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Defensive Tips for Boxing Beginners

As with any sport, it isn't offense alone which wins the game of boxing. This is because unless you hopelessly over match your opponent (and who wants to win that way?), you will need to ward off or minimalise the impact of your opponent's punches.

Therefore, along with everything else you need to work on in becoming a good fighter (legwork, conditioning, punching, etc), you also need to incorporate correct defensive fundamentals—especially when you are new and better able to formulate good, lifelong habits.

This is important, since learning proper technique in the first place is far easier than replacing poor technique down the road.

For now, here are some basics to know about defense, how to use it, and why it is so important.

It's About Not Being Hit Hard—Or at All

With defensive boxing, your goal is to be as elusive and hard to hit as possible and to deflect and minimalise the punches which do land. This can be done through quickness, agility, constant movement and above all, proper technique.

Remember, being hit is part of the game, and will happen no matter what. In fact, the only way you would likely ever make it through a fight without being hit would be for you to greatly over match your rival—and again, who would want that? You're here for the sport, not to be a bully!

So, since it is virtually inevitable that you will take punches during your bouts, you need to incorporate the next best thing to dodging punches completely, which is to minimize the energy you absorb from them.

With that in mind, let's go over both how to avoid being hit in the first place, as well as how to reduce the impact of punches which do land. This can be done using four main techniques, which are:

  • Blocking
  • Parrying
  • Slipping
  • Rolling

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each:


As the name indicates, blocking is a means of deflecting your rival's punches away from where they will do damage.

However, and even though blocking is the most direct means of defense, it isn't the best primary method of avoiding punches for a couple of reasons:

  • Even though you are keeping the punch from hitting its intended target, you are still absorbing the punch's power
  • You are essentially giving your opponent something to "hit against," which helps them stay balanced and in position to counter punch.

Even so, blocking is still something you need to work on and have ready in your defensive quiver since there will be times when you simply can't slip or parry a punch. Think of blocking as your backup plan to be used whenever a glove is headed your way and your only hope is to block it—sort of like a base baller ticking a tough pitch foul rather than taking it for a final strike.

Remember too that you need to ALWAYS keep your hands up and ALWAYS return them to the defensive position after throwing a punch. This will enable you to defend your head by not leaving it open to punches, as well as enable you to load up a counter punch.

To improve and maintain your blocking skills, try this drill:

  • Start with a partner who is about your size
  • Begin by having them throw slow-motion jabs at you while you practice blocking them before returning your hands immediately to the defensive position
  • Slowly increase the intensity until your partner is throwing jabs at full speed
  • Keep those hands up!
  • You can also use this drill to work on your parrying and slipping

Think of blocking as one of many fundamental skills for you to work on throughout your boxing career, no matter how long you've been at it. In fact, never take defence--or any other fundamental skill for that matter--for granted no matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, since there is ALWAYS something new to learn.


While parrying may be another form of blocking, it has the additional benefit of using your opponent's energy against them. This is because rather than providing them with a solid punching surface, you are redirecting their effort along with their balance and energy. Think Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown.

The other difference parrying has with blocking is that it is typically done with the palm, rather than the back of the glove, along with the forearms. The idea with parrying is to intersect punches and swipe or knock them off-course while you remain balanced and in position to counter punch.

This does take timing, although when done right, it is a highly effective way to take advantage of an opponent's over commitment to their punch and put you in a better offensive position.


Slipping is a more advanced technique which, as its name implies, allows you to play the Artful Dodger and "slip" outside of or away from punches. As with parrying, slipping can also take advantage of an adversary's over commitment to a punch and take them off balance to give you an offensive advantage.

However, slipping does rely on reflexes and timing, which means you stand the chance of getting smacked hard if yours are off. For this reason, it is best that you focus on proper technique which will help you more than anything when learning this important defensive tool.

For instance, there is the "3-point slip" in which you keep your head moving on a 3-point axis to avoid jabs and hooks to the head. These 3-movements are:

  • Side-to-side
  • Up-and-down
  • Forward and backward

Remember too that none of these 3-movements are "head only" movements or "wobble from side-to-side-like-a-lawn-toy" movements. Instead, your head movements need to start from where all your boxing fundamentals begin: Your footwork.

This is because the idea of a slip isn't to just get out of the way for now and then react to the next situation as it arises. Instead, the idea is to control your positioning with your legs, torso and head so that each slip sets up the next, as well as puts you in position to land counter punches.

For instance, doing "the wobble" with feet planted solid while bending side-to-side at the waist leaves you square to your opponent. This not only gives them a large target to hit—especially since, much to your opponent's appreciation, you are keeping your feet planted in one spot—it also prevents you from loading up counter punches.

Plus, your head only moves side-to-side rather than the elusiveness you get when you include forward-and-back and up-and-down movements.

Slipping should also be a part of your continuous movement in the ring—the up-and-down, side-to-side and forward-and-backward movements you incorporate while "dancing" with your opponent. Practice this when you shadow box and spar, and you can also do "slow-to-fast" drills with a partner such as the one outlined in the "blocking" section above.


Rolling—or the shoulder roll—is like parrying and slipping in that it minimizes the affect of a punch rather than allowing you to absorb it. It also allows your hands to remain free for counter punching since it involves turning—or rolling—your shoulder in the direction of the punch so that there is no firm surface for the punch to land.

However, while this can effectively negate the effect of entire combinations, it can also leave you vulnerable to punches should a "deke" punch be thrown causing you to roll in the wrong direction. It also doesn't work against small, fast jabs and similar shots which are used most of the time.

