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Main Points Covered in this Blog
  • What is Boxercise?
  • What are the health benefits?
  • What kit do you need?

I have a friend called Clare. She’s 40 and a working mum of two who leads a relatively wholesome life: eats a good diet, keeps herself busy, avoids the cigarettes and controls her booze intake. But she is – or should I say was – desperately lacking in general fitness. Her cardio prowess was pitiful and even a short walk could leave her panting like a diabetic Labrador not long for this world. Then she found boxing! It was a rapid transition, starting with an invite to an after work boxercise class, progressing to a scrap in the ring at a white collar boxing event within the year. She won the fight comfortably, exposing a skill she never knew she had. We’ll look at the white collar phenomenon in a future blog, but for now let’s concentrate on the roots of Clare’s new-found obsession: boxercise. Boxercise classes have been doing the rounds in mainstream gyms for decades, but unlike many fad classes the concept has grown in popularity, emerging as one of the most popular fitness classes in the UK today. It’s one of the most effective forms of cross-fit training out there; employing many of the same exercises and routines you see the boxing pro’s suffer. Think skipping, shadow boxing, medicine balls, hitting bags and pads. And – crucially for many participants - it doesn’t involve getting hit in the face! The combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises offers a truly diverse workout, and an end result that few other activities can match in terms of getting in shape. There is good reason the pro boxers are some of the fittest, most complete athletes out there. But it’s also much more than just a cardio workout, with exercises demanding application from a range of senses: hand and eye co-ordination, balance and timing are all put through their own workout. Perhaps more importantly, it’s accessible to everyone; open to all ages, genders and fitness levels and it doesn’t require a big financial outlay on kit to get started. Put simply, there are few more complete workouts out there that can match boxercise for all-around effectiveness, whatever your fitness goals might be. For Clare, the journey started with an ambition to lose a few pounds around the stomach. Two classes a week and 9 months later, she’d lost nearly 2 stone, had a Body Mass Index of 25 (spot on for her height and age!) and was a cardio machine ready to dance the canvas. Getting the Right Kit Perhaps one of the misconceptions of boxercise is that because it doesn’t involve actual sparring you don’t need to embrace the kit requirement as thoroughly. Wrong! I have often been involved in or walked past a boxercise class where many of the participants are using equipment – in particular gloves – that is simply not fit for purpose, and frankly a danger to user welfare. Picking up a £20 pair of gloves from the local retail park sports shop does not cut the mustard! I recently acquired a pair of said gloves to put them to the test on a bag workout. I hit the bag three times before removing them and placing them directly in the nearest bin. The fact they were sold under the premise of providing protection - whether to the wearer's wrist or hand, or worse still someone's face - is laughable. Just because you’re hitting bags and pads – and not someone’s face – does not mean you should ignore the basic principles of a glove that affords decent protection. Look for a solid, supportive wrist strap, good padding around the knuckles and back of the hand, an attached thumb and a padded grip bar running across the top of the palm. At the outset, you may just want to borrow some kit from your boxercise club. The gloves will invariably stink of dry sweat and feel like putting your hands in a tin of mushy peas, so my guess is it won’t be long before you look to acquire your own kit. For club classes, a pair of decent gloves and a set of focus mitts should suffice... ... but if you’re bitten by the boxercise bug with a view to knocking out sessions in your garage, then you can go to town. Here’s our rundown of the top picks for your home boxercise set-up: Medicine Ball - Carbon Claw 3kg Pro X Medicine Ball Skipping Rope - Pro Box Heavy Weight Speed Rope Punch Bag - Carbon Claw Arma Punch Bag Boxing Gloves - Ringside Pro Fitness Glove Focus Mitts - Ringside Pro Fitness Focus Mitt Hand Wraps - Super Gel Hand Wraps Boxercise

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