Boxing Workout: Hit Like a Girl
A do-anywhere boxing routine with high-intensity moves that sculpt muscles
Women's boxing made its debut at the 2012 Olympics in London, marking the first time that all summer sports had female athletes. (Took 'em long enough!) The landmark decision reflects the sport's fast-growing popularity among women.
Over the past few years, chicks have been pouring into boxing gyms and boxing-based fitness classes in record numbers, hooked on the one-two punch of high-intensity cardio and muscle-sculpting moves. (Cardiokickboxing classes, for example, have grown 37 percent in the past three years.)
"Boxing gives you a sleek, defined body and improves your speed and reflexes," says Michael Olajide, co-owner of Aerospace High Performance Center in New York City. There are some serious mental perks too: Because boxing requires a focused mind, it can almost serve as a form of meditation. "Students often walk in with a problem, and it's gone by the end of class," says Olajide.
Perform this explosive total-body workout, created by Olajide, up to five times a week: Do round 1, rest up to one minute; move to round 2, rest, and finish with round 3. Nix the breaks to boost your calorie burn.
EXERCISE 1-ROUND 1
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, one slightly in front of the other, knees slightly bent. Bring your fists up, one slightly in front of the other, palms facing each other and elbows close to your body. (This is boxing stance.) Punch your back fist straight in front of you at shoulder level, rotating your torso and fully extending your arm.
A. Hit: Left Jab, Right Power Punch, Left Uppercut
Stand with your left foot forward and hold light weights as you complete all three punches in order (that's one rep) at a slow, controlled pace. Do 12 reps. Drop the weights and do eight more reps, pausing for a few seconds at the end of each uppercut, then immediately complete 16 reps as quickly as possible. Switch to the opposite side, leading with your right foot and using your right hand for jabs and uppercuts and your left for punches, and repeat the entire sequence.
B. Lunge and Squat
Step your left foot forward and bend your knees to lower your body until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Return to start. Do eight reps slowly, then step a few feet out to the right and bend both knees to lower your body until both thighs are parallel to the floor. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat the entire sequence.
C. Jump Rope
Holding a rope in one hand, hop from side to side for 10 seconds, then grab the handles with both hands and jump rope for 30 counts. Repeat five times.
EXERCISE 2-ROUND 2
Get into boxing stance. In one motion, drop your shoulder, turn your wrist so that your palm is facing you, and punch your fist upward.
A. Hit: Left Jab, Right Power Punch, Left Uppercut, Right Hook
Stand with your left foot forward and hold light weights as you complete all four punches in order (that's one rep) at a slow, controlled pace. Drop the weights and do 12 more reps, pausing for a few seconds at the end of each hook, then immediately complete 16 reps as quickly as possible. Rest for a few seconds, then do another 16 reps quickly.
B. Single-Leg Squat
With your feet more than hip-width apart, raise one leg behind you. Bend the standing knee to lower your body as far as you can, keeping your back leg off the ground. Press through your heel to return to start. Do four slow reps, then do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat the sequence.
C. Jump Rope
Do four jumps on both feet, then four jumps on your left foot, followed by four jumps on both feet and four jumps on your right. Repeat this sequence for two and a half minutes.
EXERCISE 3-ROUND 3
A. Hit: Right Jab, Left Power Punch, Right Uppercut, Left Hook
Stand with your right foot forward and hold light weights as you complete all four punches in order (that's one rep) at a slow, controlled pace. Drop the weights and do 12 reps, pausing for a few seconds at the end of each hook, then immediately complete 16 reps as quickly as possible. Rest for a few seconds, then do another 16 reps quickly.
B. Iso Squat
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands behind your head, then bend your knees and sit your hips back to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for one minute, lifting both heels slightly off the ground.
C. Jump Rope
Jump rope for two and a half minutes. Once you get into a good rhythm, try crossing your arms in front of your body and swinging the rope beneath your legs every 10 to 15 jumps.