Boxing for a Full Body Workout
By now, you probably already know that improving fitness through healthy ways is one of the main goals here on Flex It Pink. Working out, combined with a nutritious diet, is the most sustainable way of getting and staying in shape. One exercise that always gets the job done— and is also plenty of fun— is boxing.
We can all agree that getting your dream body takes commitment; but not all of us have time to do a cardio and a strengthening session separately. Thankfully, boxing is a combination of both types of exercises, so a few sessions a week will definitely have you covered.
Most people think that boxing only targets the arms because, well, we punch with our arms. We definitely use arm strength when we throw a punch but Boxing Ready explains that there’s more to boxing mechanics than that. Most of the power actually comes from the ground up. You’ll normally hear coaches telling you not to punch with your arms but with your entire body. Here’s why.
Our calves help move the feet around and footwork is an important element in boxing. Pro boxer Claressa Shields says that despite her height disadvantage against taller athletes, she makes up for it with speed and force. Shields, the first American woman to win an Olympic gold in boxing, mentions that footwork is one of the main things that has vastly improved her skills; as such, we can improve our own ability, even just for fitness, if we focus on our feet first.
The force then travels up to the quads and hamstrings which move the body towards the direction of the punch. When a fighter dodges an opponent’s strike, they move around with their legs and not their arms. This move is called bobbing and does not just require the head to evade the hit, but mostly the legs to move up or down.
From the legs, the power is carried on by the glutes, which are the muscles that form the bum. They are also the biggest muscles of the body, so just imagine how much strength they can generate. (And how much is lost by sitting around all day!) Punching requires a twist from the hips up and the glutes play a huge role in doing that. Since the spine is involved in the rotation, the core— made up of the abs and most of the back muscles— needs to be strong and powerful. This is the reason boxers have such toned abs, specifically obliques, or the muscles at the sides of the torso. Of course, they also have enviable shoulders and arms because punching naturally engages the upper body.
Half of what makes boxing so great, apart from the overall strengthening, is the aerobic training. Britain’s Nicola Adams states that the sport is a cardiovascular exercise which can help protect against disease. If you make boxing a regular part of your routine, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting coronary heart disease, diabetes, or strokes. Of course, Nicola Adams is a woman who knows a thing or two about boxing; before our own Claressa Shields, Sports news site Coral documented how The Smiling Assassin was the first woman to claim an Olympic gold in boxing in the same year as Shields. The two boxers from across the pond are actually comparable as both women were able to retain their title four years later in the 2016 Olympic Games.
We may not be able to compete like Claressa or Nicola, but we can certainly aim to punch harder and better. Boxing is an all-around exercise that can bring you one step closer to your goal of being stronger, healthier and happier. So, slip on a pair of gloves and knock ‘em out!
Go get em' babes!
Guest FIP babe writer Alexa Nadine