Categorized as: Boxing

Top 5 Health Benefits of Boxing

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Top Benefits of Boxing

Boxing as a sport requires a high level of athletic prowess: strength, speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, endurance, nerve, and power, just to name several required attributes. Boxing as a fitness activity enables the average person to hone those same athletic skills, all without having to take a punch.

1. Enhanced Cardiovascular Health

You hear it all the time: You need to do cardio to protect yourself from heart disease, burn calories, and lose or maintain your weight. But “doing cardio” doesn’t have to mean hopping on a treadmill to log your required minutes – how boring is that?

The whole point of cardio is to place a moderate amount of stress on your heart and lungs so that they’re challenged enough to make beneficial physiologic adaptations to support the higher level of physical activity. But how you choose to place stress on your heart and lungs is up to you. As long as you keep your heart rate up during your workout, there’s no reason you can’t punch, kick, and jump your way to a healthy heart at your local boxing gym.

2. Improved Total-Body Strength

All that punching, kicking, and jumping requires a surprising amount of strength. Think about it – most professional heavy bags weigh at least 100 pounds.

During a boxing workout, you may punch or kick a bag hundreds of times, requiring your upper body, lower body, and core to engage as you make contact with the bag.

3. Better Hand-Eye Coordination

You may not think about the importance of hand-eye coordination and its affect on total health, but hand-eye coordination plays an important role in a person’s gross and fine motor skills. Individuals with good hand-eye coordination tend to have faster reflexes and reaction times, and tend to have better physical coordination as a whole. This is particularly important during aging, as coordination and balance become compromised, increasing the risk of falls.

Boxing can help hone hand-eye coordination. When you’re tasked with punching a speed bag (a lightweight boxing bag suspended from a disc that turns and bounces quickly with each punch), or you’re paired up to spar with a partner (practice punching your partner’s padded mitts), you must be able to see the target, react to the target, and hit the target, all while the target is moving and changing position. It’s tough, but with practice, your hand-eye coordination improves substantially.

4. Decreased Stress

Almost any form of moderate to intense physical activity can decrease stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise increases endorphins, boosts mood, works as a form of meditation, and improves sleep, all of which help reduce stress.

Boxing is a great outlet for stress for two reasons: First, during a boxing workout you typically transition between high intensity bouts of exercise and moderate intensity recovery periods. When you’re pushing yourself through a couple minutes of high-intensity punching or kicking, you don’t have much mental power left to worry about how awful your job is, or how dirty your house is. And even during rest periods, you’ll be focused on sucking wind and mentally preparing for the next round, not stressing over your packed schedule.

Second, there’s an incredibly cathartic release when you get to take some of your stress out on a punching bag. It’s an empowering feeling to punch your stress to smithereens.

5. Improved Body Composition

Boxing is great for improving body composition – and some might say it’s great for weight loss. Ultimately, if you want to lose weight, what you really want to do is improve your body composition – to increase your muscle mass and decrease your fat mass.

Boxing is an incredible mechanism for improved body composition because it perfectly combines muscle-building strength training moves and calorie-torching bouts of cardio. By regularly participating in a boxing program and following a nutritious eating plan, there’s no reason you won’t see changes in your shape and improvements to your fat mass percentage. And if you’re hoping for a pat on the back from your bathroom scale, you’re likely to see changes in your weight as well.

 

Source: https://www.moneycrashers.com/health-benefits-boxing-workouts/

Should you wear hand wraps for Muay Thai?

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Chances are that at some point towards the beginning of your training you were told you need hand wraps to wear underneath your gloves. Hand wraps of course make your hand safer, but not many people actually know how they do that.

How can hands get damaged?

If we break any combat sport down on a basic level, we can see that the hands take impacts in two ways. The first is through striking, where the hand is used to harm the opponent. Usually this is through punching, but not always. Depending on the sport and rules, hammer fists and back fists can sometimes be legal moves. The second way the hands receive impact is through blocking. This could be punches, knees, elbows or kicks, some of which may be pretty powerful. When blocking it’s not always the back of the hand which gets hit. Sometimes it’s the side of the hand, or in some cases even the palm, through deflections. Take a look at the Muay Thai long guard for example, where the palms are facing the opponent. It’s easy to see how a strike could hit the hand wrong.

