East Jefferson General Hospital

When my clients ask me the best way to shed pounds and get a full body workout, there are many types of exercises and fitness programs that I can tailor for their individual needs. Frequently, one of the programs I recommend is non-combative boxing, particularly with a heavy bag. So many people initially don't realize just how complete of a workout it is until they start doing it. More than that, they are amazed at how much they enjoy it.

For over two decades I have been able to work with elite level professional boxers. Two of those fighters are Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins. Both are locks for the boxing hall of fame. What may be most overlooked about them and other fighters is that they are some of the best-trained, most conditioned athletes in the world.

The same principles that get them in shape can be applied to everyday people. By combining punching and movement, you create a workout that is head-to-toe. The result is building strength and endurance while burning calories. It is also a great way to relieve stress.

I always recommend that you consult your physician before beginning a new fitness routine, and with boxing, I also recommend talking with an expert who can instruct on proper punching techniques to maximize the workout and avoid injuries. It is good to start slowly and build up as your body allows.

The bottom line is that boxing delivers results. The top five tips on why boxing is a complete workout are:

Upper Body Strength – By punching you are doing a resistance-based workout that will help build arm and chest strength as well as to increase arm speed. You should also perform posterior shoulder exercises like rows and side lying external rotation with a towel rolled up under the working arm. This can be done with light 1-3 lb weights or tubing for high reps.

Works Leg Muscles – Good punching begins with a firm base and your legs provide that base. Leg strength increases as you set to throw punches and as you move.

Builds a Strong Core – Your core is basically your midsection and consists of stomach muscles and the hip area. The natural movements and twists in boxing work this important area of your body.

Promotes Balance – With all the integrated movements and the ability to plant and throw a punch, an added benefit of boxing is to improve overall balance.

Burns Calories – Boxing can get the heart rate up, boost metabolism and burn calories throughout the workout.