However, by rolling your shoulders away from a punch (which can be done in rapid succession for combos), the punch will harmlessly land on your shoulder and leave you in a prime position for counter punching. This is not only much easier than blocking, it also allows you to absorb far less of a punch's force.

Defense Wins the Game

In the words of the great Floyd Mayweather Jr, "He can have heart, he can hit harder and be stronger, but there's no fighter smarter than me."

This speaks to the essence of why defensive skills are so important: Brawn does little against a superior defensive strategy. In fact, no matter how strong a fighter's punch may be, it is only as strong as the ability to land it, which is something good defense sets up. 

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Roadwork: Why do Boxers Run?

 While few runners are boxers, nearly all boxers are runners. Strange? Contradictory? Perhaps, although there are some key differences between running to train for boxing and running to enjoy the sport of running.

For instance, runners typically train for one purpose, which is of course to develop their straight-line running speed and stamina.

However, boxers don't just move one direction or at one pace, and instead move backward, forward, up, down and sideways. They also need to develop explosive power and quickness, along with balance and coordination, all of which running alone won't fully accomplish.

And, there is even more to it than that.

In fact, let's fill you in on what you need to know about boxing roadwork, how it can help you become a better combat athlete, and how to correctly use it in your boxing workouts. 

What is Boxing Roadwork?

First, let's get one thing straight: boxing roadwork is NOT the same as distance running, nor should it be treated as such. If you want to be a runner, be a runner—nothing wrong with that. It's a great sport with many benefits, although preparing you for the ring isn't one of them.

However, let's start by looking at the iconic scene in "Rocky II" in which Sylvester Stallone runs through the streets of Philadelphia to the delight of dozens of his young followers.

In the scene, we see that rather than just jogging along at a steady state, Rocky shadowboxes and adds wind sprints, leaps over obstacles, side steps and stutter steps to his workout. He also finishes with a hard push up the 72 stairs leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (now known of as the "Rocky Steps," by the way), and then continues to move and shadow box at the top of the steps as he regains his breath. He throws his arms up dancing in victory as though his young followers are rabid fans cheering a knockout victory, and he never stops moving as he soaks it all in.

This all seems like something he randomly throws together just to entertain the kids, right?

No, since everything he does has an intended purpose to his training, right down to the dancing at the top of the steps.

For instance, we see Rocky begin with a steady-state warmup, after which he adds sprints and park bench hurdles in between lengths of easy jogging. He also keeps his hands up and moving through combos when he can, and uses obstacles, side-steps and stutter-steps to engage his muscles, improve his balance, and instil coordination.

And, that dance at the top of the steps with arms held high in victory?

That may arguably be one of the most important aspects of all, since in order to be the champ, he needs to see himself as the champ. No, this doesn't mean you need to make a spectacle of yourself at the end of every training run although using visualization can help you become a better fighter. 

  How to Incorporate Running into Your Training

Getting the most out of your roadwork means making sure it to reflects the rigors of a fight. This means avoiding the "old school" approach, which is to plod along slowly for miles-upon-miles. Yes, doing this does have cardiovascular benefits, but that's about it.

Instead, you need to mimic the bursts of intense power, quickness, constant motion and stability you need in the ring.

As with any workout, it all starts with a good warmup, which for running should come in the form of a slow and steady jog. This usually means about 1.5-kilometres (around 10-minutes) of steady-state running at a pace easy enough to hold a conversation without running out of breath. Getting the hands up and working through combos is also recommended during the warmup, which will help engage upper body and core muscles along while instilling focus and visualization.

Once the warmup is complete you can begin short sprints of around 100-metres each followed by slow jogging and shadowboxing for around 150-metres. The sprints need to be at an anaerobic pace, which means running hard enough so that speech is nearly impossible, and recovery should be a slow jog of around twice the duration of the sprint (20 seconds on followed by 40 seconds off, for instance).

Doing this is what is called "high intensity interval training (HIIT)," which not only improves muscle strength and power, but also aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, and your body's ability to burn fat.

However, we also need to remember that this is boxing we are talking about here, which rarely requires straight line speed and power. In fact, most of the time boxers move sideways, backward, up and down.

This means that lateral movement, upper body movement and even running backward should also be added to a running workout to better mimic the game of boxing.

This can mean using:

  • Stutter-steps and side hops—These can be done during recovery periods along with shadow boxing to help engage different muscles along with improving balance and coordination. Do side-to-side hops while evading imaginary punches before stutter-stepping suddenly and unpredictably and continuing.
  • Burpees, squats and "boxer's push-ups"—These can be added in between wind sprints and can also be part of shadow boxing and visualization. For instance, boxer's push-ups are an evasive technique in which you drop to the canvas and pop back up using what is essentially a burpee and can be done while shadow boxing to avoid an "opponent's" punch and keep core and upper body muscles engaged. You can also stop trailside and do burpees, squats, or even chin yourself using playground equipment or tree branches before resuming the run, although remember to keep moving and keep all your recovery active.
  • Stairs and hills—Pushing hard up stairs or hills is also an excellent way to add intensity to intervals. Remember too that this works in both directions, since downhill (or downstairs) running is also a great way to engage your quads, although due to risk of injury, running downhill should be limited to an active recovery pace only.
  • Running backward—Running backward can be done in place of a regular interval and is a great way to engage quads and other muscles not utilized in forward motion. Remember that boxing often requires moving backward quickly, and backward running also helps develop coordination and balance. 