As padded as boxing gloves are, there isn’t always a lot they can do to protect these blows. Instead think of gloves and hand wraps as one system, with one layer to protect your opponent, and one layer to protect yourself. The hand is formed of 27 small bones, all of which take a huge amount of shock with each hit. Tight, well-fitting hand wraps hold everything in place and reduce a lot of the ability for bones to break or fracture by giving them support.

What types of wraps are there?

There are really two categories of hand wraps, professional wraps and training wraps. Professional wrapping only really happens in fighting, consisting of layers of thin gauze and tape, which is often applied by a cornerman or trainer. What most people refer to when they say ‘hand wraps’ are the ones used for training, which you wrap up yourself. They’re the ones we’re mostly referring to in this article.

Training hand wraps are themselves broken down with a few different options. Some hand wraps have a stretch to them (often you’ll find these as ‘Mexican’ hand wraps), meaning they fit the hand tighter and often form to the shape of the hand a lot closer, and then some hand wraps are non-stretch, which are usually (but not always) a slightly thicker material which fits slightly differently and doesn’t risk being too tight. Both types will do a great job at keeping you safe, so the fit is really down to what you prefer. The team here at Fight Quality mostly prefer stretch wraps, however there are a lot of people who would disagree.

The other factor in a good hand wrap is the length. Wraps usually come in two sizes, 120” (around 3 meters) and 180” (around 4.5 – 5 meters). We would always suggest if possible to go for the longer length, as it just gives you that added protection, and allows you to cover the thumb and between all fingers, whereas the shorter lengths can sometimes… Well… Be a bit too short. We find that wraps with a thinner material tend to provide a better fit. Hand wraps can vary a lot though, so try and do your research before buying the first pair you see. We’ve reviewed a number of hand wraps in our Accessories Reviews section which might help you out.

Inner gloves are also an option, and when you’re in a rush before a short training session, they can be a great option to have available, however the protection will never be as good as hand wraps because of the way inner gloves fit on the hand. If you have the time and you’re doing a standard length training session, then always opt for hand wraps if possible. Some fighters even use both inner gloves and hand wraps, for best of both, however that really depends on the size of gloves you use and what you personally find most comfortable.

How should you wrap your hands?

When wrapping your hands there are 4 key areas to remember. Your wrist, your knuckles, your thumb and in between your fingers. Every fighter has a slightly different wrapping style, however the basics tend to be the same. After a while your wrapping technique will become muscle memory and you’ll just be able to wrap up without even thinking about it.

We don’t currently have any tutorials to show you wrapping techniques, but here’s a great tutorial from Title Boxing, with Douglas Ward from The Underground Boxing Company which explains one method quite nicely.

When do you need to use them?

The short answer? Every time.

You should really be using hand wraps whenever you’re wearing a pair of gloves, to make sure you always have maximum protection, regardless what sort of training you’re doing. Most gyms won’t even let you box without some sort of hand wrap or inner glove.

While wearing hand wraps with boxing gloves is fairly obvious, people tend not to think about it when it comes to MMA gloves. Despite being smaller in size, you can in fact safely fit hand wraps on underneath most pairs of MMA gloves, which seeing as MMA gloves have less padding than a boxing glove, is incredibly important. When wrapping hands for MMA you may want to find a wrap which puts a bit more emphasis on staying clear of the palm, as it makes grappling a little bit easier.

So how do hand wraps actually make it all safer?

Well if you consider the many angles blows can come from, the hand, wrist, knuckles, fingers and the thumb all need to be protected. Good protection of course relies on having a good wrapping method, however having a good wrap can:

  • Provide extra padding to protect the knuckles from direct impact
  • Prevent the knuckles from separating/smashing together
  • Prevent your fingers from pushing into your palm
  • Reduce sudden movements in the thumb
  • Add an extra layer of padding around the back of the hand, reducing shock from direct impact and softening vibrations in the hand caused from strikes on the knuckles
  • Help keep the wrist straight and reduce the risk of sudden unwanted movements

 

Hopefully you’re now a bit more aware why you should be wearing hand wraps when you train, and the injuries they help to prevent. Hand wraps will never make you immune from injuries, and accidents still happen, but it’s important to know you’ve minimized the risks as much as you can.

