Boxing is not a game. You don’t play it, and posers get exposed quickly. Figure the beautiful science right, though, and the rewards can be massive.
If you’re like us getting punched in the face is not on your to-do list, so you’ll be glad to know there are certain skills and practices that you can fiddle from the sport, and incorporate into your fitness routine and everyday life, without getting hit.
MITTS AND PIECES
Tunde Ajayi trains unbeaten prospect Anthony Yarde, and is this country’s biggest proponent of padwork. “Mitt work is all about timing, concentration and increasing your capacity to be able to think within the ring,” he explains. Rhythmic pad work can help improve and speed up neuromuscular responses in the body by working on muscle memory.
This means that those tiny movements you practise over and over will become reflexive, not just in the ring but also on the football pitch, in the gym, or even at work in manual labour jobs. Pad work can also be the closest thing to sparring, and can help to counter an overly nervous flight response in the body – useful if you need to temper a heated situation you may find yourself in.
There is no better stress relief than solidly lumping a 70lb bag of leather and sand. It also doesn’t hit back, which proved pretty useful for News International’s former top dog Rebekah Brooks, who had one installed in her office while she was editing The Sun.
The heavy bag has also become popular for many get-fitters not looking to necessarily sharpen their combinations or test their power.
It’s an intense form of exercise that releases serotonin, which will help you feel relaxed. If you prefer HIIT sessions over steady-state cardio, what’s more fun than going six-rounds over 20 minutes to get that fat burn going?
While the grim spectre of ‘boxercise’ hangs over the communal class spaces of gyms, there’s one method of training that new-fangled class activities have forgotten about – skipping.
Skipping for many boxers is an essential part of their regime, as it combines coordination skills, flexibility in often-neglected areas such as the hip flexors, and balance at speed, all done by simulating the bouncing movements you need to use when you’re in the ring.
For the non-boxer, it’s the perfect antidote to boring sessions on the treadmill, exercise bike or rower. Once you’ve built your technique up, HIIT sessions become a blast, while skipping at a steady state can burn more calories in 10 minutes than a 45-minute run. Plus it looks absolutely class if you can execute a few crossovers or double unders while you’re at it.
Anthony Yarde (9-0) fights live on the 24-hour dedicated boxing pay TV channel BoxNation and online at boxnation.com