RAKA! The Boxing Workout You Can Do Anywhere

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RAKA! The Boxing Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Ngo Okafor of RAKA
Ngo Okafor, RAKA!

I have always believed that anything is achievable if you are willing to fight for it. I believe that in order to live a full life you must attack your dreams and make them a reality.

Born in the United States and raised in the Ibo-speaking region of Nigeria, I learned that life is not to be taken for granted. For that reason, I set out to make all my dreams true. At the age of 31, I picked up boxing, which was a childhood dream of mine, and within three years of starting boxing, I won two back-to-back Golden Gloves championships.

Through hard work and dedication, I also achieved success in my modeling and acting careers. As a model, I've been featured in magazines such as Vogue and W, featured alongside supermodels such as Gisele and Naomi Campbell. As an actor, my credits include starring opposite Jonah Hill and James Franco in the film "True Story,"  as well as TV shows such as Law and Order and many more.

My decision to "just do it", drew the attention of Nike, who recently pegged me as one of New York City’s six most influential trainers and signed me as leader of its prestigious NIKE+NYC Training Journey. 

Although being the go-to trainer for the "who's who" of the fashion and entertainment industries' biggest stars is exciting, I wanted to create a workout for everyone that shares my love for boxing and my cultural background, fusing it with my wealth of knowledge in the fitness field. I especially wanted the class to be available to those who can't afford to pay a premium rate for a one-on-one session with me.

This brought about the birth of RAKA! Set to heart-pounding African rhythms, RAKA! blends boxing moves, sports drills and high intensity interval training (HIIT) to create a fun and effective full-body, 45-minute workout. This one-of-a-kind training routine requires no weights or equipment and can be done anywhere. RAKA! can be done in your living room, the park, a conference room or a hotel room.

Drawing on the tools that make boxers the best-conditioned athletes in the world, RAKA! provides a fast trak to your best body ever.

The music that drives RAKA! is created by artists such as WizKid and D'Banj. The music can be found on iTunes or on YouTube by searching for AfroBeats music. To get the full effect at home, create your own playlist, or search for pre-made AfroBeats playlists on Spotify. Once you're set up, warm up for a few minutes by skipping in place, mimicking jumping rope. This will get the blood flowing and warm up your legs.

Once you're warmed up, try the following exercises. You'll start with punching combinations and drills, then move into strength and conditioning exercises, such as lunging while punching, squatting while punching and more. The icing on the cake is the finisher - non stop abs! At the end of RAKA! you'll leave nothing behind, except for a tone of sweat and hundreds of calories burned!

This short sequence totals 15 minutes - to get an idea of the full workout, repeat it three total times with little rest between rounds.

2
Jab Sequence

Jab
RAKA!

With your knees slightly bent, one leg staggered in front of the other, tighten your core and punch directly in front of your body with the same-side arm as your lead leg. Use your opposite arm to protect your face, your hand in a fist.

Punch for 30 seconds with one arm, then switch sides, punching for 30 seconds with the opposite arm. Repeat two times.

3
Hook-Uppercut Sequence

Punch Sequence
RAKA!

Stand with knees slightly bent, core tight, one leg staggered slightly in front of the other.With your lead arm (the one on the same side as your lead leg), Perform two hooks and an uppercut. First hook your arm out wide and around, bringing it across and in front of your face. Do this twice. Then swing the same arm directly up in front of your body, as if punching your opponent in the stomach or torso.

Continue the hook-hook-uppercut sequence for 30 seconds on one side before switching sides. Repeat two times.

4
Squat Punch

Squat Punch
RAKA!

With your weight in your heels, press your hips back and lower down into a squat, jabbing one arm forward in a punch. Return to standing, and on the next squat, jab forward with the opposite arm.

Continue for 60 seconds.

5
High Knees

High Knees
RAKA!

Jog in place, bringing your knees as high as you can in front of your body as you swing your arms to help with explosive power.

Continue for 60 seconds.

6
Lunge Punch

Lunge Punch
RAKA!

Lunge forward with one leg, placing your weight in your front heel, and lower your back knee toward the floor. As you lower yourself, jab forward in a punching motion with one arm (the same-side arm as your lead leg). Return to standing and repeat, alternating sides.

Continue for 60 seconds.

7
Lunge Switch

Deep Lunge
RAKA!

Start in a pushup position, your body forming a straight line from heels to head. Step one leg forward, outside the same-side arm so you're positioned in a deep lunge. Step the leg back to pushup position and bring the opposite leg forward. Continue alternating sides, and if you can, start hopping the legs back and forth for an intensified plyometric exercise.

Continue for 60 seconds.

8
Situp Punch

Situp Punch
RAKA!

Start your core routine with a punch. Lie on the ground, your hands in front of your body, as if protecting yourself. Use your abs to sit up, and as you rise to the apex position, jab forward with one arm, reaching it across your body to engage your obliques. Roll yourself back to the floor and when you sit up again, perform the jab to the opposite side.

Continue for 60 seconds.

9
Ab Circuit

Take the workout home with a tough ab circuit designed to hit your entire core. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds and perform the circuit three times through. 

  • Bicycle Crunch: Start lying with legs off the floor, your arms behind your head. As you crunch up, twist one elbow across your body toward your opposite knee, drawing that knee in toward your torso. Repeat on the opposite side and continue bicycling your legs and twisting your torso. 
  • Plank: Position yourself on the floor, your forearms and the balls of your feet supporting your weight so your body forms a straight line from heels to head. Tighten your core, your glutes, and your quads to hold the position steady. 
  • Side Plank: Position yourself on the floor, supporting yourself with one forearm and the outer edge of one or both feet, so your body forms a straight, angled line from feet to head. Make sure your elbow is positioned directly under your shoulder and hold the position steady. Perform 15 seconds per side. 
  • Toe Touches: Lie on the ground, arms out to the side, legs straight. Use your abs to crunch up as you bring one leg straight up toward the ceiling, reaching your opposite arm across your body to try to touch your toe. Carefully release your arm and leg to the ground and repeat on the opposite side.

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