Boxing is often maligned as a violent sport. The media glamorises certain aggressive aspects, whilst ignoring the intense fitness regime required to attain the necessary level of strength, stamina and agility. Muscle-bound men are portrayed mindlessly flailing oversized gloves, their grimaced faces attempting to intimidate their opponents with unbridled ferocity. 

Take a look beyond the stereotype and you may be surprised to find that boxing provides a comprehensive, full body workout and offers additional benefits beyond fitness.

The following provides an overview of boxing exercise principles that provide benefits for both mind and body.

Boxing for Fitness
Credit: BD

1. Balance

One of the key aspects of boxing is to maintain good balance. Correct positioning of the feet provides a stable base for the upper body, allowing effective delivery of offensive and defensive punching maneuveres.

2. Technique

Correct punching technique is extremely important to ensure the body moves efficiently and power is maximized. A poor technique leaves the boxer open to attack and is a surefire way to end up face first on the canvas. 

3. Strength and power

A boxing match is won and lost on the punching ability of the two participants. Building up the necessary strength and explosive power takes many hours of intense training. Body weight exercises build strength and increase muscle mass. Commitment to a high level of intensity brings better results and increases the likelihood of success. 

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4. Concentration

An ability to intensely concentrate and calm the mind when under extreme physical and mental pressure is something that all boxers strive for. The aggression that is inherent in the sport can cloud the judgment of the inexperienced and result in a less than satisfactory outcome.

5. Timing

A sense of timing is crucial to be able to anticipate your opponent's next move and launch an attack or initiate a defensive sway.  Hand to eye coordination will enable a boxer to pick their moment wisely.

6. Stamina

A high level of fitness that enables the body to be pushed to the limit is an important feature of the successful boxer. An ability to 'go the distance' and prevail for 12 rounds is often the difference between glorious victory and devastating defeat.

It is not necessary to climb under the ropes and into the ring to obtain the benefits offered  by boxing. Punching a bag, sparring with a floor-to-ceiling ball or hitting a speedball will provide you with opportunities to improve your balance, technique, timing and concentration. Weight training will build strength. Skipping rope and running will improve stamina and cardiovascular fitness.

There are many boxing for fitness gyms that specialize in the principles of the sport and enable you to enjoy them in a non-threatening environment. The emphasis is not on matching yourself against an opponent but on improving yourself and having fun. Many fitness centers offer a circuit based experience that ensures variety and promotes an all over body workout to get the most out of your time at the gym.