Boxing classes are blowing up. With gyms like LegendsBoxing popping up from coast to coast, people who had never considered boxing classes before are now getting a chance to try them.
But because most individuals don’t grow up learning to box the way they might with other sports—like swimming and running, for example—it can be a little more of a challenging and even intimidating activity for first-timers. However, once most people get past the initial jitters and experience their first class, they immediately see how addicting a boxing workout is, and they crave more.
If you are considering giving this exciting sport a try, there are some things you should know, like what to wear to your first class at a boxing studio and some tips to ensure you have a great experience.
Ready to channel your inner Rocky? Let’s dive in!
As with any new class, it can sometimes be intimidating to walk into a workout that you’re not super-familiar with. The good news is that knowing some key intel before you set foot into a boxing gym can really help to ensure your first time goes smoothly and that you actually enjoy the boxing session.
Here’s what to know:
First of all, you’re about to get sweaty because boxing training is a full-body cardio workout. And if you’re not sweating, then you need to find a new class! Keep that in mind when you're choosing what to wear to boxing class. Also, realize that you're going to need a full range of motion for much of your body in order to work out comfortably, especially if you'll be doing kickboxing.
There is quite a bit of up and down bouncing movement in boxing, so a sports bra with full support is always best.
Feel free to forego the top altogether and just rock your favorite sports bra if you feel comfortable. But if you’d rather wear a top over your sports bra, a T-shirt or tank top are both great options. The fit (snug vs. loose) is up to you, but it’s advised to stay away from really strappy tanks or workout clothes that are likely to have straps that fall down over your shoulders. That can get pretty annoying because it’s tricky to fix a wardrobe malfunction when your hands are buried in boxing gloves.
There are many different options for bottom attire. Because you don’t necessarily kick in boxing, absolute unrestricted body movement is not crucial. However, you should be able to move forward, backward, and laterally as well as up and down in a squatting position. Leggings or compression shorts are always a great choice for boxing because they are easy to move in and usually won’t slip or sag.
There are a couple of options in terms of footwear. You could purchase your own pair of boxing shoes that have a smooth bottom, low heel, and good ankle support —all of which are ideal for the kind of work you will be doing in class. However, it might be best to make sure boxing is for you before making an investment in gear since boxing shoes can cost anywhere from $100 to $250.
Cross trainers are a great alternative to boxing shoes because they have similar features. Running sneakers are less than ideal because they have a thick sole that can make pivoting and turning difficult. They also usually don't provide much in the way of lateral support.
If you do buy a new pair of shoes, be sure to break them in before your workout to avoid getting a painful blister!
If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how to best prepare for your first boxing class, being well-recovered from any other workout routine is a good idea. If you are on a strength-training regimen, it's recommended to take the day off before your boxing class so your muscles aren't tight before you try a workout.
It’s always a good idea to rest before trying a new workout, but with boxing, there’s a very specific reason why you want to bring your ‘A’ game: One of the toughest hurdles to get over as a new boxer is teaching your body to relax and be fluid with the technique. It’s much harder to accomplish learning the proper form while your muscles are sore or tight. Trust us on this one.
So, with that in mind, before your first boxing class, be sure to take it easy and maybe skip your workout that day. Also, be sure to keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water and keep a water bottle with you in class.
Many people tend to miss this one, and unfortunately, what goes down can sometimes come right back up! Boxing is not only fun but intense, with each punch using your entire body from your toes all the way up to your head.
It’s not uncommon for beginners to come to class on a full belly after eating a large breakfast or lunch, but trust us—this usually ends up with a less than favorable outcome. If you happen to be coming to class after work, for example, and are famished, you can eat something light like a granola bar or a banana, but save dinner for after class.
Each workout is different, but you won’t be hitting the punching bag or sparring for the entire length of the class. LegendsBoxing classes feature warmups, rounds on the heavy bag, and HIIT exercises off the bag like lunges, squats, mountain climbers, and burpees.
The cardiovascular conditioning of boxing is second to none. Your upper body will burn when you’re striking the heavy bag, your heart rate will shoot way up, and you’ll see improved upper body and core strength. Plus, your cardiovascular endurance will increase as well. That's part of why so many people turn to boxing when looking to lose weight, although boxing provides way more benefits than just weight loss.
In your first class, one of the best things to focus on is learning how to have a strong boxing stance.
When you stand in a proper stance, there are many subtle changes that immediately make it easier to find a stable fighting position. For example, your punches reach farther without forcing you to overextend your lead foot into a position where it may be left vulnerable. You’re also less likely to lose your balance when you have to quickly react and pivot away from an opponent's attack or extend onto your toes during a one-two combo. Having a strong stance allows you to throw a wider variety of punches without leaving you too exposed.
You’ll have more balance, mobility, and power the moment you find your stance. So it’s a good idea to learn this technique from the get-go.
Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with your non-dominant foot. Point your toes to about 2 o’clock, bend your knees and lift your back heel slightly off the ground. You’ll also want to make sure you are engaging your core, which will allow you to stay in control during quick punches. You should feel as if your weight is distributed equally on each leg, enabling you to move around quickly and easily.
Getting overzealous can lead to a bad injury when you don’t have the proper technique down, so keep things controlled when you’re just getting started with boxing. When punching, the two most important things to remember to avoid an injury are to keep your wrists straight and to make contact with your two strongest knuckles - your middle and index fingers. You might be striking a heavy bag that weighs twice as much as you do, so it’s recommended to start out by punching softly and working your way up with power.
Boxing is challenging, both physically and mentally. Workouts often consist of various combo punches and other fast movements that need to be remembered throughout the class, and it’s not always easy to keep what you’re supposed to be doing—and in what order—straight.
Be ready to mess up, feel awkward, and maybe even a little uncomfortable when you don't get the technique down right away. But, don’t let it discourage you. Keep your chin up, stay focused, and keep trying.
It’s completely normal not to get all of the techniques down initially, but you can absolutely still get an excellent workout as long as you’re having fun learning. Try to approach boxing with a little bit of humility; the expectation is not to be great after class one, but rather to take each class as an opportunity to improve 1% in technique and push yourself 1% harder.
And remember, the experience should be fun. Don’t beat yourself up when you mess up because the truth is that you most certainly will, and that's perfectly okay!
Take a great big deep breath, shake it out, and begin again.
Boxing is a whole lot of fun and provides an incredible full-body workout. Be sure to dress appropriately for each class to ensure that you have an awesome experience.