While the idea of boxing roadwork may have you envisioning jogging along for endless miles, it needs to be more than that.

In fact, by making your roadwork reflect the intensity, quickness and rhythm of boxing, you can not only gain the strength and stamina you need in the ring but the mental vision of winning as well.

Plus, mixing it up on the road doesn't just prepare for the ring, it also keeps your workouts from becoming boring—which is something steady-state jogging almost always is!

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What is Shadow Boxing? Why You Should Do It

Boxers train so that they can have the best possible chance of winning in the ring. In fact, it is the one-on-one aspect of boxing, as well as the need to develop speed, power and strength in their training which brings up the question: Why is sparring without an opponent---otherwise known of as shadow boxing—so important to a boxer's training?

Shadow boxing is, after all, free of any form of resistance exercise or other means of improving power and strength, so why not use sparring in the ring or bag workouts when working through combos, developing footwork, and developing hand speed? After all, doing so would seemingly be the best way to kill two birds with one stone and develop combos AND power AND strength all at once.

However, it may not be so simple since, shadow boxing adds elements to training that punching an opponent or a heavy bag cannot. These elements will not only help in making your punches and defensive moves far more effective, but in preparing you mentally to become a better, more confident fighter. 

What is Shadow Boxing?

Shadow boxing is best described as "boxing without an opponent," and can be used for anything from a pre-fight warmup, to a regular training aid to improve form, footwork and technique. While true shadows can be used to watch for form mistakes and to verify hand and foot speed, it is more commonly performed in front of a mirror, coach, or camera for these same reasons.

Perhaps even more importantly, shadow boxing can be used to help you improve your confidence as a fighter through visualization, and by perfecting your use of combos, footwork, and hand speed in a fluid and effective manner. By gaining confidence and a positive image of yourself against an opponent, you can better position yourself to "win before stepping into the ring," which is arguably be the most powerful advantage you can have as a fighter.

However, this does not mean that shadow boxing is only for those intending to step into the ring against a foe, since it can also help to improve the aerobic capacity, fitness, and speed of those looking for the kind of ultimate workout which boxing training provides. 

Moving Around

Boxing is a sport which requires a strong, balanced base from which you can move both offensively and defensively. In fact, good fighters need to be able to move into and away from an opponent to throw punches and to avoid punches being thrown, and they need to do it with lightning speed, pinpoint accuracy, and without hesitation.

This requires all potential offensive and defensive moves, techniques, and combos to be fully developed to the point they are an automatic and ingrained reaction to the situation, which the free-form nature of shadow boxing is ideal in developing.

And, as you become more confident in having all your "tools" readily at hand in the ring, you can be more confident in knowing you can both duck and evade your opponent's punches, as well as place a punch of your own the instant you see an opening.

In short, shadow boxing can help you to better "float like a butterfly" before you "sting like a bee."

It's About Finding your Calm

It is said that those who don't include enough time shadow boxing in their training show it in a few ways:

First, it gets you comfortable moving around fluidly and used to the natural rhythms and motions of throwing punches, ducking, and evading being hit. This helps you make the connection between having a powerful punch and having a powerful and EFFECTIVE punch.

Next, it allows you to develop the kind of positive visualization that can help you remain relaxed and ready for your opponent's next move in the ring, rather than being apprehensive and purely reactionary. This helps you develop a calm energy which allows you to be a more effective and efficient fighter. In fact, it is this relaxed sense of calm which you see not just in boxing, but in a good cricket swing, football catch, or most any well executed athletic move.

However, if you lack ample time shadow boxing in your training, your lack of these qualities will show dramatically!

The Physical Benefits of Shadow Boxing

While shadow boxing offers excellent mental benefits to helping you become a better fighter, there are some important physical ones as well.

For instance, fighters who spend all their time working out on the heavy bag to develop striking power often have underdeveloped back muscles. This causes them to tire easily and lose the effectiveness of their punches in the ring when they can't return to striking position quickly enough. This is because hitting the heavy bag offers a "bounce-back" to your punch so that less back muscle is necessary when pulling back punches.

There is also your aerobic development, as well as slow-twitch muscle fibres which will give you longevity and endurance over your opponent in the ring. By getting used to moving around like a fighter and utilizing all these muscles in unison, you are not only developing endurance, you are doing so in a functional manner. By this, we mean rather than strengthening a muscle to act on its own, you are training all muscles together in a functional manner. This will make them stronger as a unit while reducing your risk for injury and honing your form. 


Who would think that bouncing around and acting as though you are fighting could make you a better fighter, although it can.

Whether you are training for your first bout, or just enjoying the benefits of the best workout there is—AKA fitness boxing—you need to use shadow boxing in your workouts.

Not only will doing so help you to move more quickly and effectively in the ring, it will help you do so in the kind of focused, relaxed, and confident manner that is dangerous to your opponent. 

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Am I Too Old to Start Boxing?

When he was 45-years old, George Foreman became the oldest heavyweight champion in history and did so by knocking out 27-year old Michael Moorer. Even more impressive was the fact that he did this after coming out of a 17-year long retirement, and then went on to fight professionally for another 3-years until he retired once again in 1997.

Think about that: Competing at the highest level of a "young person's sport" well into middle age and beating an opponent who wasn't even a teenager at the time of his first retirement. Could it be that "Big George" is the second coming of Superman? After all, at 48 years of age, most of us would think twice about pickup games in the backyard with our nephews, much less fighting in a heavyweight boxing ring!

Or, could it be that the intense workouts he performed while training for his fights kept him fit and youthful in a way few other workouts could?

