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When most think about boxing, they think of monstrous men throwing punch after punch in a high-energy bloody battle for the championship belt, and with popular movies like Rocky and Creed – we don’t blame them! Boxing has gotten a bad rep over the years and is commonly referred to as the “black sheep” of the fitness world, but times are finally changing. Today, it is not just meant for hulk-like men to go round after grueling round in the ring, but boxing is becoming increasingly popular as an incredible way to get in shape. So, where did it come from?
Did you know that boxing can be seen dating all the way back to ancient Egypt before later being introduced to the Olympic Games in Greece during the 7th century B.C? Although we are just now beginning to see boxing gyms make waves in the wonderful world of fitness, the sport itself is one of the oldest combat sports in the world. However, the sport you know and love today is very different than ancient boxing and has a long and complicated history – let's dive in!
Back in the day, fighters used soft thin leather straps that they would braid around their fists to support their hands and wrists. By the 4th century B.C, the straps evolved and were made from tough leather which didn’t just protect the fighter’s wrists, but essentially turned them into assault weapons. Eventually in the Roman Empire, the leather straps were enhanced further with special copper and iron brackets used in gladiator battles, which typically ended when one of the fighters were killed.
Thankfully, these gruesome battles came to an end with the fall of the Roman Empire and the spread of religion. It wouldn’t be until several centuries later when boxing would make a comeback. In fact, it wasn’t until 1681 in England when scheduled boxing matches started becoming a hot commodity again as a form of entertainment. Boxing really took off with champions from all around the world looking for a shot at fame and glory.
As time went on, boxing continued to grow in popularity with loyal fans cheering on their favorite fighter’s, sparring match after match, placing bets hoping to make a buck or two. James Figg was one of the first big names known to the sport for winning the Champion of England belt in 1719 and keeping the title for fifteen consecutive years – incredible! Boxing has come a long way since then with rules and regulations put in place to keep the sport not only safe, but fun.
As boxing continued to rise over time, people really started to take notice of one common denominator found amongst all fighters – their impeccable health. If you look at a boxer, the first thing that you might notice is their perfectly sculpted physique. Toned arms, strong legs, and abs made of steel that could set off any metal detector are all characteristics that boxers share due to the vigorous training they must endure to get in fighting shape. This realization is what sparked the revolutionary idea of boxing classes for fitness, making it no longer just a sport for ferocious men, but an incredible form of exercise for people of all fitness levels.
Many people have the misconception that boxing classes are spent only doing bag work, punching a heavy bag for the whole hour, but this is certainly not the case. Boxing is an excellent way to exercise because it is constantly challenging you to get out of your comfort zone and push your personal boundaries for continuous growth. Here are some of the top benefits of boxing for exercise.
After each class, you can expect to be out of breath and dripping in sweat from head to toe. This is because boxing is an incredible way to incorporate a healthy dose of aerobic exercise into your life! Some of the amazing benefits that many people find from aerobic exercise is that they lose weight and improve their overall cardiovascular health.
If you are looking to lose a little bit of weight, then boxing is for you! Not only will you find that you can burn over 400 calories per class, but your body will continue to burn calories throughout the day due to its high intensity nature. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and is by far one of the best techniques used today to convert your body into a fat burning machine! The training technique consists of giving 100% max effort through intense and quick burst of exercise followed by short but still active recovery periods.
HIIT is so effective for weight loss because when you are pushing yourself to the max, it increases your body’s need for oxygen causing a shortage. When you “deprive” yourself of oxygen, your body will need to rebuild itself to bring those oxygen levels back up to normal. This is known as the afterburn effect which can help you to burn calories up to 16 to 24 hours after your workout.
Boxing is an excellent choice to help with weight loss because the classes are based around HIIT style exercise. A class might consist of hitting the bag as hard as you can for two minutes followed by one minute of recovery, and repeat. If you are looking to get beach body ready, then look no further and give boxing a shot!
Believe it or not, but heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Knowing this, don’t you feel it is important to take care of your heart? It is critical to your health to do everything that you can to keep your heart strong and healthy. This is where cardio steps in.
Cardio is important because it places a moderate amount of stress on your heart and lungs. By doing this, they are challenged to make beneficial physiologic adaptations to support your higher level of physical activity.
Every time that you throw a punch, you force many of your muscles to contract at one time. When this happens, your heart must work harder to pump blood and oxygen to deliver it to each muscle, thus giving your heart quite the workout as well!
Another great benefit of boxing training is that it will build lean muscle to help you to get big and strong. In fact, boxing is one of the few ways to exercise that incorporates almost every muscle in your body making it an excellent choice for those looking for a full body workout. Some of the muscles that you will strengthen are:
Many people are under the impression that boxing only focuses on arm strength, but this is not true! Power is generated from the ground up. This means that it starts at the base of your legs which is then transferred through your core, eventually making its way to your fists. The rule of thumb is that the stronger your legs are, the more power you can generate.
Like we just mentioned, power is generated from the ground up, passing through your core to your fists. However, what many people do not realize, is that before power is transferred to your fists to throw a solid punch, it first must course through your shoulders.
The rotator cuff is made up of important muscles that are constantly strengthening when you box. These muscles work to stabilize your shoulder blades and allow rapid delivery of punches with maximum power. It is important to strengthen your shoulders because the stronger they are, the more technically sound your execution to throw a punch will be.
Did you know that your core is one of the most powerful muscles in your body? You can think of it as your very own personal fuel tank because this muscle is where you draw your energy and stamina from. Many people that do not have a strong core are not able to last very long in any physical activity.
Boxing is an exceptional way to strengthen your core because every single movement requires this muscle to engage. For an example, when you throw a punch, you twist your torso and contract the abdomen. This movement will strengthen your obliques.
Having a strong core is important because it also works to protect crucial organs in your body. When you box, it is common to take body shots from an opponent so having a strong core that protects these organs is critical
It doesn’t matter if you are the strongest cat on the block looking for advanced boxing classes or completely new to exercise just looking to learn the basics of self-defense, boxing is a great choice for all fitness levels! If you are getting tired of your current gym routine and are thinking about throwing in the towel on your fitness goals, don’t give up! Get strong with an amazing boxing club like Legends Boxing in Atlanta, Georgia to help you to reach your goals.