When most people think of boxing workouts, they think of the new chain gyms that offer group classes and fancy lights, illuminating a ring that’s only there for effect. For me, someone that grew up watching the early Rocky movies, boxing is much simpler. With the COVID age, one of the things that we’ve lost and has had the most significant impact on our lives is our inability to go to our local gyms and blow off steam. Mental health is such a massive issue, especially with everything going on today, and it gets overlooked. Mostly because of the inaccessibility of many of the gyms that we once used regularly. What’s great about boxing workouts, real boxing workouts, is that very little is needed to replicate what you’d be doing at a gym. Boxers are some of the best all-around athletes out there, and it’s not because of fancy equipment. You can get in the best shape of your life with just a jump rope, light dumbbells, some 16 oz gloves, and a 40 lb. heavy bag.
Everything in boxing is repetitive, based on rounds. This workout will mimic that. The only difference will be how many rounds you put in and how long they last. For now, though, let’s go through the different disciplines.
A jump rope could quite possibly be the single most effective exercise tool there is. You can burn more calories doing a 20-minute jump rope circuit than you could run a 10k. Because your entire body is moving, it’s also a fantastic warm-up exercise that we’ll utilize in these routines. Most people aren’t proficient with jumping rope, but it doesn’t matter. If the routine calls for a 2 minute round with the jump rope, you might do ten jumps and rest briefly before starting back up. Repeat this cycle for 2 minutes. As time goes on, your jumping will improve.
Light Dumbbells (2 lbs)
Following the jump rope will be shadowboxing. One of the best and most effective ways to shadow box is to use light weights. The weights give you an additional strength benefit. They force you to slow your punches down and concentrate on throwing them correctly.
16 oz Gloves
Protecting your hands should be a focus if you want to continue boxing for any real length of time. You can buy cheap gloves at most sporting goods stores. You can also buy cheap running shoes vs. spending a little more on shoes that fit you better and last longer. Gloves are the same so keep this in mind. 16 oz gloves are the size that boxers train and spar in. With 16 oz gloves, you can be less concurred about using hand wraps. The gloves should provide plenty of protection.
You can spend a lot of money on a fancy bag, but you don’t need to—a good 40 lb. heavy bag might cost $50. However, you can often find them used for much less. Whether it’s canvas or leather, it doesn’t matter. A 40 lb. bag is a 40 lb. bag. You don’t need anything heavier.
None of this means anything if you don’t learn to punch correctly. For this routine, we’re going to use three basic punches. Jab, cross, and hook. Everything in boxing is based on these three punches. If you throw them correctly, not only can you knock out your boredom but your neighbor too. From the correct boxing position (assuming you’re right-handed. If left, then do the opposite) keep your back foot heel slightly lifted off the ground. Being on the ball of your back foot gives you more mobility. Your front foot should be planted on the ground but try to keep more weight towards the front of your foot. Your feet should be spread shoulder-width or a few inches wider with your left foot leading, your hands up by your face, and your elbows in tight to your body. This is the position you’ll throw the following punches from.
While in a fighting stance, the lead fist is thrown straight ahead while turning to the inside and the arm is fully extended from the side of the torso. This punch involves a quick turn of the torso rotating with the extended arm.
While keeping your left hand up by your face, you’ll extend your right arm while twisting your fist to the inside. Your weight will transfer from your back foot to your lead foot as your back foot is pivoting and your torso rotates with the punch.
You’ll throw the hook with your lead hand slightly lower than your eyes. Your palms should be facing each other, not your body. As your torso twists from left to right, you’ll extend your arm, lift your left shoulder to your chin to keep your chin protected, and create a 90-degree angle at the elbow joint. The bottom of your fist should be parallel with the ground and your knuckles perpendicular to your body.
Beginners should do 2-3 rounds of 1 minute on and 2 minutes off. Intermediates should do 3-4 rounds of 2 minutes on and 1 minute off. Advanced athletes can do five rounds of 3 minutes on and 30 seconds off and no additional rest periods between exercises. If you’re at 30 seconds rest, it’ll always be a 30-second rest throughout the entire routine.
Start with the jump rope. As I stated above, it’s a great warm-up. It engages your entire body, especially your shoulders.
Move to shadowbox with the weights. The combinations you’ll work with will be the following – Jab/Jab/Cross, then jab/jab/cross/hook, then jab/jab/cross/hook/cross. Then start over. Rest only long enough to get back into your boxing position following each combination. Be careful not to hyperextend your arms.
Using the same combination series, move to your heavy bag. Throw your combination, take a step towards your lead foot, and throw it again. Don’t step and rotate until you finish your combination. Finish the same way you started, with the jump rope.
Suppose you can knock this out three days a week. In that case, you’ll make significant gains in your fitness level, surpassing your expectations as well as improving other areas of your programming. Boxing is the most adaptable discipline to other sports, meaning it benefits all other sports. The better boxer you become, the better runner/biker/hockey player/ etc. you’ll become. Plus, you can do it all for less than $125. What you can’t put a price on is how great you’ll feel after spending a long workout hitting something. The endorphins created by participating in an aggressive activity like boxing will help taper some of that stress and depression we’re all dealing with. That should be motivation enough.