On television recently, millions tuned in to the BBC to watch Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team build a high-end boxing gym for the community living around Grenfell Tower. The original Dale Youth Gym had been destroyed in the dreadful fire that had torn the Grenfell Tower block apart in 2017. The fire was a catastrophe that took more than 70 lives and wrecked a community
Boxing gym provides refuge
During the course of the programme, viewers heard how the gym with its hoary head coach Mick had been a refuge for youths in the area. With Mick’s tough love, the gym had been responsible for keeping hundreds of kids off the streets and out of trouble. Three Olympic boxers had emerged from the club’s ranks and many more boxers were regularly competing on the national circuit. Footage showed children as young as five jabbing and feinting and teenagers happily engaged in circuit training and skipping.
The outcome of the programme was a moving and successful one, but it also served to highlight just how important a sport, in this case boxing, had become to the social fabric of the community.
The beauty of boxing
And that is the beauty of boxing. It appeals to a wide cross section of society, it appeals to the entire age range from four to 84 and it is also one of the best ways to get and keep fit – really fit.
A well-trained boxer is a thoroughly well-conditioned person. Boxing is probably one of the most demanding physical activities in the sporting world and it asks for ruthless physicality from its participants.
The key to the high level of fitness lies in the sustained intensity of the action. Two or three minute rounds of anaerobic activity with a short rest period. This is High Intensity Interval Training with a purpose.
An all-over work out
Training for boxing is as tough as it comes and it really is an all-over work out. Skipping, weights, cycling, shadow boxing, bag work, circuit training – every part of the body is worked and that is before you have even stepped in the ring to endure a contest of hitting, being hit, ducking, diving and moving swiftly around the ring.
As well as promoting high levels of physical fitness, boxing also improves hand-eye coordination, agility and builds self-confidence and relieves stress.
If this has whet your appetite to get some boxing training under your belt, here is a tough workout to put you through your paces.
Complete each of these movements 12 times before you hit the bag.
Arm circles: draw large circles with your arms, first in a forward motions, then backwards.
Crossovers: swing both arms out to your side and then in front of your chest
Shoulder slumps: Hunch your shoulders up to your ears, squeeze and hold for three seconds and then allow your shoulder to slump downwards.
Hip circles: With your hands on your hips and your feet shoulder distance apart, move your hips clockwise and then counter clockwise.
On the bag, adding a new move each round. Each round is 3 minutes, with a 1 minute break between each round..
Warm-up with a variety of punches aiming to strike the bag at 50 per cent full power
Round 1 up your strength to full power and continuously jab using alternate hands
R2 jab, throw a cross and repeat. Change the lead hand after each 10 punches
R3 jab, cross, hook and repeat, alternating lead hands after each 10 punches
R4 jab, cross, hook, uppercut, and repeat, alternating lead hand after 10 punches
Round 6 jab, cross, hook, uppercut and body punch, repeat, alternating lead hand after 10 punches.
Remember to keep the feet moving in shuffling, skipping action throughout the movements.
Now grab a set of light dumbbells and run through three rounds of 3 minutes, using the dumbbells to replicate the punching movements you used in Activity A
Activity C – shadow boxing
Shadow boxing really helps to speed up your movements and also helps tone your upper back, shoulders and core because of the high rep nature of the activity.
Play five songs that have strong rhythms and last 3 to 4 minutes each. On every fourth beat (count out loud to keep yourself on track), unleash one of the punch combinations below. Bring your hands back to your starting stance before the next beat. The shifting tempo of some tracks may require you to punch continuously until the song slows.
Combos for each song:
1. Left jab, left jab, right cross
2. Right cross, left jab, right uppercut
3. Left body punch, right body punch, left uppercut
4. Right uppercut, right cross, left hook
5. Right cross, left hook, right hook
Finish your training session with some tough circuit training interspersed with skipping. Here is a suggested 10 station circuit that needs no other equipment except a skipping rope.
Do each activity for 45 seconds, with no rest in between. At the end of the first set do three minutes of fast skipping. Repeat the whole sequence three times.
Burpees, push ups, squat-thrusts, tricep dips, crunches, deep squats, mountain climbers, push-ups with a clap, jumping lunges, v-sits.