Names like the great Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Joe Frazier are sure to grab your attention, and quite rightly so. With all the hype and stardom (and controversy in many cases) surrounding these names, one often starts to wonder, “If they can do it, why can’t I”?
Well, no one ever said you can’t. More often than not, you’re the biggest obstacle in your own way! If you are motivated and committed enough to put in all the time and effort required to train and prepare yourself, no one can stop you – only if you’re moving in the right direction.
Your boxing journey not begins when you step into the boxing ring for the first time, but it begins when you finally make up your mind to take this hard way, putting on your workout pants, gearing up and looking for the best training instructor.
So, why not first roundup on the key benefits of boxing workouts, whether or not you plan to pursue boxing professionally.
Key Benefits of Boxing Workouts
i) Toughens You Up
Boxing, of all sports, is not for the faint of hearts. Even countless boxing lovers are too scared to think about stepping a foot in the boxing ring due to the potential physical harms involved. However, there’s no dearth of those who rose above such fears. How? Training like nuts, in short!
Regular training enables a person to increase their pain threshold even beyond their wildest dreams. Witnessing such improvements overtime in them helps reinstate faith in their abilities and they start believing in themselves, not to mention practically improving their ability to defend themselves against anyone with rogue intentions.
In essence, it doesn’t take long before they are able to develop the physical and mental toughness required to step into the ring, hold their nerves, hold their ground and confront the challenges that seemed like unconquerable mountains to them not long ago.
ii) Offers a Challenging Full Body Workout
Almost no one related to the fitness industry can deny the fact that boxing offers you one of the most well-rounded workouts imaginable, targeting almost all the major muscle groups within your body.
Not only will your whole upper body crumble under the stress of those intensive boxing drills, but they also engage every single inch of your core area and lower body, requiring every last breath of your stamina and every last drop of your sweat.
Boxing combines the best of total-body strength workout and cardio, enabling you to reap the benefits of a killer workout in a significantly shorter period of time.
iii) Helps Relieve Stress
Every now and then, we come across a study signifying the role of physical activities in lowering stress and preventing depression and anxiety, but the fact of the matter is that boxing somehow does the job far better than most other sports.
Experts swear by its efficacy at providing a rush of endorphins (the “feel-good” chemicals of human body). It directs our attention on the present moment, keeping us away from ruminating into the past or future, shielding us against any source of distraction while instilling a sense of achievement.
iv) Helps Sculpt Muscles and Maintain Healthy Weight
There’s no denying the fact that almost everyone admires lean healthy muscles. In this case, a natural outcome of the tough physical activities constituting the boxing workouts. Not only does it offer your body a blasting cardio session, it also tones your body from head to toe, strengthening your upper as well as the lower body.
In fact, boxing is more about maintaining a healthy body weight rather than mere muscle building. It works out towards appropriate body composition, fostering the growth of lean muscle mass alongside fat burning.
v) Improves Hand Eye Coordination
Another great aspect of boxing (or even plain boxing workouts) is the remarkable improvement in hand-eye coordination. You need to have a highly developed coordination all through your movement cycle – starting from anticipating your opponent’s footwork to observing his body movement, being able to dodge away his jab and throw him one instead ……. more importantly, in the blink of an eye.
Initially, it seems like next to impossible for majority of people, but with the passage of time and a ton of practice, your mind-muscle connection starts to improve like crazy, helping you develop that much needed hand-eye coordination that’s characteristic to boxing.
9 Essentials of Boxing Equipment to Commence Your Boxing Journey
Getting back to the point, the following are considered to be the absolute essentials that can help you commence your boxing journey.
i) Hand wraps
If boxing is what you’re passionate about, taking care of your hands surely sounds like the very first thing to consider. God knows why, but throwing a random combo of punches while passing by a heavy bag seems so enticing that often seasoned boxers are unable to resist the temptation. It can turn out to be quite detrimental for your knuckles or even wrist.
So, make sure you’ve wrapped your hands as securely as possible. On a lighter note, hand wraps are just like socks, you better have your own pair. Wearing someone else’s socks with their sweat and odor looks and feels quite gross, doesn’t it?
Though you can make do with a single pair of hand wraps, but it’s still better to have a couple of extra ones depending upon how frequently you train.
ii) Boxing Gloves
You might be ok with lending a pair of boxing gloves if you are training in a gym, but eventually you will realize that you can’t go on without your own pair for a long time. You cannot battle your enemy with a hired gun forever, can you?
Boxing gloves are like your assault rifle, the bare-minimum you need to have when stepping into a boxing ring. So, if you don’t want to be grossed out with other guys’ sweat, get your own pair of boxing gloves.
It’s better to get a pair of 16oz training gloves if you want or afford only a single pair. You can make a choice between 12oz and 14oz if you often like to get into some speed work on heavy bag or double-end bag (most experts recommend always using 16oz for sparring).