Aha, perhaps we're onto something here!

Read on to find out how you can not only enjoy boxing despite your accumulation of birthdays, but how it can help to keep you young—and, tremendously fit.

A Young Person's Sport? Hardly!

No, you won't find many boxing gyms in senior homes, nor will you find many boxing newbies over the age of 30. However, this does not mean that just because you are pushing middle age you are destined to a life at the bingo table.

In fact, as the grey begins to show, there is no better time to get away from the sort of low-impact, steady-state exercise we are often told is best for us at our age.

Why is this, you ask?

Simple. As we age, we begin to lose muscle mass which is not being utilized. We can increase muscle mass lost but it takes hard work, planning and dedication.

And, merely running or using a treadmill does little to counter this. In fact, doing so will likely just put you in the kind of rut that has you wondering if perhaps you are too old to see any fitness gains.

However, the kind of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and strength training used to box will do more to counter the effects of age-related muscle loss than steady-state endurance exercise can. This is because intense interval training not only strengthens your fast-twitch power muscles, it is one of the best forms of exercise to increase your body's Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production.

And, as we all know, HGH is the stuff which keeps us young!

Plus, using high intensity weight training, sparring, and interval training will have your metabolism screaming along like a youngster's—something which doesn't stop when your workout ends. In fact, most boxing workouts will have you burning extra calories for hours after completion—even when you have your feet up relaxing!

And more importantly, you will be retaining muscle mass, rather than losing it.

Can I Still Become a Champion?

Of course, the REAL benefit of boxing is…the FUN!

However, you may be worried that you, being a few years older, may never have a shot at becoming a club champion.

But, there is hope--let's go back to George Foreman for a moment, shall we?

Remember that he not only came out of retirement and became a champion again as he was pushing age 50, he did it against a foe who was but a schoolboy when he retired the first time.

However, this doesn't mean that you can (or should) just go up to the youngest, fittest individual in your gym, challenge them to a fight, and win. In fact, doing so would probably be the fastest way to the canvas short of just laying down on it for a nap!

But, by competing within your age range and against opponents at your ability and fitness level, you can experience just how intensely fun and competitive the fight game can be.

Plus, you never know—you may have some of what George Foreman has and be able to move up to more challenging and—dare we say it? --younger opponents!

That said, you need to start somewhere, which, for the sake of your safety and continued enjoyment of the sport, needs to be against opponents you are well matched against. When you keep it fun from the start, you have a much better chance of continuing to enjoy it as you become a more skilled fighter. 

So, Just Anyone Can be a Boxer Then?

Finally, let's get one thing straight: Just because boxing has no official age limit, it does NOT mean that it is a good idea for just anyone to just jump in and begin wailing away at a high intensity.

For one thing, if you are coming off a sedentary lifestyle and looking to return to shape, you need to do it slowly, and preferably with an experienced professional trainer to guide you.

Likewise, you need to consult your physician first before engaging in any high-intensity sport. Even if you feel as though you are in shape, such factors as heredity and natural declines due to aging must be considered, and your doctor can best verify whether you are up for boxing.

A good trainer can also be well worth the investment, since they will understand your strengths, weaknesses, skills and ability levels. From this they can not only help you improve in areas which will help you stay injury-free, but that will help you become a better fighter as well.


Sure, George Foreman may be an exceptional individual, although he is still made of the same flesh and blood as the rest of us.

And what does this tell you?

Only that age is a number, and that despite your age, there is no reason you can't enjoy a "young person's sport."

However, ensuring that you are staying within your abilities and that you have no dangerous medical conditions before starting is crucial, even if you are made of the same material as Big George! 

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The Fear of Getting Hit in Boxing

While you don't have to take part in fighting or live sparring to enjoy staying in shape with fitness boxing, doing so may be way more fun than you realize. It is, after all, the sport of pugilism, so why not give some ring time a try?

However, part of facing a live opponent is getting hit, and nobody boxes without taking some punches. Naturally, you're probably worried about this, which makes sense--getting hit isn't exactly a smooch on the cheek from your favourite aunt!

But, your fear can be overcome so that you can comfortably get into the ring and find out just how enjoyable and competitive the sport of boxing can be.

And no, it isn't about being any tougher than anyone else—just better trained. 

Why We're Afraid to Get Hit

With getting hit, there are a couple of factors which make it seem unpleasant. First, there is the obvious, which is that getting hit can hurt, period.

Second, we don't always see a punch coming which creates a fear of the unknown.

Together, these two factors can add up to excessive flinching and more evasive action than punching. Not only can this put you into more—not less—danger of injury, it removes the balance of a fight.

And, almost as badly, it ruins the fun!

Overcoming Our Fear

So, you're ready to hop into the ring against an opponent. That's fantastic, you're going to enjoy it! It's fun, it's competitive, and it's about the best workout there is.

However, you may first need to prepare yourself against the fear of getting hit.

First, before preparing to take a punch, you need to have the basics of giving a punch mastered. You also need to have an understanding of the footwork, defensive moves, and rules of boxing. Your trainer can help you with this, since part of being a good trainer involves understanding when it is safe for a pupil to move on to the next level.

Once you are at this stage, you can begin preparing for taking one in the kisser—which, by the way, isn't nearly as bad as it sounds.

The first rule to remember is: Don't jump into the ring with anyone bigger or more experienced than you are, since nothing will turn you off to the sport more quickly than being pummelled in a one-sided fight.

