Tag: strong

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!

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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!

Get in the gym – Get them gains!

gains.jpg

Now unless you’re very lucky, most people aren’t naturally massively built, I know i’m not at least. there’s only one way that you can change that and that’s by hitting the gym! its important to make sure you keep up a regular schedule you’ve got to bare that in mind, going once or twice here and there? Hmm… you won’t be reaping and rewards! Remember changes won’t happen overnight it takes time and dedication to carve the better you!

Over the next few blogs we’re going to cover the different muscle groups and how push them to the limit, and no, we’re not skipping leg day! How’re you going to stand up straight when you receive a swift right hook to the chin if you haven’t got two ripped tree trunks firmly rooted to the ground?!

Today we’re going to start with cardio, there’s no point having the power behind your punch if you can only maintain it for one round, you’ll be done for! With amateur boxing, for guys, you’ll have 3 3 minute rounds with  and 1 minute interval between rounds, with girls instead having 4 2 minute rounds, also with a 1 minute interval between rounds. Although the amount of rounds increases with semi-pro, and furthermore with the big dogs, the professionals.

The first thing you want to do when you get into the gym is stretch and warm up, trust me from first hand experience, you’l be in and out pretty sharpish if you don’t. Spend 4 to 5 minutes doing basic stretches and warm ups, for instance, jog on the spot and change to 10 seconds sprinting on the spot and repeat, as well as your basic floor stretches to ensure you wont get an injury. Now, I for one am not a particularly big fan of cardio in general, i prefer weight training, if your’e like me the best way to get into it is not to spend the whole time on one type of machine, for example, lets start with a jog on the running machine, every few minutes raising the speed by a few kph until your’e at a decently paced speed. maintain this for 15-20 minutes and as you improve, your speed and/ or time running should increase accordingly. What I recommend doing to ensure you’ve given it all you physically can is, once your’e ending the run, crank the speed up to as fast as you can run with the energy you’ve got left. You’ll feel like you’ve destroyed your legs but in the long run you’ll thank yourself! After this have a few minutes rest, it’s vital to ensure you can have as long a workout as possible. After this you could move onto something else like a cross trainer, cycling machine, rowing machine or step climber machine and follow a similar guild line for speed and time.

The last thing to mention is once you’ve completed your workout, I know you’ll be exhausted (if you’re not, have you worked hard enough?) and all you’ll want to do is run for the shower and fall to the floor, but don’t let this be your excuse for skipping your warm down stretches. These are just as important as warm up’s and you are just as likely to cause an injury by missing them out!

Lets cut the small talk.

Lets cut the small talk.

Hey guys as you already know I’m Sam!

As the first blog post I thought it would only be fair to start with some information about me! I’m in my second year at Essex university and I’m part of the universities amateur boxing club. I took up the sport after being interested in giving it a shot last year and prior to it had never put on a pair of gloves, within 2 months there was potential showing. That’s how simple it is guys! two months hard work can be the difference between not knowing how to throw a proper punch and the coach, mine being an ex-England heavyweight champion, seeing potential! All it takes is the right mindset, training and drive to improve.

Before you’ve even got as far as putting the gloves on you have to think to yourself “is this the right sport for me?”, I won’t butter it up, if you want to take boxing seriously you will pay in blood and sweat and it most certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you love adrenaline, fighting and self-discipline than you’ve come to the right place! Training is gruelling and yes, I know I’m really selling this at the moment, but you will want to give up at some point in training but this is where you’ll see if you have the mindset needed, if you do, you will refuse to give up. As Lance Armstrong said “pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever”.