When you’re training sometimes it is clear to see how beneficial having someone else there to train with can be! At least it is for me, if I’m on my own in the gym, I will push myself as far as I feel I can physically go, and then some. The same applies to when the gloves are on, if you’re not on the verge of your limits you’re not working hard enough. However, sometimes it is so beneficial to have a mate or training partner with you, for numerous reasons! To begin with, if you’re in the gym and you’ve got someone spotting you than you mentally feel more comfortable and driven to push your limits and hit those new personal bests, because the fear of being stuck with a weight on you that you can’t lift is gone! It’s a similar case in the boxing gym with the gloves on. There’s only so much you can do on your own, sure you can use the bag or some weights but if you’ve got someone there to do some pad work with than you can get in some of that crucial technique practice that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do alone! In addition to this, it works both ways they’re not just there to help you, you’re also there to help and push them! With someone there to shout at you and say you’re not a quitter you will have the drive to push further and break those boundaries! Check out how beneficial having a pad work or sparing partner can be be with this quick video right here!
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?
As mentioned in the previous post, many people automatically assume that all boxers are going to be mean, aggressive people who will go out of their way to cause trouble and start fights. This is in most cases completely wrong and in this post we are going to in fact discuss how boxing can be credited for helping get young, at risk individuals off the street and into sport thus making them safer individuals. It has been clear for some time that boxing gyms have helped to tackle youth crime due to the fact that the attract at risk individuals because of the violent nature of the sport, but once they’re there they realise and soon learn that fighting should be kept within the ring, once you leave the ring you leave the anger and you’re back to being a gentleman! This has been reflected in numerous news articles such as this one that can be found here. As mentioned on the article, boxing can be praised for helping take vulnerable children off the street and into a safe, crime free environment, which then in turn creates more potential for sport in the area as more people get involved. So in summary, it is clear to see that sport can help bring a community together, so why not get involved too!?
One thing I’ve noticed whilst being at university and participating in boxing, which I’m sure many others who box have experienced the same issue, is that a lot of people stigmatise you simply because of your sport. To put it bluntly, this is unbelievably stupid and you can tell instantly that they are poorly informed of the sport to make these assumptions. It even went as far as an employer instantly assuming I was a violent and aggressive person whom they wouldn’t want working in their store when I replied to their question of do I actively participate in sports of any kind!
To begin with, one of the first things any coach or boxer will tell you is that boxing is primarily a sport of mental power, mental strength and mental conditioning, subsequently, any god boxer won’t get in punch ups outside of the ring, they’re an animal in the ring, but a gentleman when they leave the ring. Following on from this, people are quick to assume that all boxers are mean, rude grunts. The best way to answer that is look at the top of the championships, look at the world champion boxers like Muhammad Ali and Anthony Joshua, they’re clearly not rude, nasty people. In fact only when it’s necessary and are actually quite friendly people. There are actually many more sports where the players are much more violent and aggressive outside of the sports ground, at university at least, such as American football, football and of course, rugby.
The key things with what I’m trying to say is don’t let people’s incorrect stigmas of such a great sport deter you from taking it up, don’t let them put you off, if you think boxing is right for you and you want to give it a shot, you give it the best shot you’ve got because you never know, you may well be the next heavy weight champion!
In recent years many schools, colleges and universities have emphasised the importance of keeping fit and healthy through the use of free sport for students. This is something that I feel is an excellent means of encouraging people to keep active and fit on a day to day basis. The problem is due to government cut backs a lot of educational and council funded establishment alike are subsequently having to cut back on their range and promotions of free sport, which in hand, is deterring many people from taking up any sports, not just boxing. The main reason I took up boxing other than to see how I could turn my aggression into something productive, was because my university offered boxing training sessions coached by an English heavy weight boxing champion, completely for free, other than the optional expense of buying your own kit. Due to the changes to university funding and how individual universities are subsequently changing their distribution of spending, our university for example is having to alter the layout and degree of free sports available. Because of this, I am one of many people who is having to consider lowering my level of participation in sports at the university, simply due to not having £40 a month spare for hobbies, just like a vast amount of the nationwide student population.
