If you're looking for a workout that pushes you to new limits and challenges you to keep on fighting, nothing compares with boxing. The "sweet science" is one of the most mentally and physically demanding sports around. Its leading practitioners are among the most disciplined, well-conditioned athletes on earth. This is not a coincidence. The incredibly demanding nature of boxing training helps prepare fighters for battle. So if you want to improve your speed, endurance, and strength all at the same time, pugilism is your best bet.
What To Look For
Although the number has declined since the heyday of the sport in the 1970s, it is still possible to find good boxing gyms or clubs in your area. Because the popularity of the combat training has grown among fitness buffs, these may not be the kind of gyms you remember from the Rocky movies. Instead of sweaty gloves and spit buckets, they may have spotless floors and air conditioning since many health clubs now offer boxing fitness programs or classes. Although these establishments are not completely geared toward the sport, it's probably a bad idea to write them off completely. You can, after all, get legitimate boxing training at any gym that has experienced instructors and the right equipment.
Because throwing punches is an integral part of every major combat sport, most instructors will know the basics of pugilism. But if the teacher was trained as a martial artist or an MMA fighter, he or she may not be aware of the training methods and techniques that set boxers apart when it comes to punching. As such, we strongly recommend that you look for an instructor who has a background in the sport, either as a fighter or as a coach. Because both coaches and athletes must be members of USA Boxing to take part in a competition, you might ask prospective instructors about their membership. If the instructor doesn't know what you're talking about, it probably means he or she is exaggerating when it comes to their experience.
Whether you go to boxing gyms or health clubs, there are a few standard pieces of equipment that boxers simply cannot do without. They include:
- Heavy bag: To develop punching power
- Speed bag: To develop speed and timing
- Double-end bag: To develop fast combination punching
- Free weights: To strengthen and condition certain muscles
- Timer: To keep track of rounds
- Jump rope: To develop rhythm
- Ring: For sparring
As you can see, all of the equipment helps boxers master the basics of the sport. For obvious reasons, it is highly unlikely that you would find a ring in a health club. However, if you are not interested in competition, it's still possible to train as a boxer without one.
Whether you seek out boxing gyms or go to a local health club, you can practice the sport so as long as you have a good instructor and the right equipment.