We’ve seen many a Rocky montage: the boxer, down on his luck, needs a win in the upcoming fight. Cue inspirational music and skipping sequences, early morning runs, sweat pelting on the floor. We get it: training to get fit in the ring is hard work. But so is actual boxing.
Anyone who’s ever had just one minute at the bag will tell you: one minute feels like a century when you’re punching. But why is that? Why is merely swinging your arms at a bag such a tough workout? Of course, a tough workout that gets your heart beating as fast as a boxing workout will create a shredded body. Here’s exactly why the sport is such a great shortcut to Shred Town.
You’re Constantly Moving
And not just in the way you’d be moving when you’re playing soccer, or even in a CrossFit WOD. The boxing movement involves 2-3 minutes of movement, with micro-breaks in-between, mimicking a round in a bout. One study notes that boxing leaves your heart rate at its maximum threshold, between 160 – 200 beats per minute.
But the movement largely involves your arms constantly swinging in a controlled way, while your feet are pivoting, stepping and jumping quickly. The result? Recruitment of all major muscles, including your arms. It’s cardio-meets-balance, a fat-burning recipe for success.
Punching Is A Special Fat-Burner
In traditional exercise, most movements involving the upper body include one-directional, controlled movement. Boxing throws this out the window with a combination of punches, each requiring dynamic support from other muscles, including your lats, abs (obvs), obliques and butt. Plus, research shows that no amount of bench presses can prepare you to deliver a more powerful punch.
Kickboxing Adds Even More Heft
Your lower body is already involved in boxing. With the addition of kicks that require power to move the bag, prepare to add quads, glute and calf stretches into your post-workout routine. You’ll experience an even higher heart rate and feel winded faster.
You’ll Probably Come Back For More
One Australian study found that in two groups of participants, one which took part in walking and the other who did boxing, the latter group attended more sessions and had a lower drop-out rate than the walking group. That’s likely got something to do with the varied nature of boxing workout. Plus, it’s fun.
Science Says It’s Great
Another study in the Journal of Physical Education and Sport found that boxing more efficiently develops physical fitness than traditional exercises where participants engaged in sports like basketball, volleyball or running. The boxing group were able to better perform physical tests like 30m sprints, push-ups and standing broad jumps.
Wanna give it a go? Virgin Active now has three boxing-focused classes that you can access in-person or online. Get in on the action here.