Again, this is something your trainer will help with, and even your boxing opponent will want. Most of us desire a good, fair fight or sparring session, and nobody benefits from one participant unfairly beating the snot out of the other, including the one with the unfair advantage. Stay within your weight class and skill level, and you will be fine. 

Next, there are drills which you can do which will help you become accustomed to taking a punch which, despite the initial shock, doesn't hurt as much as you may think. In fact, once you are in the ring and taking part in full contact sparring and fighting, it will just be part of what you are doing--much like how you don't think about the pain of being hit when playing football or other contact sports.

Here are some drills which will help you jump fearlessly into the ring:

  • Flow Boxing, AKA Slow Boxing—The main advantage of this drill is to get you to see punches, rather than being shocked by them. Flow boxing entails getting into the ring with an opponent, and doing very slow, deliberate, and low-impact sparring. The object isn't to land as many punches on your opponent as possible or to take all the punches yourself. Rather, it is to trade slow, ineffective punches on equal terms while practicing correct footwork and defensive measures—just not defence at all cost. Doing this drill will help you be able to relax when being punched, rather than flinching against it—which is what gets you hurt!
  • Play "Flinch"—Okay, so this may not be the same as what you played with your schoolmates where you receive a sock in the arm if you flinch, though it is similar in concept. For this drill, you need two people to stand facing each other, with one of them throwing a series of punches within inches of the other's face without making contact. The puncher should start slowly, and then gradually amp it up until full punching speed is achieved, and the object is for the receiver to learn not to flinch.
  • Throw Balls at Each Other—Starting with perhaps a beach ball and working up to a volleyball or light medicine ball, have one participant stand with arms to sides while the other pops them in the face with the ball. This teaches you to stay calm, not flinch, and get used to being tapped in the face by a gloved fist—which, by the way, won't be too different from being popped with a light medicine ball or volleyball.

Remember too that you'll have headgear and mouth guard on!


Yes, there are other means to getting you used to being hit, although these simple drills should fit the bill nicely. The main thing is, you need to learn to relax, stay calm, and not allow the shock of a tap to the face make you apprehensive, or to flinch.

By learning to take a punch, you will not only be safer and less prone to injury, but you will have more fun and be more competitive as well.

Think of it in terms of a eucalyptus tree vs a willow tree during a windstorm. The eucalyptus which stands firm and braces against the wind is far more likely to be blown over than the willow tree which stays relaxed and "goes with the flow" of the wind. The same can be said of taking a punch, which hurts more and can cause more damage when you brace against it (remember Mohammed Ali using his "Rope-a-dope" method to absorb George Foreman's punches in the "Rumble in the Jungle?").

However, by learning to overcome your fear of being hit, you can take those punches like they're a smooch on the cheek! 

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Fitness Boxing Exercises (That You Can Do Anywhere) to Improve Your Boxing Skills

So, having tried fitness boxing, you're now hooked—and good for you! It is, after all, one of the fastest-growing workouts there are.

And no wonder, what with the intense, fat-burning exercises and routines designed to build strength and endurance like you never thought you had.

Plus, there is the fun, social atmosphere of fitness boxing, just to make it that much better!

In fact, you love it so much that you probably think about it even while you're not in the gym.

After all, wasn't that you sneaking in a little shadow-boxing session at the office the other day when you THOUGHT no one was looking?

Heh heh, nothing wrong with that!

Here are 6 workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home, while you're on vacation, or even when you THINK no one is watching at the office.

6 Fitness Boxing Exercises You can do Anywhere

1.  Jumping Rope

You want to know the true beauty of this exercise? You don't even need a rope!   Sure, there is nothing wrong with keeping a jump rope on hand for a quick aerobic burst to your day, although you can get the same benefit from jumping in place while miming the circular motion of swinging the rope with your hands—is that beautifully simple, or what?   But, isn't there some way to intensify things?   Yup, there sure is!  

In fact, try grabbing a couple of tins of soup and hold them while miming the rope swing. This will act in the same manner as using a weighted jump rope and will give you some additional fat-burning resistance, along with helping build muscle strength in your shoulders, arms, and wrists.

​2.  Plank your core

One of the most simple, effective and low impact exercises you can do is the plank—although notice no mention of planks being low-intensity?

That is because when performed correctly, planking can bring on the burn like no other exercise--and do so quickly.  
Plus, it is one of the best exercises there are for building a solid core.
And—unlike sit-ups or crunches—planks have minimal risk of back injury.

Even better, they can be done anywhere there is room to be prone on your hands and toes, such as in your work cubicle where you think no one can see you!  And, by doing a basic plank for 30 seconds or longer each day, you can develop a rock-solid core, which is the kind of platform you need for optimum athletic strength, balance, and posture.

By adding any of the many variations--such as side plank, one hand/one leg plank, or even adding a bench or exercise ball for inverted planks--you can achieve a full-core workout which can't be matched.
And, you can do it anywhere!

​3.  Shadow Box

Want to polish your punching form and keep it sharp for the gym? Shadow boxing will not only do that, but with proper intensity, can also burn as much as 400 calories per hour.  Not bad for a little dancing around and jabbing which can be done anywhere, is it?

Plus, there is no limit to how you can structure your shadow boxing rounds. Work on pure function, form and footwork? No problem—call your combos and go through them as many times as you need to get them perfect.

Or, just have fun with it!   Use your imagination to fight a fierce foe who only you can see. Add calorie-burning squats as you duck and uppercut using your quads and glutes, while remembering to tighten your core with each punch you absorb from your "opponent."