For people weighing less than 120lbs (smaller guys, women and kids), it’s ok to train with a 14oz pair or even a 12oz one, but if you’re a regular sized guy, the 16oz standard best suits you.
In all honesty, it’s quite absurd to see people trying to fight or train without a mouthguard, because there can be some serious consequences of doing so.
Let’s consider a few unwelcoming scenarios of not using a well-fitted mouth guard into sparring or fighting. There’s a possibility of losing a tooth (or even ‘teeth’) if only one punch lands sharply on one tooth rather than its impact force being dispersed evenly all through your jaw.
Perhaps, it’s a bit too farfetched an idea; so, let’s consider a relatively ‘less frightening’ possibility, i.e. just injuring your jaw, as your lower jaw swings freely, not really secured against the upper jaw. This can leave you weak-chinned for a considerable amount of time, which is not something you would want soon after starting your boxing venture (or any other time).
Oh, and there’s another one as well; biting through your own tongue. Can you imagine the amount of pain and discomfort following through? Well, keep that in mind and get your hands on a good quality mouthguard as soon as possible.
iv) Boxing Headgear
How would you like to go on a bumpy ride without the seat belt? Not very much if you like to make a sane decision. So, why would you like to step into a sparring or fighting session without an appropriate headgear guarding your head and face against all those jabs aiming to leave their mark over your face?
Again, you might continue using the community gym’s headgear for some time, but at one point or the other, the thought of being grossed out by other people’s sweat and hair will win over the temptation of saving a few bucks. It’s always better sooner than later!
v) Boxing Shoes
You cannot think of participating in an off-road biking competition without mounting a pair of the right kind of dirt-biking tires on those rims. Why? Because you are well aware that regular tread won’t give you the maximum grip and support needed to move through that dirt track.
Same holds true for boxing shoes. They are designed and constructed especially to offer the desired power and mobility you need to compete in the ring or train in the gym (or even home-gym). The special light-weight material used in manufacturing them gives you the best combination of the grip and agility needed to outpace or match your opponent’s brisk movements.
Even seeing people throw jabs at each other makes you realize that all those crosses and hooks depend on pivoting your body rightly to generate that extra power in landing an impactful punch. It comes right through the base of your legs, which can be very demanding on the ankles.
And yes, that’s the reason you see almost all boxing shoes with high-top designs (though low-top boxing shoes also exist and are used by some boxers), because they make sure that your ankles get ample support through such quick and demanding movements.
Moreover, breathability also becomes an important factor for boxing shoes. It’s no secret that a strenuous activity like boxing can lead to excessive sweating, which becomes a bit too much for non-breathable shoes. That’s why boxing shoes are especially designed with ‘breathable nylon windows’ in the upper portion, offering your feet the much needed extra breath of air and minimizing your feet’s chances of slipping within the shoe.
vi) Skipping Rope – Jump Rope
Get ready to be surprised if you are among those considering skipping over a rope a child’s play (‘little girls’ play’ may sound even better), because if you enter into a boxing gym, your ears will catch that ‘whipping’ sound more than the thudding sound being produced by the punching bags.
Why is it so? Well, because boxers know more than anyone else that jumping over a rope is one of the best ways to improve footwork and help you warm up twice as fast as running and that too, without putting much strain on your knees. So, make sure you own a skipping rope if you want to be called a boxer.
vii) Heavy Bag
Heavy bag is the kind of boxing equipment that’s needed even more as your experience level starts going up in the game. It not only inspires newbies to work out on their punching form, punching power, punching speed and endurance, but also lures in the pros to experiment more with all of these aspects and step up their game even more.
There’s almost nothing that a reliable heavy bag isn’t ready to take up for you. You can use any type of styles and techniques in playing around with a heavy bag. Whether it’s side-to-side movements with pinging long- range shots, or throwing crunching mid and short-range hooks and uppercuts, a heavy bag will take all those laughingly for you.
viii) Speed Bag
Filled with air, a speed bag is another type of punching bag that hangs from above, anchored to a small platform positioned parallel to the ground. It is considered as one of the best ways a fighter can learn keeping his/her hands up. Moreover, it helps hone your hand-eye coordination. A must-have for anyone seriously looking to improve their pugilistic skills.
ix) Double-end Bag
Also known commonly as the “floor-to-ceiling bag”, a double-end bag is one that’s connected to the floor at one end and to the ceiling at the other by means of an elastic cord. They may vary in size and shape, offering you to adjust the rebound elasticity. If you want to improve the timing, rhythm and accuracy of your punches, there’s nothing better than a double-end bag.
So, feeling ready to give boxing a try? The list above will help you equip yourself with essential items needed for boxing. Follow it, and more than that, follow your heart all the way to get what you want.