"Boxing never lies. Getting into a ring is a very reliable way to know what you're worth."
- Joel Dicker, The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair, 2012.
You should prepare for the day of the fight, where you risk a blow to the head and a quick KO. Let's take a look how.
Learning the art of boxing is long and labor intensive. It requires hard training to develop gifts which are often unevenly distributed in nature.
In addition to jogging, cardio, some weight lifting, and a healthy diet, boxing is based on various exercises you can do alone, in pairs, or with a group.
Though shadowboxing allows you to learn how to remember the moves you will need in the ring, it is a somewhat confusing and tiring practice. Indeed, nothing beats striking a good punching bag!
Punching bags are not reserved only for boxers: many men, and even women, have a go at one to de-stress after a hard day or work week.
Let's see what different exercises can help us with Western Boxing, Muay Thai or kick boxing.
Practice Your Uppercut on The Punching Bag
If you are already interested in boxing, you know the drill. You know that boxers don't go smashing their fists at the wall. The different types of bags in boxing are much more useful in that regard.
However, the reality is more complex than one might think: one can learn to counter uppercuts and hooks in different ways and through a multitude of exercises.
Here are three of them: by hitting the punching bag, the punching ball and the speed bag
In any case, it is advisable to warm up and to wear your gloves, pads and headgear before you get to work!
Check for good online boxing classes on Superprof.
Warm your legs up - it's hardly ever about the strength of your fists. You have to quickly move around the bag all the while working your guard, precision and footwork.
Special attention must be paid to the breath. If you manage it in the right way, it will allow you to continue your exercise for a long time and you will progress faster than ever.
The advantage of these methods is that they are within the reach of everyone for a small fee. You can also turn your home into a boxing gym!
These exercises are not only reserved for the "noble art" but Thai boxing, Savate boxing, American boxing, full-contact boxing, Taekwondo, and other kinds of martial arts and kickboxing.
NB: if you are having trouble choosing between any of these boxing training tools, keep in mind that they are all essential to the amateur boxer who wishes to improve.
Everything You Need to Know about the Punch Bag!
No contest. The punching bag is THE iconic workout accessory for the boxer who will one day become a world champion (why not dream a little?)...
It is a massive bag, firmly suspended from above (via chains or solid straps), and looks like a big cylinder covered with leather or imitation leather/vinyl (synthetic leather). Its size (length and height) is variable. It must be chosen according to your own measurements or better yet those of your opponent!
The padding is made with heavy elements such as sand and seeds... The use of boxing gloves is essential and - even with our gloves on - we can easily hurt ourselves and dislocate our wrist if we don't warm up beforehand, for example.
The punching bag is unbeatable as a tool for boxing. It will help you develop great muscle strength.
This type of boxing exercise also promotes endurance, because as you will quickly notice, hitting something this heavy and this many times is not as easy as the pros make it out to be.
You should not put your entire weight into your punches, otherwise you can really hurt yourself. But finding a happy medium is not always easy...
Before an outburst of jabs and uppercuts, make sure you take the time to warm up!
As far as the wallet is concerned, you can count on spending from 30 to 170 pounds depending on the size, the quality and how you plan on fixing the bag to your ceiling. If you spend 50 pounds or more, you will have a serious bag. This should be your objective considering how much time you will spend with the punching bag.
Some cylindrical punching bags can replace the punching ball. They are fixed at the bottom with a rod and are usually stuffed with a lighter material. They are generally marketed for females.
If you are willing to pay a lot more, there are "punch bag-mannequins" which allow you to feel like you are in a real fight in a real ring!
Boxing and the Speedball
We tend to talk about the "punching ball" without really knowing what it is useful for.
Nobody really pictures the right thing when they hear of the "speedball".
Smaller in size, the target is significantly lighter and moves around much more than the punching bag itself.
This balloon is usually sewn with leather and filled with a soft material such as synthetic foam or cotton. If it tears, it is possible to sew it back up again.
By hitting it, the punching ball will swing around and come flying back at you. It is essentially a moving target and will help you find the right timing.
The speed ball is perfect to test your techniques, dexterity, and speed. Work on your aiming and your breath at the same time (exhale when you punch). You will definitely feel the cardio!
You can get a nice bag for around 30 pounds, but you should expect to spend 50 to 80 for a top quality speedbag.
You may have heard coaches say: "hit the bag, do not push against it."
Make sure your hand follows through with your movement.
A quick punch means letting your fist return to your side right after the movement.
If you are interested in learning to box on your own, the speedbag is an indispensable companion!
Keep Working on Your Footwork!
Light footwork is needed, but unfortunately many beginners develop terrible footwork because of too much time spent on the heavy bag.
Here are some things you should consider to avoid developing bad habits when it comes to your footwork.
Keep a shoulder wide stance and stay strong.
Do not lean on the bag or hug it or try to push it as if you were fighting a person. Clinching is a bad habit to develop at this stage!
Hacking the bag (especially for beginners) will lead to having bad balance later on in the ring. It is essential that novice fighters learn to maintain their balance in order to attack and defend as needed.
Do not cross your legs, but try to visualize your footwork as a feeling of walking rather than a feeling of jumping.
The common mistake for beginners is to jump everywhere. When you jump you are literally off the ground and thus cannot move in any one direction. This is a bad place to be.
This habit leads to a bad awareness of distance, wasted energy, and a less entrenched position which limits your body movements.
Using Your Stance to Your Advantage
The speedbag and the heavy bag are basically at the opposite ends of the spectrum from each other.
The center of the speedbag should be level with your chin.
The speedbag is around 30 to 50 pounds.
The speed bag is probably the single most important investment a boxer who is just beginning can make.
The main goal for the fighter is to coordinate his eye and hand movements. This may make you a little dizzy at first!
Make sure to strike at the right speed. Brute force will be of no help here. You have to tame your reflexes.
You will also be able to work on your balance and put it to the test. You will increase your stability and you will feel more stable on the ground. These are skills that will be essential when you are fighting against a challenger in the boxing ring, because the slightest clumsy step will usually lead to a KO.
The above training is something you can do at home, as well as learn from videos.
Before You Step Into the Ring or the Gym, Do Some Homework!
Learning the main punches, counters, and combos of boxing begins with some theoretical studying. Once you are at a certain level you can delve into shadowboxing.
After that, it will be time to confront the punching bag: hooks, jabs, and uppercuts are how the boxing champions win their games.
When you are reading about boxing, never forget that if you lose your focus for a moment, you could suffer a KO. The most important thing in this sport is to keep up a great technique, and to remember that practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice does!
It is often forgotten, but boxing is both parts bodybuilding and cardio.
See how you could get ready for your next fight!