So you've decided that you want to take up boxing but don't know where to start? Well, look no further. While a lot depends on how serious you are with your training and how far you want to take it, this guide is designed to be a good start.
For example, are you only looking for a fun workout? Or are you trying to actually get in the ring and fight, maybe even turn professional? Regardless of what your goals are, here's a great boxing program that you can scale and modify, regardless of what your goals are.
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This outline at least lets you get your sweat on, increase your metabolism, ease some frustration and stress and teach you how to throw some punches.
A Boxing Warm-Up
Start by jumping rope for 10 to 15 minutes. This will improve your footwork, coordination and help with the build-up of lactic acid in the shoulders. As you get better at jumping rope, try mixing up the speed and intensity by learning how to do double-unders or short bursts of "sprints" on the rope.
The double-end bag is a great way to work your precision, timing and defense. It eases you in to your workout while simultaneously working on one of the hardest things as a boxer — hitting a moving target! In the beginning, it might be frustrating but don't give up. It'll get easier with time. Try to do three rounds of three minutes each.
The Formidable Heavy Bag
This is the meat and potatoes of boxing: Every champion you have watched on TV has done countless rounds on the heavy bag. If you're just looking for just a workout, hitting the bag will suffice. You can hit it as hard as you want and as many times as you want and it doesn't mind!
However, the problem with just hitting the bag if you're looking to become a fighter is that it doesn't hit back. Thus, defense doesn't get practiced, nor does timing really. Remember that practice makes permanent and not perfect, as many think. Only perfect practice makes perfect!
Start off by doing three rounds of three minutes. As your stamina and strength improve, start increasing the number of rounds and try to hit the bag with a purpose. For example, work specific combinations, mix speed and power, and include footwork.
Read more: The 8 Best Cardio Kickboxing Moves
Hit the Speed Bag
The speed bag is a great way to end a training session, to get that final burn-out in the shoulders. It will help improve your speed in the punches (as the name entails) but more than anything, it'll help with your timing and coordination.
Just as with the double-end bag, don't get frustrated; you will get better the more you practice. Who knows, maybe one day you will get good enough to turn your eyes to the camera and smile, just like Floyd Mayweather does!
Try getting three rounds of three minutes. In the beginning, it will be more about being able to hit the bag more than twice in a row, but as you improve, it's going to become a great way to work those arms and shoulders and you'll feel the burn!
Add Shadow Boxing
When first starting off, people are often very self-conscious about shadow boxing, feeling stupid. But don't. If you're at a "real" boxing gym, no one is going to care. You're not the first beginner to walk through the doors and you certainly won't be the last.
Additionally, every person in that gym has themselves been a beginner at some point. Soon, it'll get addicting and you'll catch yourself working your combinations in the shower, while you are on the phone or even in the break room at work! When shadow boxing, make sure you work proper technique and try to put punches together.
Do at least three rounds of three minutes, but you can do as many as you want. This can also substitute jump roping on some days or even be added to it as part of the warm-up. You can honestly do as many rounds as you want. There are some professionals out there who shadow box 10 to 12 rounds.
Work in Additional Training
The aforementioned training program can be repeated as often as five times a week. However, if you're serious about your boxing training, you may also want to incorporate the following.
Do one or two days of mitt work (with a coach holding pads). A pad holder can improve your technique and let you know what you do wrong. It'll also improve your precision and defense, since the coach can hit you back with the pads when you drop your hands.
If you're looking to fight, sparring is a must. You need to learn to hit a real target, as well as take punches, because, unfortunately, there's no way around that.
However, even if you're not looking to become the next Mike Tyson, sparring is a great way to get to apply what you've been practicing. Just make sure that you have appropriate gear — headgear, a mouthpiece, a cup and 14- to 16-ounce boxing gloves.
Even more importantly, make sure that your sparring partner has similar-size boxing gloves too! In addition, make sure that you communicate what level of sparring you are committed to doing. A good sparring partner should be able to go as slow and light as 10 to 20 percent speed and power.
Now get out there and hit something!
What Do YOU Think?
Do you include boxing in your fitness regimen? How serious are you about it? Are you just looking for a good sweat or do you want to compete and fight? What does your boxing routine look like right now? Do you structure your workouts like the above? Share your thoughts in the comments below.