If you’ve ever seen a boxing match, then you’d know that boxers are renowned for their strength, fast feet and explosive boxing moves. They have to be strong and powerful in their punches, quick on their feet as well as have great endurance to last their bout in the ring—all whilst ensuring that they don’t get knocked out in the process.
So, if you’re looking for a way to build your strength and increase your cardio, boxing is a surefire way to do so. This doesn’t mean that it’s time to put on the gloves and throw you into the ring. It just means that you can emulate some boxing moves in your own workout and see similar strength and conditioning results in yourself.
First, we need to show you how to properly stand in boxing. Now, that key is to keep moving, however, you should hold your body correctly to optimize your punches and get the most power and strength behind your moves.
While each person’s stance will differ slightly depending on their body and size, there are basic guidelines that are good to follow.
Place your feet approximately shoulder-width apart with your left foot in front if you’re right-handed and vice versa for left-handers, in a staggered stance. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that the toe in your front foot is aligned with the heel of your back foot. Keep them at a good distance apart from each other so that you’ll still be able to maintain your balance if you were to shift your weight from foot to foot. Bend your knees slightly.
Turn your shoulder slightly in so that your stomach isn’t exposed to your opponent. Bring your fists up to your chin with your knuckles facing the sky. Bring your chin down and your elbows in.
Master these 4 boxing moves
There are 4 main punches in boxing that we’ll take you through. Not only will they make you feel powerful, but they’ll also give you that strength and cardio workout that you want.
The jab is described as a straight punch. After assuming your boxing stance, step forward with your front foot. Simultaneously, quickly throw a punch with your leading hand in a straight direction. Your foot and arm should move at the same time and your fist should be palms facing down.
As soon as you’ve extended your arm with your jab, bring it back to your face, keeping your guard up.
Get into your boxing stance. Step forward with your leading foot. As you do so, rotate your body, extending your rear hand straight towards your opponent. Lift your back heel off the ground but ensure your toes remain in contact with the floor. For maximum power, fully extend your arm.
Your chest should be facing your opponent as you’re executing the cross. Likewise with the jab, quickly bring your fist back to your face to keep guard.
The hook can be thrown with your lead (front) side and back side but we will be talking about the lead hook.
Bend your arms so that it is approximately at a 90-degree angle. Your forearm should also be parallel to the ground in this horizontal punch. Pivot your front foot and rotate the body (your knee and shoulders) inwards.
As soon as your punch connects, snap right back to your guard stance.
The uppercut is an upward punch. While it can be performed with both sides, we are going to focus on the rear uppercut, that is, with your back arm.
To perform it, assume your boxing stance. Bend your knees even more to lower your body and drop your rear shoulder down while keeping your front arm up, to keep guard. Slightly shift your weight to your back foot. Rotate your hips inwards with your shoulders, hips, legs and feet all moving in this same direction.
Keep your elbows down and palms facing up as you loop the arm up to make contact. Again, immediately bring your hand back to your face.
How to use those boxing moves
Now you’ve mastered these 4 boxing moves, don’t just jump straight in with a punching bag. First, give shadow boxing a go. Shadow boxing is when you box or fight an imaginary opponent in front of you. When done properly,you can fit in a killer cardio and strength workout while also honing your form, including your feet and head movements. Not to mention, it’ll work your core and balance.
When shadow boxing, always keep your guard up—the way you’d do if faced with a real opponent. Then, freestyle your way through a combination of the four punches above. And, don’t forget to practice your ducks.
Heavy bag session
As you grow more comfortable with those boxing moves, another way to improve your strength and cardio with them is to start incorporating a heavy punching bag.
A heavy bag workout means that you’ll work on your core stability, balance and coordination. You’ll have to remain light on your feet and constantly on the move whilst working out your upper body. The heavy bag also assists with strength as it provides resistance for you to work against. It’s a force that you need to engage with your shoulders, arms, back and fists.
As it is heavy, it can really build upon the power behind your punches as well and by giving it your all during a session with the punching bag, your endurance will be given a workout. It’s definitely tiring so if you want to improve your strength and cardio, don your boxing gloves.
An extra strength and cardio boxing tip—Jump rope
Boxers can’t stand in one place—that’s a recipe for disaster. They have to constantly be on the move, ready to react and respond to their opponent. To assist with their quick-as-lightning feet movements, you’ll hardly ever see a boxer who doesn’t jump rope.
All you need is a skipping rope, a spacious place with high ceilings and you’re ready to go. It’ll challenge your endurance, not to mention, help to build your lower body, particularly in your calves, hamstrings and glutes. You’ll also build really great hand-eye coordination.
The first thing to do is to ensure that the rope is at a good size for your height. As a starting guide, stand in the middle of the rope with your two feet together. Hold the handles up until they meet your armpits. If the rope is too long, then cut the rope and re-attached the handle (if your rope allows this) or tie some knots until it’s at the desired length.
How to hold the rope
Like with any exercise, good form will assist in ensuring that you’re optimizing your workout. A common mistake is using too much of your arms to spin the rope, which can tire them out very easily. There should be minimal movement in your shoulders and elbows as you should be flicking the rope through the wrists.
How to jump
When you jump, it’s easy to resort to tucking your feet behind you. Keep your legs mostly straight, with a slight bend in your knees when you land to keep you from landing hard. Build your confidence in jumping rope normally before learning new tricks like criss-cross, double unders and more.
Put on those gloves
Boxers are renowned for their light feet, quick yet powerful movements and long-lasting endurance. With these basic 4 boxing moves, you can emulate their workouts and build your strength and improve your cardio. For an extra workout, add in some jump rope, like as a warm up, to really see great results with your strength and cardio.