A new wave of specialty gyms are mixing traditional boxing moves with body-weight exercises to create a calorie-torching total-body workout. At New York City's ShadowBox, master instructor Raymond Montalvo combines heavy bag work, shadowboxing, sit-ups, burpees, and squats into each session. In one 45-minute class, participants burn up to 500 calories. By keeping your heart thumping while recruiting muscles all over the body, this hybrid workout burns more fat than either weightlifting or cardio alone. In the process, you both lean out and build muscle, Montalvo says.
You don't need a boutique gym to benefit from boxing mash-ups. Montalvo insists you can do everything at home — even without gloves or a bag. He created three simple yet very effective boxing combos to combine with body-weight exercises. Try repeating the rounds of combos and strength moves for three complete circuits. You'll be sore, sweaty, and finished in less than 20 minutes.
Boxing combo: Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, uppercut (allow three seconds between combos to reset and breathe), 1 minute
Active rest: Push-ups, 1 minute
Boxing combo: Jab, jab, cross, duck (just a deep squat), cross (allow three seconds between combos to reset and breathe), 1 minute
Active rest: Squat jumps, 30 seconds; squat hold, 30 seconds
Boxing combo: Jab, cross (nonstop; start at a steady pace, gradually increasing the speed of the punches), 1 minute
Active rest: Burpees, 1 minute
"Just like a boxer in a fight, you are in complete control," Montalvo says. "Look at this routine the same way. Concentrate on going at your own pace, and modify any or all active rest to best suit your needs." You can even ditch the burpees, he says, and swap in a different exercise that you don't despise, as long as you stay moving.
As you build more strength and endurance over time, try working through the routine while holding 2-pound dumbbells for added resistance. You can also amp it up by simply repeating the routine or tacking on additional rounds.