Tag: circuit training

Think outside the box: You don’t always need the gym to get fit!

boxing park workout

Now I know we’ve covered a lot of exercises and means of getting fit and strong whilst in the gym, but it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to be in a gym to get fit. Make use of everything around you! you don’t need a treadmill to go for a run, you don’t need a lifting frame to do pull ups, you don’t need dumbbells to get bigger arms, get creative and change things up! you can go for a run round the park or some fields to change up the scenery to stop the same mirror getting boring, if you want to do pull ups find a metal frame or sturdy looking tree although with that make sure it’s sturdy enough to hold your weight, we don’t want you out of training due to silly injuries! Similarly to that, if you want to train some arms or core but it’s a great day out, why not go down the park and do a short workout on some grass with some press ups, plank and sit ups. To make this even better if you can find a sturdy low level object such as a seat of park bench, why not throw some sitting dips in the works and give your triceps a work out too! If you’re interested in doing some park workouts check out this video, and many more like it which delve into more depth on how to structure and plan a killer, beneficial park workout! You  don’t need to be in the gym to do a beneficial workout, it’s not being close to a gym isn’t a good enough excuse, what’s yours?

 

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The Bag is your friend, but treat it like your enemy.

 

punch-bag

When it comes to training, obviously practice makes perfect. You won’t become a champ overnight. When it comes to training you may not necessarily always have someone there with you to do pad work or to guide you. Because of this the bag is your best friend. He’s an inanimate object, you can’t hurt him, you can’t tire him and you can’t break his will. because of this the bag is one of your best training partners! I love the bag because you can’t get personal, you can unleash all your aggression and it isn’t going to hold a grudge against you where as you can’t unleash a relentless barrage against a light sparring partner. In addition to this, you can practice near enough any punch on a bad and due to there being so many different types you can master any technique. As well as the punch bag you can also put in some work on a speed bag. For those who do not know what this is it’s the small tear drop shaped bag that hangs from the side of a wall and you rapidly punch it in circular motions to help increase your hand speed.

To better show how to use a speed bag here is a clip of World champion ex-boxer Floyd Mayweather Demonstrating how to use one to increase hand speed: 

Back and shoulders: turn your back into a shield.

Shoulder-Workout

Just like all muscle groups, it’s important not to forget these muscle groups when you hit the gym! The back and shoulders can be a lot more complex as it consists of many more muscles than other areas of the body. For instance, you have the trapezius muscles which are your shoulders, and numerous back muscles such as the rear, exterior, and posterior deltoids, as well as Latissimus dorsi, much better known as the lats. Other than your legs your back is the most important muscle group located on the body, how else do you stand up straight?

With your shoulders there are numerous exercises you can do. I recommend starting off with some mobilisation warm ups, to do this simply rotate your arms in circular motions, holding with arms just past shoulder length if you have one at hand, this will warm up the lats and traps allowing more mobilisation and less chances of injury. The first shoulder exercise to do would be the shoulder press, you can do this in three ways, either with a cable machine, free weights or a bar. Simply sit or stand and push up with the weights level with your shoulders and push upwards so that your arms are just below fully extended. It is important not to fully extend your arms as serious damage can be inflicted if your elbows give under the stress and flex the wrong way, lets just say you wont be lifting again for a very long time if that happens! After this move onto shoulder raises, these are arguably the easiest exercise for the shoulders. It’s in the name, you hold two weights that are suited to your strength, hold them by your side keeping your arms straight, and then raise your shoulder. Once raised hold the position for a few seconds, then lower back down to the starting position, do this until you fail and are unable to push out another rep. Try to get at least 5 sets of 7 reps before you fail, if not, consider lowering weight. After this you can do arm raises. These will use the same and surrounding muscles as the shoulder raise, buy due to the different nature of the movement you will need a substantially lower weight. Start by holding the weights by your side or at your front, followed by raising your arms so that they’re at 90 degrees to your standing up body. Once again try to do 4 or 5 sets of 7 but carry on repeating the sets until you fail to obtain the best results, remember, no pain no gain!

