Boxing is one of the best ways to get in shape fast, both mentally and physically.
Each workout burns hundreds of calories, challenges every muscle in the body and provides some much needed stress relief and you don’t need to be super fit to get started.
If one of your new year’s resolutions is to take more time out for yourself and get healthier, you don’t need to leave it until after Christmas to start as expert boxing trainer Stuart Wade from London’s swanky Retrofit gym, has shared some top tips exclusively with MailOnline.
Stuart Wade has been practising martial arts for over 26 years and has won 20 British/British Open/UK titles and four World Championships in Taekwondo and Kickboxing.
If you’re boxing for fitness, the only two essential items of kit you will need are boxing gloves and hand wraps to to protect the bones, joints and ligaments in your wrists and hands.
Stuart advises that spending between £40 to £50 on a pair of gloves should be good enough quality to protect your hands sufficiently and last quite a long time with regular use.
The Venum Unisex Adult Challenger 3.0s on Amazon are a decent entry level pair of gloves, according to Stuart.
Aim to spend between £40 to £50 on boxing gloves like the Venum Challenger 3.0 and make sure hand wrap is more than 3 metres long, according to trainer Stuart Wade
Wraps should be at least three metres in length so there is enough material to properly support the hand, like the 4.5 metre RDX Boxing wrap.
But if you’re worried about taping your hands yourself, the RDX glove boxing handwraps are supportive in their own right and you simply need to slip them over your fingers.
An essential part of any boxing workout is the warm-up, and several boxers follow the RAMP protocol. Raise the heart rate; Activate the muscles you’re going to be working; Mobilize the joints; Potentiate the muscles and get more specific with the movements you’ll be performing in the workout.
Part of your warm-up should be practising moves that you’ll do in the workout to prepare your body for the main exercise routine
Stuart shares how this can be done at home, explaining: ‘I would start with some light cardiovascular exercise, jogging, skipping, star jumps and stair climbs for up to five minutes. This shouldn’t be so strenuous that you feel exhausted, but you should feel warmer and perhaps slightly out of breath.
‘Following this I would do a general full body, bodyweight circuit. Then I would do a full body dynamic stretching routine. This would consist of head and neck rotations, arm circles forward and back, torso twists rotating the body, hip circles, leg abductions circling the knee outwards, ankle and wrist circles.
‘Do five to 10 repetitions each way on each of these stretches before moving on to some specific exercises that you’re going to be doing in your workout. Just a regressed version, with fewer repetitions or a lighter intensity.’
Practising jabs and punches at a low intensity is a great way to warm up the muscles, according to champion martial arts expert Stuart Wade
Before you start the boxing itself, you may be interested in hearing of a simple way to avoid a common mistake in training.
According to Stuart, who has won 20 British/British Open/UK titles, three European Championships and four World Championships in Taekwondo and Kickboxing, the most common mistake beginners make is not keeping their wrist straight when punching.
‘No matter what punch you are throwing, a jab, cross, hook or uppercut, you should always keep your wrist straight,’ he explains. ‘You should impact with the two biggest knuckles on the index and middle fingers. Anytime your wrist deviates from a straight position you are putting yourself at risk of injury.
‘And if you want to punch harder you need to learn the correct technique.’
Retrofit master boxing trainer Stuart Wade demonstrates good technique, keeping the wrist straight to avoid injury
Another way to punch harder involves doing more resistance training so that you increase the number of muscle fibres you have and therefore the potential for more power in your punches.
Stuart adds: ‘Strengthening your muscles with resistance training and incorporating explosive, power exercises, like medicine ball chest passes for example, you will send a stronger neural signal to your muscles, recruit more muscle fibres and therefore punch with more power.’
Quick 15 Minute Home Boxing Routine
1) Three x two-minute round of skipping with 30 seconds rest in between
2) Three x two minute rounds of shadow boxing with 20 to 30 seconds rest in between.
First round combination- jab, cross, roll right, cross, hook, cross.
Second round combination- four uppercuts (left, right, left, right), hook, cross.
Third round combination- jab, cross, jab, cross, slip right, slip left, hook, cross.
3) Two x core routine consisting of a plank hold for 30-60 seconds, a side plank hold for 30 seconds each side and 12 lying back extensions.
Always remember to warm up, as per Stuart’s advice above and aim to cool down with static stretches for at least 5 minutes afterwards
Boxing Kit List For Pros
As you progress in boxing, you may be interested in hearing tips from the boxing trainer pro about recommended punchbags, pads and footwear.
To practice doing pad work with a partner, a good place to start is with a pair of focus mitts. These mitts will probably be slightly curved and similar in appearance to a baseball mitt, only with more padding. Oftentimes these focus mitts will have a target to aim for in the middle to help your accuracy when punching.
Boxing boots provide more ankle support for moving around, stepping and pivoting with your punches.
These Lonsdale ones are quilted and have cushioned ankle collar for extra comfort. But they are also super lightweight so you can move around fast.
This is a great wall mounted punch bag, which takes up minimal space against a wall. However, when using a wall mounted bracket for a hanging bag, the bracket needs to be strong enough to carry the bag and withstand vibrations from your punches. The wall also needs to be strong enough to hold the bracket and the bag.
The RDX Professional hanging bag comes with gloves and hand wraps included for the ultimate starter set
If you don’t want to drill holes into your walls to hang a bracket, a freestanding punch bag is a great option. The narrow base of the gallant bag makes it easier to move around it so you can bob and weave without tripping over!
There are no nuts and no bolts and you can simply push it to the side of your room when done