Reference:

Why do you need to wear hand wraps for Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai and other combat sports?

The Art of the Jab

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What makes a jab special and what does the jab do?

The jab is quick, fast, and it sets up your shots. People with excellent jabs have calm and relaxed jabs that hit like a small spark of power and hit very accurately. Jabs can be made stronger by stepping forward, or using proper timing with proper footwork and effective angles. Your jab should be strong enough to stop your opponent in the middle of a combination. No more, no less. From there, your jab should set you up to throw your power punches. When used defensively, a jab can make space, keep your opponents away, and distract your opponent while you slide off the ropes.

TYPES OF JABS

There are many different types of jabs and many ways to use the jab in boxing. Below are a few ideas to get you started but it’s best to use what works best for you.

Regular – The regular jab or the standard jab is just that – a jab. To throw the jab from the basic position, step forward with your lead foot as you extend your arm out towards your opponent. As you recover your lead arm, the rear foot moves forward to return you to your basic stance.

Tapper – This is a light punch that is used simply to make your opponent put up his defenses to give you time to land a harder punch or to skip out of harm’s way. A tapper jab can be repeated multiple times. The main point is to use the tapper jab to get your opponent’s defenses up; meanwhile, you’re holding all your energy back for your big right hand since you’re not committing too much to the jab. You can even tap his glove, then throw the right-hand to his face. Or tap his face and right-hand to his body. (Often used by Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe)

Space-Maker – This is the same as the tapper jab except that you leave your arm almost fully extended so your jab is quicker but weaker since it lacks the distance to generate power. Leave your left arm almost extended, throw small jabs and push as you make space and keep your opponent at bay. The space-maker can be thrown multiple times as you circle around to your opponent’s right side. (Left-handers will do the opposite). An important thing to notice about the space-maker jab is that it’s mainly there to just distract the opponent. It’s very quick and flashy, not powerful, so you have to make sure not to pull your arm all the way back. If you’re throwing multiple tapper jabs, leave arm almost fully extending as you throw multiple jabs to keep your opponent busy. It is VERY important to keep an eye out for your opponent’s right hand since extending your left arm leaves you vulnerable to punches on that side of your head. Also, ALWAYS be moving around when you use the space-maker; if you stand still and stretch your arm you will get hit with the hard right counter. (often used by Kostya Tszyu)

Power Jab – This can sometimes be more of a left cross than a jab. A power jab gets its power from your legs, your body rotation, and your angle on the opponent. For the legs to generate power into the jab, you have to step forward. You have to step swiftly and powerfully without lunging. A lunging jab might be the perfect weapon to catch your opponent off guard but don’t do it too much or else you’ll get countered. The success of lunging punches requires perfect timing, NOT speed. For your body to power the jab, it has to rotate a little. The easiest way to rotate your body as you jab is to circle to your opponent’s right side, which is your left side. While circling, your upper body will have to rotate a little to give you a straight angle shot at your opponent. The movement alone will position your body to throw the punch at your opponent at an angle. Using this angle makes the jab even more devastating. The most important thing to remember through all this is not to telegraph your jab by cocking it back. (Often used by Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto)

The Double Jab – The double jab is exactly what it sounds like – one good jab followed by another. The effectiveness of this punch relies on your opponent anticipating a one-two combination (jab followed by right-hand). He’s look for your right hand after your jab but instead you catch him off guard with another jab. The double jab works well when followed by a straight right to the head or body. Another way to use the double jab is when you find yourself in a jab contest where both of you are trading jabs and trying to throw 1-2 combinations. If your opponent is throwing a 1-2 , your double jab should counter effectively. Your first jab will trade or nullify with his jab, and your second jab will intercept the right hand and score the point. If he throws a left hook afterwards, your right-hand follow-up should be able to intercept that and score as well. A double jab can be used while moving forward, backwards, or sideways. It’s also important that you punch hard enough to stun your opponent if he tries to throw a straight right. (Often used by Oscar De La Hoya and Marco Antonio Barrera)