Once you’ve done this you could move onto the back, the best part to start off with is the lats as it covers the biggest part of the back and contributes most to your back looking like a shield! To get gains in this region start with a t-bar row. To do this simply grab a bar and load it with weight to suit your level of strength. Crouch down in a half-squatting position with the bar in front of you, arms shoulder length apart, and pull the bar up towards your chest, squeezing the lateral muscles when you’ve raised the bar. Try to aim for 4 sets of 8 minimum, raising the weight if you feel you can do more. If you start lifting heavier weight all personal trainers would recommend you use a weight lifting belt to take some stress off of the spine, after all you don’t want time out with a slipped disk now! As well as this you can also go for back push ups as discussed in the previous blog, these  work wonders for the lats and should be part of anyone’s gym schedule who’s taking it seriously! As well as these exercises I would recommend most cable machines that work the back, this is because most cable machines can carry out numerous exercises and are excellent for building muscle, although in many cases the free weight version of the exercise is better as it takes out the balance and support provided by the weights being attached to cables, if you’re having to support the balance of the weight yourself than you’re obviously putting in more work which in many cases is more beneficial. In addition to this dead-lifts are also an excellent exercise for the lower back and legs. Simply start in squat position with a weighted bar suited to your capabilities in front of you. Hold the bar at shoulders apart length, and go from squatting position to standing up straight with full extension of the back, it is important that you keep your knees behind your feet to maintain a good posture and avoid injury.

Your back and shoulders are vital for boxing because with a stronger back and shoulders you can pop your punches and bring your arms back faster. With faster. stronger punches comes a better fighter, given the right methods of boxing are used and you don’t just throw your arms around and hope for the best!

Arm day: Craft the guns to gun down your opposition!

gym arms.jpgWhen I’m in the gym, one of the first things I see people do when they step through the door is head to the free weights and kick start their arm day. It’s fair to say it’s most likely the most popular muscle group people work in gym. HOWEVER! Just like most other muscle groups, I see so many people using bad form while lifting or not going at it with maximum effort. If you’re doing that then you can’t expect to reap the results and bulk your arms! good form and maximum effort are key to your gains. Fact.

When working the arms there are two key muscle groups you will work, these being the triceps and the biceps. despite popular belief and assumption, the tricep takes up more of the arm than the bicep, its naturally a bigger muscle although this doesn’t mean you should work it less. To start off with the basics, the first exercises you should be getting down to are military press ups and bicep curls. there are numerous types of press up although military press ups concentrate on the extension of the bicep as you push up and the tricep as you lower yourself down. this is because of the positioning of your hands. To do these correctly you’ll need to have your hands shoulders width apart with your hands flat on the ground, fingers pointing forward. To begin with if you’re new to working out, I’d recommend doing as many press ups as you can until you burn out, after you gradually build up how many you can do, I would say only then change your routine to start doing sets. I only decided to do this once I could do 60 press ups in 60 seconds.

With bicep curls there are numerous means of carrying out the exercise, many people would say that the best way to go around bicep curls is using a preacher curl bench, most gyms will have these, you should be surprised if yours doesn’t. It’s easy to get stuck straight into and you can use either free weight dumbbells or a bar. It’s as simple as you rest your upper arms on the preacher bench facing downwards, while holding the bar or weight, followed by carrying out the basic bicep curl movement. It can be done using one or both hands and is one of the most effective exercises for your upper arms. To further your work out I’d recommend pull ups!

For the triceps there’s two exercises I would recommend. These are the cable machine tricep curls and tricep dips. With the dips, find either a dip bar, or compromise with a bench, if you have a dip bar at hand than all’s good and crack on! with an arm on each grip, lower yourself slowly, and quickly push yourself back up to starting position. With a bench it will be exactly the same, only sitting facing away from the bench with your legs out straight using your arms to raise and lower yourself on the edge of the bench.

There are way more exercises that you can do for arms but these are just the basics that are excellent for both those starting off, and those who are not new to the gym. Your arms are vital for boxing, who knew? With bigger arms comes a heavier punch and the heavier your punch the better, so get down the gym and start pumping that iron!

Next time we’ll cover the shoulders and back!