How to Add Boxing to Your Workout Without a Boxing Bag

Boost Your Health Benefits With a Jab of Boxing

Boxing Without a Boxing Bag
Getty Images/Tara Moore

Boxing is a great workout. It challenges the entire body through a combination of resistance training and high-intensity intervals by using your own body weight, torque and momentum as you jab and hook your way to health. The more you twist, the more you sculpt your muscles and strengthen your core. The more you shift your weight side-to-side, the more you activate your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

Sure, striking an actual boxing bag forces you to engage your abs to maintain your balance, but you don't need a bag to benefit from a quick boxing routine. Simply learning and incorporating the basics of boxing into your normal routine can be extremely beneficial, even offering cross-over benefits to  strength training. Use these tips to add boxing to your routine.

After Your Cycling Routine

Whether you're hitting the roads to train for a race or you're hanging in your living room for an at-home cycling workout, grab a lightweight pair of dumbbells (2 to 5 pounds) and have them ready for after your main routine. When you finish cycling, stand up, grab your dumbbells and bring your hands to your chin. Start punching by thrusting one hand straight out at eye level, bringing it back to your body, then switching to the other arm, continuing the jab-cross until your shoulders start to burn.

Set down your weights for a minute, then repeat two or three more times.

Start with one-two jab-cross combos (punching straight out with one hand, then twisting the hips and torso and punching across the body with the other), and aim your fists no lower than your chin and no higher than your nose.

During Your Lap Swim

Water provides an excellent alternative to a boxing bag.

While it won't offer the same reaction force (that solid "something" that prevents your arm from continuing its forward motion when punching a boxing bag), it does offer resistance in both directions, making each punch more difficult to perform. While lap swimming, spend 30 to 60 seconds after each drill shadowboxing in the deep end. The trick is to keep your head above water, but your shoulders under the surface. This alone is difficult, and when you add punching to the mix, it's a great way to add a high intensity cardio burst between laps.

When you're treading water in the deep end, start in a defensive stance, then raise your fists to shoulder height and punch straight out, alternating arms, snapping out and pulling back in as quickly as you can.

Want more ways to workout in the water? Check out Aqua Zumba >>

As Part of Your Strength Training Routine

Boxing also serves as an excellent option for active recovery  between strength training exercises. This serves to turn any strength training routine into a circuit routine, raising your heart rate so you burn more calories and boost cardiovascular fitness. All you need to do after each exercises is pick up your light weights and shadowbox for 30 to 60 seconds.

Before a Mind-Body Workout

Yoga, barre and Pilates are all excellent workouts for enhancing core strength and flexibility, but most classes don't raise your heart rate sufficiently to count as cardiovascular exercise. Before you hit the studio to get your bend on, add a little at-home boxing to help you warm up and raise your heart rate. Try hopping from side-to-side in a boxing jog, then incorporate jabs, crosses and hooks, performing each exercise for 30 seconds before switching exercises.

About the Author: Leyon Azubuike
Before opening Gloveworx, Leyon was the chief sparring partner of Bermane Stiverne, the former WBC Heavyweight Champion.

Inspired by his time as a US Nationals heavyweight competitor and two year captain of the Temple University football team, Leyon developed the Gloveworx program as a way to teach boxing skills, get a great workout, and relieve your stress. To him, boxing is about finding the very best version of yourself. “That’s why as a coach,” Leyon says, “I take tremendous pride in helping people clear their personal battles, their personal obstacles, and walls that they might not be able to burst through on their own.”

About Gloveworx:
Gloveworx offers an unparalleled boxing and training experience in a sleek new 5000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art studio equipped with a competition boxing ring, heavy bags, speed bags, spin bikes, rowers and VersaClimbers, as well as a large turf area for core conditioning and calisthenics. Founded by Leyon Azubuike, a former US Nationals heavyweight competitor, Gloveworx combines boxing training with strength and conditioning in an enthusiastic team atmosphere. In all sessions an expert coach pushes you through a high-intensity circuit of mitt work, heavy bags, cardio, and core conditioning. The studio also boasts professional-level therapy and recovery rooms that include Whirlpool ice baths, hot water therapy, stretching and massage tables. In addition, clients have the option to recover like a true professional athlete with Neuromuscular Pain Relief Therapy and Corrective Exercise Programs for rehabilitation and sports performance, led by Sam Visnic.

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