One of the oldest combat sports in the world, boxing, is an incredible way to workout. Why? Because it strengthens your entire body from head to toe, including both your cardiovascular system and muscular system, with a large focus on your shoulders, arms, legs, and core. Once known as the “black sheep” of the fitness industry due to the thought of it being a sport for only the beasts of men in the world, boxing has made a renaissance.
Today, there are various types of boxing gyms to choose from, ranging from the nitty, gritty rough around the edges type that you may remember from the classic Sylvester Stallone, Rocky franchise, all the way to a streamlined, polished, and upscale establishment. Both types will provide you with an outstanding workout; the only choice you will have to make is what best matches your personality and personal tastes.
Ready to channel your inner Rocky? Keep reading!
So, you’ve made the decision to better your life and scheduled your first boxercise class. Congratulations, you are about to embark on an exciting journey that will challenge you to push your limits and break barriers. Starting anything new can be intimidating, to say the least. However, keep in mind that everyone had their ‘first day’ at one point or another, and these anxious feelings tend to dissipate the moment you step in the club.
Here’s what to expect from your first boxing class:
Your First Class
On the day of your first boxing class, it’s extremely important to arrive 15 to 30 minutes early for a handful of reasons. First and foremost, with all boxing gyms, fitness programs, and boot camps, there will be some paperwork and liability forms that you’ll need to sign prior to being able to take the class. Next, the trainer will want to give you a short-and-sweet run-down of the gym to help make you feel more comfortable. They will show you where the lockers and restrooms are, where the hydration station is so you can refill your water bottle, and of course, the boxing equipment. At Legends Boxing, the trainers will also teach you how to wrap your hands properly for the first time to ensure they are protected before starting the class.
Once your hands and wrists are wrapped, it’s GO time!
Most boxing classes are 60 minutes long and are usually structured in three “rounds” that include an intense cardio warmup, boxing with intervals of bodyweight exercises, and of course, core work. All three rounds are extremely challenging and are sure to leave you drenched in sweat from head to toe. In fact, a boxing class can burn anywhere from 500 to 1,000 calories per hour. Although all gyms are different and some are structured differently, a boxing round is typically done with a heavy bag or by shadowboxing.
Typical Boxing Exercises
Before we dive right into what a typical boxing workout looks like, it’s important to know what some of the exercises are in the workout, as well as what they’re good for!
Running. About 99% of boxers out there run on a daily basis. In fact, running is oftentimes the staple of a boxing workout for many reasons. The first, surprisingly, has nothing to do with the physical aspect of it. As most boxers will admit, fighting is as much mental as it is physical - if not more. Running helps build mental toughness. When you set a goal for the number of miles you want to run, you have to push yourself in order to get through.
Another benefit of running is endurance. While the mind is important, your body has to also be able to do what the mind wants it to do. Even if you have the drive and mental toughness to do a long battle, you need to make sure your body is conditioned enough to comply. Running your miles will help to build endurance in your legs, lungs, and overall body. It teaches your body to bring oxygen to your muscles and keeps you in the game longer.
Jump Rope. Ah, the jump rope - a classic boxing exercise! You can most definitely expect to utilize the jump rope throughout your boxing workout. This simple piece of exercise equipment helps fighters to stay on their pivot throughout the fight and teaches them how to be agile with their footwork. It will force you to stay fast on your toes, which is a must in boxing. Need another reason to jump rope? It’s just plain ol’ fun, especially once you get good.
Shadowboxing. Shadowboxing is where habits are both, this goes for both good and bad habits. There are a couple of things you want to do while shadowboxing to do it right and make sure you are learning good habits.
Always throw to the best of your ability. This means throwing sharp, solid, fast punches - no sloppy and lazy punches! You will build the wrong type of habits if you aren’t putting your best foot forward each time. You’ll also want to make sure you’re moving you’re head and your feet. Take rounds off of throwing punches and just focus on footwork and head movement. You see great boxers like Guillermo Rigondeaux and Floyd Mayweather doing this a lot. At the end of each combo, ask yourself if that was the hardest or fastest punch that you can throw. If the answer is no, throw again faster and harder.
Shadowboxing will help you to build the right reflexes into your systems. It will also aid your coordination and help you to throw punches that won’t leave you off balance when you miss, but still have enough power to knock the other guy out. Shadowboxing can be a little challenging, but luckily gyms like Legends Boxing have amazing trainers to help!
Heavy Bag. The biggest temptation in life isn’t food, riches, or fame. It’s walking by a heavy bag and trying not to hit it! Punching a heavy bag is arguably the most fun you can have hitting something without getting in trouble, but just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not an effective piece of workout equipment. Outside of stamina, coordination, speed, and range, the heavy bag is amazing for developing power. This is where you get to unload and hit the bag as hard as you can, which is ideal for building form and increasing punching power. In every boxing workout, you can expect to work the heavy bag, to practice your combos, and work on perfecting your mix of power, speed, and the form of your punches.
Strength Training. All boxing classes have some form of strength training incorporated into the workout. A fighter’s body has to not only be able to dish out a beating but take one as well. Most people think of strength training as lifting incredibly heavy weights and becoming some massive bodybuilder, but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Think of strength training as performing exercise involving some type of resistance, whether that’s resistance-based equipment, weights, or even your body weight. This form of exercise could involve doing crunches, wall-balls, pushups, squats, or lifting a dumbbell of light-to-medium weight. Boxing clubs like Legends Boxing know that strength training is important because it will make you muscles, bones, and joints stronger, allowing you to improve the quality of your workouts.
Putting It All Together
Now that you know what goes into a boxing workout, here is a short outline of a typical boxing workout that you can follow. Feel free to adjust it as needed depending on what shape you’re in and remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated because trust us - you’re going to sweat.
10 minutes jump rope
3-minute round: Basic jab, cross, and hook punches
Rest 30 seconds
Heavy bag workout: basic combinations
Rest 30 seconds
10 jump squats
Rest 30 seconds
Stretch for 5 minutes
If you’re a newbie to this kind of intensity, do three rounds - not five - and give yourself a full minute of rest between them. Don’t go all out in the first 20 seconds. Be sure to pace yourself.
Boxing is an exceptional way to get your blood flowing and heart pumping. It will work out your entire body, from your heart to your lungs, to your shoulders to your legs. If you are looking to seriously change your life through fitness and have a great time while doing it, you should definitely consider boxing.
Look for a great boxing club like Legends Boxing to help give your confidence a boost, find your mental clarity, and achieve your fitness goals. Trust us - you’ll be glad you did!
Still looking for more information? Check out our video on what you can expect at your first class.