Posted on April 22, 2022 by Harry Edwards
It’s no secret that I love combat sports, I have dedicated my whole adult life and a large part of my childhood to becoming a true mixed martial artist and becoming proficient in as many fighting disciplines as I could. For most people, their introduction to the whole martial arts world can be found in perhaps the oldest sport in existence, boxing. People all across the globe engage with boxing, whether it be as youngsters getting into amateur boxing or a gym-goer looking to blast the pads or a heavy bag to release some tension and burn some calories. But what is it about boxing that is so compelling? And how does it match up with other forms of exercise?
There’s something deeply human about relieving stress by hitting stuff. Unlike other forms of exercise which can feel a bit alien, boxing is a very primal, direct form of exercise. Its obvious what you’re doing and mostly intuitive how to do it. While becoming a proficient boxer takes years of practice and mastery of the details, boxing is much easier to get started with than many other forms of exercise. For example, doing a heavy deadlift requires good form or else you risk causing serious injury to your lower back, not to mention the appearance of weights can be intimidating. Similar learning curves can be found with other exercises, where you have to do quite a lot of work before you even get started. With boxing, no such thing! You can be a day one beginner or a WBC champion and you can smack some pads to break a sweat, get jumping with a skipping rope or shadow box in front of a mirror. Your technique may need some work but overall boxing is a very accessible form of exercise.
Learning with a smile
Boxing is a surprisingly cognitive form of exercise. For as accessible as it is, actually hitting things with precision and power takes some practice. There will be a world of difference between your stiff, swinging punches when you first start boxing versus the smooth, tight punches you’ll be throwing even after a couple weeks of training as you practice and refine your technique. While improving weight lifting or running technique is satisfying in its own right, the audible feedback you get when you land a punch correctly and you cause a thunderclap on the pads can light a smile on the face of even the grumpiest exerciser! Additionally, the amount of thought required to position yourself correctly for a particular combination is sometimes as tiring as the punches themselves, but insanely satisfying when you manage to execute a perfect string of strikes. This combination of physical exertion with conscious proprioception and coordination makes for an especially fun and engaging workout.
One interesting aspect of boxing and combat sports is that they require such an array of different physical skills. Unlike track sports or weightlifting which tend to emphasise one particular movement pattern or type of fitness, in boxing you need to be both explosive and capable of working for a long time, able to land shots with power while also being elusive. In this way, a boxer has to be a jack of all trades, having the explosivity of a sprinter and the gas tank of a marathoner, the strength of a weightlifter and the dexterity of a gymnast. This is why fighters are some of the best athletes around. This transfers very well to regular exercisers who often have very general goals such as “wanting to be fitter”. Training like a boxer will provide very broad benefits to all aspects of your fitness, making you stronger, giving you better cardio, and helping you lose weight. To get a taste of this regiment at home, give this boxing-themed circuit a go!
So now that you know some of the benefits of boxing, why not try it yourself? Come on down to our box-fit classes at 17:30 on Tuesdays and 12:00 on Wednesdays, or check out our class timetable here to get stuck in with a class that excites you! We always train with a smile and especially as it gets warmer it provides an opportunity to work out outside. Give it a try and find your inner Rocky!