Want to REALLY toughen it up?  
Try some wrist and ankle weights, which are a convenient way to add calorie-burning resistance to your session. Just remember not to use the heaviest ones you can. Rather, use ones which still allow you to maintain correct form, so that you don't end up altering your mechanics or resorting to bad habits. 

​4.  Sprawl

AKA "boxer's burpees," sprawl is a move used in the ring to avoid being taken down by an opponent. It involves dropping to the mat in a wide-legged plank position, before pushing back up into a fighter's stance and ready to go again, and then repeated.

Either do sets of these as part of a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout or mix them in with your shadow boxing sessions for some added intensity, core strength, and aerobic punch.

​5.  Mountain Climber

One more move to add to your home workout is the mountain climber, which begins from a plank position, but has you moving your legs like a sprinter trying to get out of imaginary starting blocks.
And, as with planks, there are many variations which you can do to create a full-core workout, such as army mountain climbers (AKA crawling), cross-body mountain climbers, or slow-motion mountain climbers.

You can do these on their own or mix them into your shadow boxing sessions for an intense aerobic and full body workout.

​6. Plyo push-ups

Sure, you can do regular push-ups for a convenient and effective upper body and core-strength workout.  Or, you can take it up a notch with plyo push-ups, which are like regular push-ups, just with a "wheelie" at the top.

Basically, you perform a regular push-up, except you explode hard on the way back up to the point that your hands come off the floor. Think of it as though you are trying to throw yourself from a prone position to an upright standing position using only your arms.

And, you can combine these with mountain climbers, sprawls and shadow boxing, for strength, endurance and conditioning like you used to think you needed the gym for. 

Stay Fit and Improve Your Boxing Skills

Polish your form, burn fat, and build your endurance.Come into our class with fitness and confidence to take it to the next level.

It just so happens that nobody is watching right now, so duck down into your cubicle for a quick round of planks and mountain climbers, and perhaps even some shadow boxing, just to make sure the juices are flowing.

In fact, so what if anyone is watching? Just do it!

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Things You Should Know Before You Take Your First Boxing Class

 So, you have concluded that the benefits fitness boxing workouts are just too good to pass up.

And, that means it is time to sign up for your first class!

But what should you know before taking the plunge? Do you need to start at a certain fitness level, is there any special equipment you need to invest in, and which gym should you join?

And, will fitness boxing turn you into the next Mike Tyson, or just a phenomenally fit person?

Ah yes, so many questions to answer—here is what you need to know before you sign up for your first fitness boxing class!

What to Wear

So, let's start with what to wear to the boxing gym. No, it isn't a fashion show, and more than anything, you just need something which is comfortable, and moves well with you. Clothing should be loose fitting, or flexible enough not to be constricting, since you will be doing a LOT of moving around.

Shorts are preferred over leggings or sweats, although either will work just fine—just remember, you're going to be warm from all the exertion, so dress accordingly!

In fact, speaking of being warm—you will be sweating, so a hat or headband is always a good measure against sweat in your eye.

And, you should lean towards athletic fabrics designed to wick away moisture. Remember that while comfortable, a material such as cotton will retain about 7% of its weight in moisture, as opposed to a mere .04% for polyester blends which are designed to remove moisture from your skin, so perhaps just this once, skipping the natural fibre may be a good thing.

One other thing to remember is, once you are suited up and are ready to go with your boxing gloves on, adjusting your clothing may be nearly impossible. You are, after all, wearing the dexterous equivalent of oven mitts, so be sure that what you put on won't need buttons adjusted, waste bands hiked-up, or laces laced.

Most of the time, the same clothing you would wear for a regular gym workout, or even your running clothes, will work fine—although remember that you will be indoors and working hard, so it is better not to overdress. Even if you are a bit chilly at first, don't worry about it. Better a bit cold to start, then to be miserably hot during your workout!

Court shoes, basketball sneakers, or other athletic shoes which allow good lateral movement are preferable. However, avoid wearing sandals or running shoes, which work fine for moving in a straight line, though not so great moving side-to-side.

Remember—you are just getting started. No need to go all-in on special clothing just yet—just find out what works best and is most comfortable for you, and you can add more specialized clothing down the road as you get more and more addicted to your workouts!

Special Equipment You'll Need

Now, guess what special equipment you need to invest in before your first class?

How about none!

In fact, any reputable boxing gym which caters to newbies will have loaner equipment to get started—although remember, you likely aren't the first wearer, so be prepared for a bit of fragrance (eau de locker room?) wafting from some of the older loaner equipment.

No, this isn't anything to worry about, since a good gym will keep things sanitary, although it will likely encourage you to invest in your own gear once you are up and running, and have determined fitness boxing to be your workout of choice.

However, one thing it is good to bring with you is your own water bottle (you must draw the line somewhere on loaner equipment!), since you need to stay hydrated, and the exertion will have you sweating.

And, be sure your water bottle is a squeeze bottle, or has a bite valve, since unscrewing a bottle cap can be impossible—or at least, very frustrating--while wearing boxing gloves.  A filtered water fountain is also available on-premises.  

Finally, be sure to arrive at least 20-minutes early to your first class to get to know your instructor and have them answer any questions you may have, as well as to familiarize yourself with the equipment you will be using.

How About the Workout? 

Now we get to the good part—the workout! No, you won't need to be in any prerequisite shape just to keep up, since good instructors and trainers understand that not everyone is capable of the same level of output.