Body-Jab – This jab is thrown to the body. While it may not be strong enough to do damage to the body, it can distract your opponent and force him to drop his guard while you punch to his head with your right hand. (Often used by Shane Mosley and Arturo Gatti)

The Counter Jab – This move is done with precise timing and works best when you’re swift and relaxed. If you tense up or act like you have a counter, it won’t work as well. Here’s how it works: when your opponent throws a jab, you immediately, WITHOUT flinching your head back, stop his jab with your right glove, and then step forward and hit him directly in the face with a hard jab. Make sure your head is back a little in case he follows up with a hard right hand. If he lunges with his jab, you can also take a step back as you block his jab, and then quickly step forward to strike him with your own. Sometimes, people don’t expect you to counter so suddenly after retreating. (Often used by Erik Morales)

WAYS TO COUNTER AGAINST THE JAB

Unfortunately, a good jab will be hard to defend against. A jabber can be very difficult to get inside against, and at times downright annoying. Fighting a good jabber can be frustrating in amateur bouts since points can be scored even for ‘weak’ punches like the jab. Listed below are a variety of several ways to counter a good jab.

Change Distance – One way to defend against the jab is to keep moving in and out of striking range. Boxers who often use the jab are usually very aware of the distance between themselves and their opponents.

Right-Hook – This counter is effective against tall boxers or boxers who leave their head upright when they throw the jab. You can easily beat the jab by coming straight in with your body, bringing your head to the inside of the jab and throwing an overhand right to your opponent’s head. It’s a devastating counter and one that leads to many knockouts if your opponent doesn’t see the right hand coming. Again, the right-hand over the jab is one of the most devastating punches in boxing because it exploits your opponents’ blind spot.

Parry to Straight-Right – This counter works best against boxers who throw a lazy jab or like to push a jab and leave it hanging out there. This counter-punch also works well when the other boxer tires and takes longer to recover his arms. All you have to do is tap down on the opponent’s hand, parrying it slightly down as you quickly come forward and throw a straight-right hand right over it. This counter requires you to be on your toes and have your body leaning slightly forward as you see the jab coming.

Never Flinch – It is important that train to prevent the flinch reflex when the opponent’s jab is thrown. If you do that, it would be very easy for him to time your flinch movement, fake you out, and land a big punch later on.

WAYS TO SETUP THE JAB

There are many theories to properly using the jab aside from the methods I’ve listed above.

End with a Jab – Most fighters like to end their combos with a big right hand. The problem is that if you miss, your opponent could easily counter you. There’s an easy fix for this: end with a backstep jab. As you finish your combo, see if he’s going to lunge after you. If he does, pop him with a jab as you step back with your rear foot and leap away. The jab scores an extra point for you but also defends you from his counter right hand should he come after you.

Jab Up and Down – That’s right. Jab to head, throw to body. Jab to the body and throw to the head.

Light-Hard – Throw a light jab to his gloves and throw a hard jab through it. Throw a light jab to the body and hard jab to the face. Or throw a hard jab to the face and follow it with a quick light jab to keep his defenses up while you throw a hard right hand to the body. You don’t always have to throw a light jab, you could just fake a jab instead.

Jab-right fake-jab – Throw a jab, fake a right-hand, and jab again.

Jab- step back-jab – Throw a jab, step back out of range as he misses his counter, and quickly come forward with another jab. Sometimes, you can be so fast that he doesn’t expect it. Other times you can time it. Follow up with hard shots if he’s vulnerable.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The jab clearly is the best weapon in boxing. It can hurt your opponent, defend you from a right hand, create space for you, push your opponents away, and even tear flesh off your opponent’s face. Practice it and use it.

The Ultimate Boxing Jab Guide

 

New to Boxing? Here Are 16 Tips To Make You Better

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TRAINING TIPS:

    1. Stay calm and punch lighter on the bag so you can last more rounds, keep your form together, and punch sharp. This will allow you to get in more minutes of quality bagwork. You want to have energy to hit the bag with correct form and keep your punches snappy, instead of spending most of your bagwork panting and huffing to show that you have “heart”. Don’t waste energy showing off on the bag – nobody cares. Read More