxing doesn’t need to be about winning fights. Most people that join boxing clubs or train in boxing facilities at gyms don’t ever intend to enter the ring. It’s perfectly acceptable to join a club purely to train and devote yourself to the disciplines surrounding the sport.
Not a fan of violence? You don’t have to be! Boxing is about hard work and chasing targets. You’re targets might be to get fitter, tougher or more resilient. You can have objectives that have nothing to do with fighting someone else and still reap all the benefits that boxing has to offer.
If you’ve come this far and have signed up for or even attended your first boxing class, congratulations! You can now say that you are a growing part of a rich history and proud member of an amazing community.
For many years, people have been training boxing, not only as a sport but for self-defense. Boxing will boost your self-confidence and help you stay in great shape.
We hope the tips in this guide have helped you out and wish you the best in your future in boxing.