Friday, August 21, 2020

Getting Fit While You Hit

by Nick Strutz, Personal Trainer
This month, we've invited LSF personal trainer Nick Strutz to be our guest blogger.

A couple of years into my career as a personal trainer, I felt the need to expand my arsenal of tools to help my clients along their fitness journeys. I wanted something that was powerful and efficient in delivering results, as well as something that was dynamic and fun enough to make exercise something my clients could look forward to. That’s where boxing came in.

Boxing can be one of the most well-rounded approaches to getting into the best shape possible. Who doesn’t want to burn fat, increase cardiovascular endurance, target both upper and lower body muscles, improve coordination, release stress, and have fun all at the same time? Studies consistently show that, when done right, adding boxing to a fitness routine can decrease visceral fat, improve cardiac output or VO2 max, and lower one’s resting heart rate (1). In addition, boxing has been shown to be an effective treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. In one study, 83% of participants with Parkinson’s showed improvements in gait, balance, and overall quality of life (2).
It helps to do a little homework before jumping in. I wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt myself while learning the ropes and getting comfortable with boxing, and certainly didn’t want any of my clients to suffer injury, either. Here are a few helpful tips I’ve picked up along the way to make sure boxing is done as safely as possible:
  • Those dealing with any injury or chronic condition, especially in the wrist, elbow, shoulder, or neck should exercise caution in trying boxing.
  • As with strength training, circuits, or cardio, at least a light warm-up is helpful in preventing injury.
  • Before getting the gloves on, it is important to wrap the hands. Wraps can either be attached quickly with a Velcro sleeve, or the old-fashioned way with long ribbon-like wraps. This provides cushion and stability to the small joints in the knuckles and wrists and helps absorb the impact of punches.
  • When throwing a punch, be sure to keep the abdominal muscles engaged and the glute muscles active when necessary.
  • Before the punch lands, whether on a speed bag, heavy bag, or your trainer’s focus mitts, you will want to clench your fists to provide additional stability to the wrist.
  • When getting your head out of the way of a swipe as a defensive maneuver, be sure to step back with your back foot as opposed to arching your low back (bending at the low back to get out of the way).
Whether you want to blow off steam after a tough work day, learn self-defense, or incinerate body fat, there is something for everyone in boxing. When you feel ready to take your fitness to the next level, give it a try!


References
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4234943/ 
2. https://academic.oup.com/ptj/article/91/1/132/2735142

Additional resources:
Halbert, C. (2003). The Ultimate Boxer: Understanding the Sport and Skills of Boxing. Impact Seminars, Inc.

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