Boxing for fitness is on the rise these days and a lot of people are finding it more accessible. This is great because it’s an excellent form of cardio and strength conditioning. At All-City Athletics, we feel whether you have ambitions to step into the ring or not, that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice some basic fundamental technique! Below you will find boxing fitness tips to keep you looking legit ;)
DISCLAIMER: We also note that there are many styles and flares to the sweet science of boxing but these are some basics taught to us by our coaches over the years that we think are universal for taking boxing fitness classes.
FOOTWORK AND STANCE
Good footwork is about developing balance and proper weight transfer. Start hip distance apart and take a step back with your dominant leg, then keep a 45-degree angle with both feet. Try to stay on the balls of your feet and be sure to not fall over your front knee. Shifting your weight back and forth will help you develop the weight transfer needed to generate more power in your punches. If your feet line up you are at the risk of being off balance.
FOOTWORK AND STANCE II
The head should not be in front of the lead foot. If it is, then presumably you are either leaning too far forward and have too much weight on your front leg or perhaps you are standing too tall because your stance is too narrow.
The lead leg should be “firm, but without being locked.” Most people would just say, “Keep your knees bent,” however a more useful description would be to emphasize the extent to which you bend your lead leg. After all, if you bend your front leg too much, you will end up with too much of your weight forward and your head over your front foot thus making you off balance and not in a good position to punch.
TURNING YOUR FIST OVER WHEN YOU PUNCH
You may have heard the term “turn your punches over,” the difference between throwing a punch like a slap and hitting the target with your top two knuckles. Every punch is supported by the forearm! This is why the elbow always follows the line of the fist. Try throwing any punch without the elbow (and forearm) behind it and you will feel that it’s far less powerful and may even hurt your wrist. This is why your wrist hurts when you throw punches with a bent wrist (where the forearm is not directly behind the punch). Plus if you ever step in the ring, you can sneak your punch through an opponent’s guard easier and generate more power over a short distance!
KEEP ONE HAND AT YOUR FACE WHILE THE OTHER ONE IS PUNCHING
DUH! But it's harder then it looks. Anyone can throw a punch, but it’s bringing it back to your face that takes time for the muscles to develop. Most people when they are new get excited and want to smash the bag or pads. Slow it down and try to focus on bringing your hands back to your chin to protect your face after each punch or combo! Remember—its hit and don’t get hit. Keep the mitts up. Even if it’s just for fitness, nothing looks worse then dropping your hands every 5 seconds!
HITTING THE BAG FOREHEAD HEIGHT
Not only is it more realistic but also it’s better conditioning for your shoulders to be punching face level or a bit higher than your own height. The heavy bag is a target, so be conscious when you are hitting it. Aiming for spots intentionally or thoughtfully can lead to better skill development and a more engaging workout mentally.
EXHALE ON THOSE PUNCHES!
This seems obvious to remember to breath, but most people learning to box hold their breath while they punch. It might feel counterintuitive at first but the more relaxed you are while punching the more fluid you are. Don’t get tense. Relax. We like to say: “Be water…a waterfall will knock you on your ass!” The moment you hold your breath tension builds in your shoulders and your punches get thrown from your traps rather then your shoulder, lats, mid back and legs. Breathing brings in oxygen to your muscles, which helps to fuel them during those long rounds!
YORK brand ambassadors Anna Farrant and Jordan Bowers are coaches, personal trainers and co-founders of All-City Athletics, a boutique boxing fitness brand in Vancouver that offers group classes, one-on-one training and special events. To learn more about them or take a class, ck them out:
All photography credited to Kezia Nathe.