Lately, the fitness industry has seen a boom in boxing based workouts. This can be seen by the increasingly high number of PT’s doing pad work with their clients, as well as all the new trends such as ‘box-fit’ and ‘boxercise’.
However, within this post I plan to tell you why this is both a positive and a negative, for not only the clients of personal trainers but the overall reputation and image of boxing and the fitness industry itself.
Why Use Boxing for Fitness Anyway?
As it goes, boxing and other combat sports, are one of the best ways to get fit, to burn fat and to get in shape. This is due to the sheer intensity and volume that goes into boxing training and the amount of muscles it requires to be used in order to throw punches and combinations.
With that being said, you won’t get the most “bang for your buck” if you’re not doing it properly and unfortunately, a lot of personal trainers cannot use boxing properly or safely.
Too many PT’s will buy a cheap pair of pads and gloves and proceed to hold pads for their clients and teach them improper techniques just as a means of introducing more variety into their clients’ training sessions.
Proper technique is essential in minimising the risk of injury, just as it is with an exercise like a weighted squat or a clean and press. Just because you may not be lifting a heavy weight there is no less importance on the fundamentals and the basic techniques.
Technique Breakdown – The ‘Boxer’
If you do want to include boxing into your workouts – purely from a fitness stand point – then you must learn the basic and fundamental techniques. These include: stance, footwork and punches.
If you’re boxing just for fitness and to do some bag and padwork, it’s not essential to learn defences per se, as you will not be doing any form of sparring.
The better you can get your technique, the more you’re going to get out from each session as you can fully activate all the muscles required and you’ll be able to throw with more speed, power and intensity, giving you a far better workout than if the basics are all over the place!
Technique Breakdown – The ‘Pad Man/Woman’
As well as technique for the client/’boxer’ there needs to be basic technique with the padman/woman/coach.
The padman should be in a well balanced boxing stance, with the hands placed fairly close together as if to accurately represent the width of a persons head. They should also meet the ‘boxers’ punches with a subtle amount of resistance and should not by any means be meeting the clients punches in excess.
All too often now we see the pad person doing just as much; if not more movement than the boxer actually throwing the punches. Anyone can sound like they’re hitting hard on the pads if their coach is meeting the shot half way through the punch being thrown!
Not only does padwork likes this give someone a false sense of confidence, but it also makes them far more likely to pick up and injury due to the force of impact on the hand or wrist.
A good trainer, coach or PT will allow the person throwing the punches to extend their shots to the best possible position.
‘Box N Burn’
Tony Jeffries, the 2008 Olypmic Bronze Medallist and former professional boxer, has the right idea when it comes to boxing and boxing for fitness. After following him for the last few years I’ve really come to appreciate how he has picked up on the issue that I have been discussing in this post.
Jeffries has two award winning boxing gym’s in Santa Monica and Brentwood in California, both called ‘Box N Burn’.
Although a lot of the people who work at Box N Burn in the USA, are or have been competitive fighters at some point, he has also hired several trainers who have no or very little previous experience in boxing.
As a result of teaching his instructors how to teach and use boxing properly for fitness, he has ensured that all boxing that takes place within his gyms is of a certain; high standard.
This adherence to technique, helps to uphold the reputation of the sport, give quality training and results to all of the clients and also reduces the chances of injury through bad technique and negligence. That’s some great work on Tony and his team’s behalf!
You can find the Box N Burn website here (https://www.boxnburn.com)
Upholding a Reputation
Real boxing is a hard sport. It’s not something to be taken lightly and nor is it something to be played with. Boxing for fitness on the other hand is something that can be done for fun as well as for better muscular, cardiovascular and mental health.
However, it is important to make a distinction between the two, otherwise almost everyone that does exercise will claim to be a boxer!
A responsible PT should not advertise themselves as a boxing coach or trainer unless they have the right experience and are actually teaching you to box in a competitive situation, whether that be just for sparring, for interclubs, shows or championship contests.
Boxing for Fitness – Is It a Good or a Bad Thing?
Overall, the concept of boxing for fitness is fantastic!
As I have mentioned earlier on in this post, boxing itself is a tremendous way of getting in shape, learning a new skill, boosting your confidence and helping improve your mental health. However, the downside is the fact that it is easily diluted by PT’s who don’t understand the fundementals.
If you want to do boxing for fitness, then I would always advocate going to a boxing gym to do so. That way you get proper instruction, genuine boxing workouts and you will get a real feel of what boxing is actually all about.
If you train with a personal trainer and they want to use boxing in your workouts, but they have no experience in doing it themselves, then I would proceed with caution.
I would also refer them back to this article so that they can learn about the importance of having at least a basic knowledge and understanding of boxing.
To Sum It All Up
In summary, boxing for fitness is both good and bad.
It provides people with a fun way of working out and it can provide one hell of a workout!
Although, the reputation of boxing itself may have suffered slightly due to the amount of people out there who claim to be coaches and trainers, yet have no real experience or education in the sport.
Boxing for fitness is great, if used properly, so just choose wisely as to who you train with when it comes to boxing!
Credit: Steve Fox & Andre Daltrey for all their pad work sessions and advice in the past. Also, credit to all the other trainers I have watched and been around who I’ve learnt from watching them hold the pads.
Visit www.ardtrainingcamp.co.uk to find out more about Boxing training & the place where Tyler has learnt and is still learning his trade.