But, do remember that your entire body is about to be worked as hard or harder than it ever has been, and that this isn't going to be just "one" workout; but rather, multiple training routines for various functions.

Oh that, and you're probably going to make a few friends along the way, since fitness boxing tends to be a rather social activity!

However, you will likely begin with warmups, such as jumping rope, stretching or some easy running on the treadmill, before moving on to punching, strength training and cardio.

Since the sport of boxing requires a strong combination of cardiovascular fitness and pure strength, expect your workouts to include High Intensity Strength Training (HIIT), which entails a period of intense effort, followed by a longer period of active recovery, and then repeated.

And of course, the results will be fat-burn like you never dreamed possible, a solid, firm core, and discovering muscles you didn't even know you had.

In fact, you're about to get into the best shape of your life—and, you'll look and feel like it!

Plus, your eye-hand coordination will develop with punching work--although please don't think black eyes or fat lips will be part of it.

Not unless you want to step into the ring, anyway.

However, even if you do have ambitions of becoming an actual fighter, first thing is first, and you need to learn technique and control—not to mention building the endurance to last in the ring.

But, since you are likely just looking to become fit, lean and healthy, rather than to beat anyone up, you are in the right place, since few other workouts hold a candle to what fitness boxing can do for you.

Enjoy your workout!

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Fitness Boxing: Which Gloves to Wear for your Workouts?

Along with being perhaps the most complete and beneficial workout there is, fitness boxing is also one of the most fun workouts around - which is why you're hooked!

However, now that you are taking part in boxing workouts on a regular basis, you realize that the loaner-gloves which your gym offers you may be more "aromatic" than useful, so perhaps it is time to invest in your own personal pair.

But which gloves should you get? Are they all the same? And if they aren't all the same, do you need more than one pair for different workouts?

No worries! Choosing a quality pair of boxing gloves for your workouts isn't hard, and is in fact much easier than continuing to use gloves which smell like old gym socks - even if countless others before you have found them to be adequate!

 Why do You Need Gloves?

Sure, you probably won't be sparring during your fitness boxing workouts, so why do you need protective gloves anyway?

Well, it is not about minimizing the damage you inflict upon an opponent, so much as it is keeping you from having bruised, bloodied knuckles - or worse.

In fact, not only can performing punching workouts without gloves hurt, it can also break hands and fingers if you're not careful, so unless you are made of iron or some other indestructible material, you need gloves.

 What Kinds of Gloves Are There?

There are three basic kinds of gloves for boxing workouts - only one of which you will need, unless you plan on sparring or boxing:

  • Bag gloves - For use only when working out on heavy bags and other specialty bags, since they have harder, denser foam than do sparring or training gloves. They don't have enough padding to protect an opponent, so any use other than hand protection while working out on bags is to be avoided.
  • Sparring gloves - Sparring gloves are padded to protect an opponent, and are usually rated in ounces, with the heavier weights providing more padding and increased safety for those being hit. They also typically avoid any loop-and-hook fastening systems, and instead use laces or have a wrap-around closure to prevent cuts and abrasions for sparring partners.
  • Training gloves - While technically designed with enough padding to be used as either a sparring or a bag-work glove, a single pair of training gloves should not be used for both purposes. This is because hitting bags tends to roughen the punching surface of the glove, which can lead to abrasions for an opponent; and the gloves will likewise break down faster during bag work, making them harder and less safe for use when sparring. However, they can be used for either one or the other - just not both.

Other things to consider are glove weight and closure system.

Heavier gloves can be worn to increase workout effort, and you may even want to consider using a couple of different weights of gloves for different workout intensities.

Closure systems which use lacing are best for those who have someone available to help tie them, and a wrap-around Velcro enclosure should be considered if you prefer gloves which can be put on and taken off without the aid of a partner.

How Should They Fit?

When shopping for gloves, think of it as you would be shopping for shoes - as in, try them all on, and see which ones fit the best. Be sure the fit is snug without being overly tight and restrictive, and make sure they feel completely comfortable, and nothing is pinching or cutting off circulation in your hands or wrists.

Another aspect to be considered is that you will likely be wrapping your hands and wrists when working out, which takes up some room in the gloves, much in the same manner as thick socks make a difference in how shoes fit.

Ideally, you should try on gloves with your hands wrapped. However, going from store-to-store with either wrapped hands, or wrapping and re-wrapping them every time you go into a new store is not the easiest way to shop. Instead try holding something roughly the size of a roll of quarters in your hand to take up the extra slack when trying gloves on, which will help to ensure an accurate fit.

About Wrapping

Sure, you can do punching work without wrapping, although doing so is HIGHLY discouraged (as in, don't do it!). This is because loose gloves and supple wrists lead to injuries, period.

And, while there are hand wrap gloves available which are quicker and more convenient to put on than fully wrapping your hands every time, they tend to not be as effective as wrapping, and it is advised that you simply spend the time to wrap and be safe. It isn't hard to do, and once you get it down, it will be part of your fitness boxing routine which you will go through whenever there is punching involved.

You can go here for more information on wrapping, as well as to see a "how to" for proper wrapping technique.

However, by ensuring that the bones in your hands and wrists are secured and not moving around independent of each other when punching, sprains and broken bones can be avoided.

What About Glove Material—Does it Matter?

When it comes to what material is best for your gloves, there are basically two options: vinyl, or leather. While there are variations on this, such as gloves with breathable nylon palms, you really need not look any further than either of these two materials.

And, speaking of "breathable nylon palms," it is best to avoid these types of "build a better mousetrap" bells and whistles, and just stick with tradition. For one thing, they're boxing gloves, not sports cars—use what works, and no need to reinvent the wheel!

