Handwraps and boxing gloves are worn to protect the hands so that more forceful punches can be thrown without damaging the muscles and joints in the hand. Mouthguards are worn to protect the teeth and gums. Basic punches include jab, cross, uppercut, and hook. Defensive moves include blocking, bobbing, slipping, cover-up, clinching and pulling away. Workouts usually include a 5-10 minute warm-up, conditioning for speed, tone, and boxing-specific muscles, technique drills, hitting drills, and a cool-down. Strength training, plyometrics, and medicine ball training are commonly used for overall conditioning. Combined with specific exercises, strength training intends to increase starting speed, acceleration and power. In a match, two players of similar weight engage in a series of 1-3 minute rounds. Victory is achieved in three different ways: 1) if an opponent is knocked down and can't get up within ten seconds, 2) if the opponent is deemed too injured to continue (Technical Knockout, or TKO), and 3) by the referee's decision or judges' scorecard if neither opponent is knocked down.
Boxing Workouts for Women
You don't have to be a professional boxer to box. Health clubs and boxing gyms all over the country now offer boxing classes for exercise, and many of the participants are women. Boxing will improve your stamina, muscle tone, coordination and self-confidence. You don't need any gear, but wearing gloves will add a little weight to your arms and make the workout more intense. You can shadowbox without a heavy bag or an opponent. To shadow box, take a stance with your weight forward on the balls of your feet, left foot slightly forward with your abs engaged, and fists positioned close to your cheekbones. Practice the jab, a quick punch with a snap to it, and the uppercut, a punch where your palm is facing you and your fist is facing the ceiling. Keep your elbows and knees bent to prevent injury to your joints. Aim for three 3-4 minute rounds with a minute rest break between, making sure you do a warm-up (cycling, jumping rope, or jogging) before and cool-down with stretch afterwards. If you have a heavy bag, use it to get more power behind your punch. Practice combos like jab, uppercut, jab, then uppercut, jab, uppercut, alternating between starting with your right hand then your left.
Cutting Weight for Weigh-ins
In order to reach the desired weight before weigh-ins, boxers often drastically cut their fluids and their food in order to lose enough weight quickly. They immediately start drinking and eating again after weigh-ins in order to gain as much strength and energy before the fight as possible. It is dangerous and should not be done without the supervision of a physician or expert. Dehydrating the body deprives it of valuable fluids which are essential for healthy bodily functions. Many boxers believe that cutting weight allows them to fight in a lower weight class with an advantage over a naturally lighter opponent. They eliminate sodium from their diet, cut carbohydrate intake and do intense cardio exercise, then in the 24 hours before the weigh-ins, they may quit drinking water and even exercise in saunas in order to drop the last 5 pounds. Amateurs weigh in on the day of the fight, but professionals weigh in the night before. Some boxers believe in maintaining their competition weight year-round and thus enter the ring fully hydrated, trained, and strong without risking injury from dehydration and low energy.
Kickboxing: The Tough Workout
Kickboxing uses martial arts style kicking with the punches from boxing to create an intense workout and sport. It is sometimes confused with Muay Thai or Thai boxing. In Thai boxing, kicks below the belt are allowed, as are strikes with the elbows and knees. Kickboxing is a standing sport and does not continue once an opponent has reached the ground. Rules vary depending on European, Japanese, or American kickboxing, but generally speaking, opponents are allowed to hit each other with fists and feet above the hip.