As far as elite-level athletes go, boxers and MMA fighters are some of the toughest, most adaptable in the world. When you go toe-to-toe with another combatant in the ring, you have to know how to respond to whatever might come at you. That means hours upon hours of training to gain power, speed, endurance, and strength, all of which leads to a level of fitness unlike any other: Boxing Fitness.
Therefore, we suggest that all kinds of athletes—and anyone looking for a great way to get more out of their exercise routines—should invest in some quality boxing gear and take on some boxing training to pump up their fitness performance. Here’s how you can get started with boxing strictly as exercise.
The Benefits of Boxing Fitness
There’s a reason why pro athletes in many sports, including basketballer LeBron James and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, turn to boxing as part of their training regimens. Their sports have nothing to do with punch combinations, but they still turn to the bag. Why? It all has to do with the many measurable benefits of boxing. According to Harvard Medical School, regularly training like a prize-fighter can help you improve balance, help posture, strengthen your core and upper body, improve endurance, and strengthen hand-eye coordination.
There are also a few unexpected benefits to boxing that you may not have considered. Some studies suggest that fitness boxing can be used as a type of sports therapy to fight certain mood disorders and make you feel happier. In fact, one London-based psychologist believes that boxing could be used to fight anxiety and depression, noting that the sport provides participants with a big rush of endorphins and a sense of achievement. Anecdotally, many people note that boxing can improve sleep and boost confidence and self-esteem, especially in young fighters.
Boxing fitness training is such a powerful means of self-improvement, that our friends at Rock Steady Boxing use boxing fitness training to help patients fight off and manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
Is Boxing Right for You?
With all of these benefits and bonuses, why not give it a go? By and large, fitness boxing is relatively universal and easily-tailored to athletes at all levels. With that in mind, however, people with certain bone and muscle conditions—including osteoporosis and arthritis—should take extra caution when entering the ring and may want to avoid contact altogether. Those with physical limitations and heart conditions should always check with a physician before getting started with any aerobic exercise.
Getting Started with Boxing Fitness
If you’re ready to try fitness boxing to boost your physical and mental health, always look to the professionals. Classes, group training sessions, and one-on-one instructions are the very best way to learn to box the right way without risking injury. Here are some ways to go about it:
- Try a Kickboxing Class — Before you invest in any beginner boxing gear, start with a kickboxing class. Kickboxing is an awesome entry-level activity for soon-to-be boxers. It will help you determine whether or not you enjoy punching and kicking as a form exercise. Many non-boxing gyms offer kickboxing classes for first-timers.
- Seek Out a Boxing Gym — Better yet, go to a beginner’s class at a boxing gym or club. These sport-specific facilities are ideal for people new to the sport. They offer everything you need to get started—from gloves to conditioning equipment—along with top-tier trainers who know how to work with beginners. Start with a group class. If it clicks for you, then look to private training.
- Learn Boxing Drills — Boxing isn’t all about combat. In fact, you can soak up some of the best boxing benefits without ever putting on a pair of boxing gloves. Go online to find out the training regimens boxers use to get in such great shape. Many fighters prep for the ring with serious cardio like jump roping and plyometrics.
- Watch YouTube Videos — YouTube and other platforms can be amazing places to find resources to ready you for your first class or training session. Watch elite athletes and trainers demonstrate boxing fundamentals. Then you will have a basic idea of what you’re going to be doing before your first training session starts.
Taking It Slow
As someone pursuing boxing fitness, you have a major advantage against competition-level fighters: There’s no rush to meet any specific milestones. You can set your own pace based on your fitness goals. You will undoubtedly want to push yourself to be the very best you can be. But you can trust yourself and take it slow as you begin a new activity. Ease your way into it, and you’ll find that boxing can help boost your physical fortitude while encouraging friendly competition and fun.