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Round 1: Shadow Boxing
To warm up, Foster recommends punch sequences. "Find a mirror, and aim at your face and body to stay on target." Keep a boxing stance — feet staggered, nondominant foot forward, knees bent, hands raised. Stay light on toes, and move in a semicircle, throwing rapid punches (any combination of the four illustrated here). Go for three minutes. Rest one minute. Repeat, this time holding three-pound dumbbells. Rest another minute. Do a final round holding five-pound dumbbells.
Round 2: Heavy-Bag Work
Punching a heavy bag increases endurance and power while "strengthening everything — shoulders, chest, back, arms, and legs," says Foster. Wear a pair of boxing gloves and do one three-minute round of punches, rotating the torso through each punch to generate force and snapping punches back as they land. Don't punch then stand around. Foster says to "dance with the bag," punching in a series — jabs, crosses, hooks — moving back to recover, then immediately punching again. After the three-minute round, rest one minute. Repeat twice.
Round 3: Jump Rope
"The more efficiently the heart works as a pump, the better the cardiovascular fitness," says Foster. "There's no better way to condition the heart than working a jump rope." The first goal is to do three straight minutes of continuous jumping, which is a lot harder than it may sound. Make it easier by hopping around, switching from foot to foot, crisscrossing. Take a one-minute break, then go for another three minutes. For a final three-minute round, try double jumps, rotating the rope twice under feet with each jump. This increases the cardio demand and sharpens coordination and balance.
Mastering the Double Jump
Torso should be upright, arms straight and slightly out to sides, wrists relaxed. Think of bouncing straight up and down, and don't jump higher — instead, rotate wrists faster to get the rope around twice with each jump.
Round 4: Crunch and Plank
The power in a punch doesn't come from the arm; it comes from the torque of twisting your hips and firing all that energy through the muscles in your core. Your obliques, abs, and lower back have to contract to throw (and absorb) punches, Foster says. While the twisting you do when throwing punches shadowboxing and hitting the heavy bag trains the obliques, the two exercises illustrated here strengthen the front and back of the core. Do them one after the other without resting, and then take a 60-second breather.
A) dumbbell crunch: Lie faceup, knees bent with feet planted on floor; hold a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand directly over chest, arms straight. Crunch up, keeping arms straight, until shoulder blades are off floor; slowly lower to starting position. Repeat for 12 reps.
B) Plank to failure: Hold a perfect forearm plank as long as you possibly can. (Aim for at least a minute; your goal is 2½ to 3 minutes.) Hips should be lifted and your back straight, with abs, quads, and glutes engaged, shoulders directly over elbows, and forearms parallel. Fix gaze six inches in front of you to keep neck neutral.
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