That said, leather is usually worth any extra cost over vinyl, as it is suppler, breaths better, and wears better than vinyl. Vinyl also has an annoying tendency to split with fatigue, which not only means needing to replace them (and so much for the savings over leather!), but it can also endanger sparring partners due to the risk of cuts and abrasions.

Leather also has a nicer smell, which can be kept fresh by storing your new gloves with cedar chip-filled socks in them.

Happy fitness boxing!

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Why Fitness Boxing for Women is Right for You

While their chosen professions are seemingly worlds apart, female boxing legend Laila Ali and Victoria Secret supermodel Adriana Lima have a lot in common. They are both stunningly beautiful, elegantly poised, healthy, and graceful—and both partake in women's fitness boxing workouts.

But fitness boxing? Really? But isn't that at the—ahem—more macho end of things?

While yes, it may be true that the sport of boxing is quite manly, training to box is something which can be enjoyed by all—be they prize-fighter, fashion model, housewife, college student, or anyone else in search of the best workout.

Let's take Laila Ali and her 24 – 0 professional fight record, for instance. Yes, she is retired from boxing, and is now a mother, culinary enthusiast, children's advocate, fitness expert, actor, and CEO of her beauty and lifestyle brand. She is also glowingly attractive, and "professional model" could easily make her list of accomplishments, were she so inclined.

However, her healthy aura may have more to do with the fitness boxing workouts she continues to utilize than it does the tasty, healthy foods she is so enthusiastic in preparing.

In fact, the same boxing workouts which helped her become one of the most ferociously competitive fighters in history--male or female--also helps her maintain her stunning grace and beauty today. 

 It's About Fitness—and Lifestyle

So, let's look at why fitness boxing should be on your radar as one of the most physically complete and beneficial workout there are.

And no, don't worry—you won't need to be beaten up or beat up others to take advantage of what is not just a great way to stay fit, but for a growing number of women, a lifestyle.

But Why Fitness Boxing for Women?

It is the need for fighters to train for a combination of strength, speed, and endurance which makes fitness boxing for women the ultimate workout.

And, the combination of bag work, shadow boxing, core strength workouts and LOTS of calorie-torching HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) not only delivers a full body workout second to none, but is never dull or one-dimensional.

So much so, in fact, that you may just forget about other workouts and the oh-so-boring rut they always seem to end up in!

An Age-Old Workout

Fitness boxing can hardly be called the latest fad workout, despite its current rise in popularity. This is because boxing has been an Olympic sport since around 688 BC, and likely goes back even further to whenever someone added rules to fist-fighting and dubbed it a "sport."

And likewise, the need to train to be stronger, faster and have more endurance than one's opponent has been around for nearly as long.

However, the benefits of women's fitness boxing may have been hidden under boxing's macho exterior up to this point. Fortunately, this has changed, due not only to women such as Laila Ali bringing legitimacy to the sport of women's boxing, but to women such as Victoria Secret model Adriana Lima's use of women's fitness boxing as part of her daily regiment to stay at the top of the modelling profession.

And you too can take advantage of the wealth of benefits women's fitness boxing can provide, including:

  • Calorie and Fat Burn – The nature of HIIT is for short periods of intense effort to be followed by slightly longer periods of active recovery. This is arguably the fastest way to burn fat, since going "into the red" during the intense parts utilizes fast twitch (anaerobic) muscles, while backing off for the active recovery parts allows slow twitch (aerobic) muscles to continue firing. This creates a constant workload for your energy system, which requires extra fuel (i.e. FAT) to keep up with. The truly amazing part? Your body continues to burn extra calories for hours after your workout—even as you sit before the telly, relaxing with your favourite beverage. Really now, how does it get any better than that?
  • Mental Wellbeing – Let's face it—we all have stress, which is just one of the driving forces behind our need to exercise. Not only does fitness boxing provide those oh-so-relaxing post-workout endorphins, it is also a fantastic way to get rid of any pent-up aggressions which the rat-race may be providing. After all, what could be more satisfying than pretending that a punching bag is that jerk who cut in front of you in the coffee line this morning? No worries, stress-level back to nil—done!
  • Rock Hard Abs – Boxing requires a wicked-strong core, which women's fitness boxing workouts will deliver (with some effort on your part, of course). Since boxers need to constantly rotate their hips, duck, lunge, and take punches, core strength is a big key to their success, making it a major focus in boxing workouts.
  • Increased Confidence – You know those endorphins which make tolerating your overly-talkative seat-mate on the bus ride home so much easier? They are also a source of cool, calm confidence—the kind which removes the panic from any situation. Add to this improved posture from a strong core, and the healthy, attractive glow from increased fitness, and there is no stopping you. You go girl!
  • It's NEVER Boring – One of the hardest parts of maintaining a fitness routine is in keeping the ROUTINE from becoming a RUT. Yes, we all know the feeling of NEEDING to work out, as opposed to WANTING to work out, and by signing up at a women's fitness boxing gym, you will no longer have the dull experience of watching the timer on the treadmill slowly creep along. Since women's fitness boxing workouts are made up of many different exercises, there is always something fresh to captivate your attention.

No, fitness boxing workouts are not just for supermodels and pro athletes, and you too can enjoy the many benefits they provide. By making women's fitness boxing workouts part of your lifestyle, you can be whatever you want to be—especially if you want to be tremendously fit, healthy, and beautiful.

See you at the gym!

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