According to a 2018 report from market research firm IBISWorld, nearly 4,000 boxing gyms opened in the United States between 2013 and 2018. Experts attribute this to exposure on Instagram and the rise of studios popular such as 9Round and Rumble. She named it one of the hottest fitness trends of 2020. If you’re intrigued, here’s what you need to know before you step into the ring.
Because the quality of education can vary greatly between gyms, experts recommend a basic check. Overall, they recommend finding a gymnasium where the instructors prioritize your safety. No certification you can get outweighs the importance of a coach who takes the time to make sure you are using good form.
Williams recommends exploring a potential gym’s website and / or social media to learn more about the courses and the credibility of the coaches. Holly Roser, a certified personal trainer from San Mateo, California, reminds people to read the calendar carefully to make sure your first class is suitable for beginners. If you accidentally show up for a combat lesson, she warns, “Someone is going to hit you in the face.”
Choose sneakers with a smooth sole and minimal tread that won’t get “stuck” when you rotate. Tami Dick, a physiotherapist who teaches and treats patients at the Corner Boxing Club in Boulder, Colorado, explains: “You want your rear foot to be able to rotate and pivot on the sole of the foot.” While you can certainly invest in boxing shoes later, beginners can get by with general purpose shoes.
Many gyms will lend you gloves and boxing envelopes for your first class, but Williams recommends buying yours as soon as possible. The wraps are support bandages for the hands and wrists worn under the boxing gloves, where it is hot and sweaty during training. She compares the gloves to the bowling shoes and says that the envelopes are like socks. Your coach can help you with the packaging technique and can advise you on the size of the gloves to wear. A pair of gloves can cost anywhere from $ 20 to over $ 100.
A good wrap is important to avoid hand injuries, especially for beginners who can be strong but lack technical skills. “People who do a bad job need the gang more than people who do a good job,” said Jeff Watters, boxing coach and CEO of Watters Performance in Detroit. Keep in mind that while envelopes can provide joint and wrist protection, good form is the only effective protection against potential injury to the elbow and shoulders.
Watters also advises beginners to wear a protective helmet if they plan to train or compete. “The goal is to hit someone in the head,” he says, and there is an inherent risk of head injury.
Boxing lessons usually start with a warm-up including heart rate elevation exercises such as jogging, skipping rope and lunges. Dick points out that warming up can be more intense than some people’s complete training. (I can confirm this.)
Training generally alternates between boxing exercises and cardiac conditioning. For the boxing part, unless you have registered for combat, you will practice a specific combination of punches (for example, stroke, left hook), according to the instructions of your trainer. (If you are in a kickboxing class, the combinations will also include kicks.) On the coach’s orders, you will either begin ghost boxing (by throwing punches in the air) or hitting a heavy bag, gear bag or instructor pads. (aka work pad). The conditioning exercises include movements such as planks, squats, lunges and pushups. Roser says the workout, which usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes, is an effective calorie burner, adding, “You feel like you’re going to die.”
That said, training can be changed to any level of fitness or life phase. Roser says she boxes with all of her older clients, including the 74-year-old, and Williams mentioned a 68-year-old client. “You can absolutely go at your own pace,” says Roser. Watters explained that although the professionals box for three minutes before taking a one-minute break, his athletes could practice combinations for a shorter period, rest longer between intervals and reduce the intensity. Plus, you don’t have to give 100% with every punch. I made the mistake of withdrawing all my aggressiveness from the bag during my first lesson; my neck and shoulders were sore for days.
As a full body workout that focuses on generating energy from the hips and heart, boxing can serve as effective cross-training. Dick says it’s a great addition to racket sports, while Watters uses it to prepare for hiking trips.
Although many participants start boxing because they think it will help them lose weight, says Williams, they stick to it because they “love how it makes them feel.” And this feeling is not only physical; it is also mental and emotional. Boxing suits take strength, speed, agility and focus. If you step into the ring with an opponent, the cognitive demands only increase. “There is a lot of strategy involved, so it really helps to keep your mind sharp,” says Williams.
It’s also a fantastic stress management tool, according to Roser. “We have so much aggression,” she says. “We have the ex-boyfriend [and the] assault of ex-husband. We have the boss’s aggression. “For many fans, boxing offers a way out of the pressures of life.
Boxing gyms also create a sense of community. As Roser says, “Your time is passing quickly, you have an impressive group of people around you and you have the responsibility.” If you miss your regular training, Roser says to expect your boxing friends to ask you where you were.
Finally, boxing creates a feeling of confidence which, according to its supporters, is like no other. “There is some confidence that if a situation arises you can defend yourself with confidence,” said Watters. For women in particular, he adds, “It’s another layer of security.” Roser agrees. “If someone were to attack [one of my clients], they say, “I feel like I understand,” she says.
This insurance can extend far beyond the walls of the gymnasium. Watters told me about a client who works in finance and likes to book an individual session just before a big meeting. The client told Watters that he was transporting the confidence boost from the gym straight to the meeting room – something he couldn’t get by running. “There’s a physical aspect,” says Watters, “you just can’t go to the gym and do something else.”
Pam Moore is a freelance writer and health and fitness speaker in Boulder, Colorado. Visit it on pam-moore.com.