4 Unexpected Reasons You Get the Best Workout at a Boxing Gym

Friday, March 4, 2016

Movies have created some memorable images of boxing gyms as places where trainers scream at street-tough boxers, and the stripped-down equipment is usually a lone punching bag and a jump rope. While those places certainly exist, more modern gyms have tons of equipment and resources that make boxing more appealing — and trainers that guide instead of bully.

Best of all, you can get what boxers have had for decades: a truly killer workout.

When it comes to results, boxing can be surprisingly effective at boosting you to a whole new level, often much faster than you might think. Here are four reasons to consider putting the gloves on:

1. Get a Full-Body Workout

Although a great deal of attention is paid to a boxer's punches, those don't originate in the arms. Instead, a boxer needs to have a solid core, a strong stance, flexible hip muscles, and powerhouse shoulders. The whole body fuels the energy and precision that go into jabs, uppercuts, hooks and other punches. But the movements coming from those actions do contribute to some pretty toned arms, especially the biceps and triceps. All of that leads to the advantages that come with a full-body workout, including working every muscle group and reducing risk of injuries.

2. Build Cardio Endurance

For professional boxers, each round in the ring is three minutes. Amateurs get two minutes per round. That's not much time to score points, which is why they build their endurance by doing high-intensity interval training, including sprints and speed rounds. There are advantages to the slow-and-steady style of cardio — if you're training for a marathon, for example — but in boxing, it's all about maximum effort and active recovery. That one-two punch of aerobic and anaerobic workout can incinerate calories, build strength, and boost metabolism. Getting those results in a group class can also push you even harder to get the benefits.

3. Find Better Balance

It's not only classes like yoga and Pilates that will increase your flexibility and balance. Boxing has a surprising amount of both, since boxers need to stay upright in the ring. To do that, they need to anticipate an opponent's potential punches, and then duck and weave out of the way. Not having an amazing sense of balance could put them at a disadvantage during a fight. So, when you take a boxing class, get ready to incorporate those elements into your workout.

4. Embrace Stress Relief

You don't have to picture a terrible boss or a rude ex when you punch a heavy bag (although that's pretty satisfying) to get a sense of relief from everyday frustrations and stress in a boxing class. The adrenaline that's released as you punch creates a response throughout your entire body, causing a rush of happiness hormones called endorphins. You can literally punch your way to a better mood as well as better fitness.

Boxing yields plenty of expected results — more strength, discipline, and muscle tone — but it's the unexpected benefits that keep so many people coming back to this highly effective workout option.

If you want to try some classes that give you boxing skills and benefits, check out our timetable here.