Despite these changes to university and sport funding, I urge you to get involved in sports and fitness related activities while they are still free. This isn’t just in terms of boxing I’m talking about, I mean all sports and fitness activities ranging from everything from table tennis and equestrian sports to boxing and rugby. There are multiple benefits that can be obtained by participating in sports whether they are free or not! To begin with I guarantee you will feel a sense of accomplishment after learning about the new abilities and skills you have obtained through attending a new sport, all the way to making new friends for life along the way where you share the same tastes and hobbies due to the sport. In addition to this, there is also the obvious health benefits of getting involved in sport, regardless of the sport. Any sport is healthier than being a couch potato!!
When you think of boxing training one of the first things you may think of is quick bursts of intense skipping. This isn’t just because boxers want some playground nostalgia, no. As well as skipping being a great cardio session and workout, it also helps boxers improve their hand, foot and arm speed. Firstly, skipping is a great workout, although it may not appear to be at first sight, due to the fact that continuously jumping on the spot, alongside the constant arm movement engages all key muscle areas such as the legs with the calf muscles in particular, the core, shoulders and arms. In addition to this, the more obvious part is that skipping is excellent cardio due to the fact that while skipping you’re continuously moving and can either speed up or slow down. I would recommend skipping to anyone who wants to further their boxing training simply due to the fact that it will benefit so much in terms of cardio and hand/foot speed.
Another good point to make is the fact that if you’re not very good at skipping than don’t fret! Skipping is like riding a bike, the more you do it the better and faster you get at it and subsequently, the better your boxing will become. Even now I’m no skipping expert but as long as you put in the work than it will more than pay off!
Now it’s obvious that there is going to be certain pieces of gear and kit that you’ll need for boxing, the most obvious being a pair of gloves. But if you sit down and think about it there is more than you’d first expect. However, don’t fret! Most of this equipment is easy to get and can be bought for a reasonably cheap price. If we work our way form the bottom of the body to the top, the first thing you may need is a pair of boxing shoes. Now these aren’t completely necessary as any pair of sports shoes will suffice for light training but it is recommended that you have these for sparring and matches. These can be bought in most sports shops and can be found for a reasonable cheap price, I bought a pair made by Lonsdale, a reputable boxing brand, out of my local sports shop for less than £29.99. Following on from this, you may want to invest in a groin guard. This is padding that covers and protects your groin from any low shots from your opponent in sparring, think of it as a head mask for your groin. No one wants the breath taken out of them by a crotch shot. Moving up from this you would be wise to invest in some hand wraps. these are the tapes you see boxers wrap round their wrists and hands before they put their gloves on and their purpose is to help take the stress off your wrists and knuckles as over time constantly making hard contact between your hands and something such as a person or bag will put heavy work on them. These can be bought from any sports shop or alternatively online and are dirt cheap, I bought a pair for £3.99 from my local sports shop. Next up you’ll need the most obvious item, your boxing gloves. These are the item you should put the most research into before you buy them because they come in so many variants. You can buy gloves intended for fighting, sparring, or pad and bag work in particular, in numerous ounce weights. In addition to this, some will obviously be better in terms of quality than others. Since your gloves will be the only thing between your knuckles and what you’re punching it can be worth while pushing the boat out and buying slightly more expensive gloves, to make sure you don’t injure yourself.
Next up you will need a mouth guard. This won’t be necessary for pad and bag work but any sensible gym coach wont let you step foot in a ring to spar or fight without a mouth guard. You don’t want to lose any of those pearly whites! Finally, this is optional an many gyms may even provide you with one but it can sometimes be worthwhile looking into getting a head guard for sparring. This is because if you’re not in a competitive fight and only training, you don’t want to run the risks of getting unnecessary injuries!