Put your beer gut down for the count by finding your inner Ali.
That’s the word from Down Under, where for 16 weeks researchers at the University of Western Sydney put 12 overweight but fairly healthy people into two test groups: one that walked briskly four times a week for 50 minutes per session, and one that hit a heavy bag for the same amount of time, and did five boxing-related interval exercises—heavy bag, focus mitts, circular body bag, footwork drills, and skipping—in three-minute intervals (2 minutes on, 1 minute rest).
Four months later, the boxers had clearly won the bout: Their waist size was down 2.6 inches, they’d dropped an average of 11 pounds, and their body fat was 13% lower; even their heart rate and blood pressure were vastly improved. And the walkers? They’d lost just a quarter inch from their waists, barely a half pound overall, and only 5% of their body fat. And though their heart rate was a bit better, their BP was inexplicably worse.
Despite the study’s small size, it’s obvious that, for getting lean, sleek, and shredded, putting on some gloves and whacking a heavy bag beats the shit out of taking a brisk walk.
Keep clicking for an additional ass-kicking, fat-melting boxing workout courtesy of Sonny Guzman, CPT, boxing instructor at Gotham Gym in New York City.
The Prep Work
Before we get into the details of the workout, here’s what you’ll need and need to know:
1. Boxing wraps – 120”
2. Boxing gloves – a 14oz-16oz glove is best
3. Boxing focus mitts – one set
4. Jump rope
5. Set of dumbbells – two 5-10lb
“Boxing is a phenomenal way to help you get started or continue on your weight loss journey to lead an ultra-healthy lifestyle,” Guzman says. Especially since you can burn 800 to 1,000 calories in a single hour of boxing. Dynamic movements and delivery always yield dynamic results, he says.
For the beginner, a boxing class will teach you basic boxing skills, techniques, and help increase muscular strength and cardio endurance. It’ll also take your core strength to the next level. The following routine will include cardio boxing, shadow boxing, stance, defensive movements, focus mitt work, and fat-scorching ab exercises so you can do this at home with a partner if you can’t make it to the gym. You’ll drop fat, improve your blood pressure, and build muscle in the process.
One last thing to remember before we begin, Guzman says: Always keep your hands up by your chin to protect your face and elbows tucked in to protect your ribs. Got it? Good.
Duration: 15 minutes
“The warmup is essential,” Guzman says. “It warms your muscles, enables proper blood flow, and ensures more pliable and dynamic movements.” Don’t skip it—seriously. And lastly, remember to breathe.
30 seconds – light bouncing on the balls of your feet
30 seconds – jumping jacks
30 seconds – high knees
30 seconds – nonstop punches while in squat position
5 second rest
*Repeat 3 times*
30 seconds – jumping split squats
30 seconds – cross jacks (mimic the motion of jumping jacks while crossing your arms in front of you)
30 seconds – hook punches (punch in an arc so you move horizontally and up, like a modified uppercut) in squat position
Rest 10 seconds
*Repeat 3 times*
60 seconds – mountain climbers
60 seconds – squat to high knees
150 rope skips – with jump rope
Catch your breath and get ready for the workout.
Duration: About 50 minutes
1. Shadow Boxing – 10 minutes
“Shadow boxing prepares the body, spirit, and mind by introducing proper boxing posture, movements, and technique into the workout,” Guzman says. Really concentrate on your form at this time to prep for your actual punches.
Directions: Maintaining an athletic stance—soft knees, legs staggered with one foot in front of the other (if you’re right-handed, your left foot will be forward, right foot back; vice versa for lefties), core engaged, chin down, and hands raised in front of your face—go through any combination of these basic moves for 10 minutes.
Jab: Push off your back foot and snap your lead arm out quickly. You won’t need to do this for shadow boxing, but for maximum power during boxing, imitate a corkscrew and twist your arm a bit to lean into the punch.
Cross: Follow an imaginary line from your chin across your body into the target with your right hand (if you’re a righty). You’ll pivot your back foot in and garner power through that leg as you rotate your hips and punch.
Hook: To land a hook, put your weight in your rear leg and pivot your right foot while you bring your lead arm toward the target, making sure your elbow is bent at 90 degrees. Turn your hips into the punch.
Uppercut: Shift your weight slightly to the hip of your rear leg. Crouch down a bit and dip the same side’s shoulder. With your palm up and arm bent 90 degrees, forcefully rotate toward your lead leg and push off the ball of your back foot, driving the punch up. Your palm should face you upon impact.
Slips and dips: This is a defensive technique where you bend your knees to lower your body a few inches. You can simply dip down or side to side, bobbing and weaving.
2. Focus Mitt Work – 20 minutes
“This requires a partner willing to hold the mitts as you strike them,” Guzman says. Luckily, your partner will also get a good fat-burning workout as he/she matches your punches with the mitts.
Directions: Complete five sets of 3-minute rounds with 1 minute active rest*. Work through the following combinations:
3. Uppercuts and slips with dips
*For your 1 minute active rest, complete 50 reps of any of these exercises: rope skips, burpees, bicycle crunches, planks, or high knees, Guzman says.
150 rope skips (minimum)
60 seconds – mountain climbers
30 – power jacks
50 – pushups
50 – dumbbell squat curl press (With your arms at your sides, dumbbells in either hand, squat down. As you rise, curl the dumbbells, then press them overhead.)
Complete a 5-10 minute cool down (no gloves needed).
*If you’re more advanced, here are some more focus mitt combos:
Jab-Right Uppercut-Left Hook-Cross