There will always be days that you want to quit, that you will question if its all worth it and you’ll want to give up. Remember that these are the days that count the most. If you choose to miss a day because you have no drive, that’s the day you start losing, that’s the day the people who doubt you are proven right and the beginning of your defeat. If you’re like me than you find it hard to stay positive and try to seek inspiration where you can. Everyone has a lot of role models, many have successful celebrities. Although I have my celebrity role models, a fitting one being the great Muhammad Ali, I see soldiers as some of the best role models. If you can stare near defeat in the face and say I can do this than you’ve got that much more drive than the one who says lets call it a day. The key is to picture your goals and think of how your’re going to reach it. When you doubt yourself picture what you’re doing a remember why you’re doing it we all have our reasons. Whether it’s boxing related or not that’s a key thing to remember in life. Prove the people who doubt you wrong but more importantly, prove yourself wrong. You can do it.
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:
Last time we covered the basics and how to build from the ground up with basic jabs and punches. This week we’ll build up on that and concentrate on hooks and uppercuts. As said last week, they key to learning these quickly and effectively is to start slow, forget about applying power to the swing and slowly build up the speed, adding the strength and power as you go.
If we start with the uppercut, the best way to get to grips with this punch is to take up the basic boxing stance discussed last time. Following from this you’ve got to consider what hand you’re throwing the punch with. If its your leading hand, your jab hand, that you’d drop your arm and rapidly bring it up with the aim of either sustaining a blow to your opponents stomach or head. As you raise your arm up you’d twist your front foot out slightly but quickly as it allows you to twist your body more, allowing a faster and more powerful punch. Its the same with your other hand although it’ll most likely be much more powerful, given that you twist the back foot out to allow the body to twist providing more power to the swing. An uppercut is arguably the most important punch when you’ve got your opponent against the ropes and you can unleash a barrage of blows to both the stomach and head while they try and protect themselves. Even if they put their arms around you to limit how many punches you can throw, it’ll be easier than a hook to successfully land a hit as you can go up the middle between the arms and hit critical areas.
Similarly to this, a hook is another type of throw that can have effective results on an opponent. It follows the same principle of the uppercut, if you’re swinging with your jab hand, you swing your arm out and twist the corresponding foot to allow more strength in the swing, if it’s your rear hand than you swing forward while twisting the rear foot. It’s best to try and keep your elbow bent at about 90 degrees, keeping your hand at shoulder height while throwing a hook as this will allow you to target either the body or the head, which ever is less protected and more vulnerable.
To show how effective uppercuts and hooks can be, here are 10 expert examples of world champion boxer Mike Tyson showing how they can be applied to devastate and knockout any opponent, arguably much more effective than any jab or cross:
Whether you’re looking to take boxing seriously or just as a fitness hobby, it is important to take the work outside of the gym once your workouts finished! This is done in numerous forms, such as dieting, sleeping and mentality, fitness outside the gym and treating injuries. In this blog we will cover the simple, but important art of sleeping and mentality!
Now if you’re like me than you’re a night owl, a person who simple cannot sleep until its past 1/2 am. If you’re also like me… You hate that fact! Some people don’t get reap any problems with going to bed so early and getting up in 6 or 7 hours time but unfortunately not everyone can be the same. To make sure you get enough sleep and aren’t tired in the morning its important to ensure that you go to bed at a more reasonable time and don’t stay up once in bed. If you get enough sleep than you shouldn’t feel too tired or worn down when you wake up, given you wake up at a reasonable time, around 7-10 am. Not many people will put two and two together but by getting enough sleep you will positively influence your mentality and attitude towards working out, eating healthily and working hard towards your goals, whether they are financial, physical or academic! This is because if you’re getting up after a short night of bad quality sleep than you’re more likely to feel much less motivated to go to gym, will much rather stay in bed for longer and effectively waste more of the day, being much less productive. If you’re awake and refreshed after a long, great quality, nights sleep than you will be so much more likely to get up early, get things done and make sure you get as much productivity out of the day. Even if you manage to get down the gym while feeling fatigued, you’re not going to push yourself anywhere near your personal goals and much the session very productive at all and in terms of boxing or sparring, you will simply not have anywhere near enough energy to get in the ring and throw or take punches!
In essence, remember the importance of getting a good nights sleep as it’ll effect a lot more of the following day than you’d first think!
When 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!