No, boxing in the Philippines didn’t begin with Manny Pacquiao. It was the US servicemen who introduced it to the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in a desperate effort to avert the rising problem of suicide, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, drunkenness, and desertion among their sailors and soldiers. It was indeed a brilliant solution; it kept the athletes focused on the fight and off the many tempting vices surrounding them.
Boxing is considered a good stress reliever, a fantastic alternative to boring workout programs, and yes—a sport that can be practiced by both men and women! The exercises involved in a boxing training program increases your agility, coordination, and improves muscle tone.
Getting your boxing gear
Before beginning, you need to be acquainted with the proper attire and gear. You can wear any comfortable and breathable gym wear that you already own. Ensure that you can freely move in them so that your training won’t be disrupted. Wear shoes that have rubber soles to prevent accidents and injury.
The important boxing gear you need to own is a pair of hand wraps. These long strips of cloth are used to wrap your hands before wearing gloves. They protect your knuckles and wrists from injury. The next important gear is a pair of boxing gloves. The gloves should be close-fitting but comfy. Oftentimes, size 12-16 oz. gloves will do the trick if you are to use it for fitness boxing.
You also need at least two towels (one to wipe out sweat and another for your shower after the training) and a fresh set of clothes. Bring a bottle of water or sports drink so you can hydrate during break time. You are now pumped up to learn more about boxing for fitness.
Warm-ups and cool-downs
Fitness boxing is actually the same training that professional boxers follow, just without the sparring part. A session of training is mainly composed of 3 parts: the warm up, the boxing workout, and the cool down. The whole routine lasts between 30 minutes to an hour and a half; beginners usually start light and then progress to more complex combinations later on. Let’s get started with the training proper.
Warm up. It’s imperative that you always condition your body first with warm up stretches and cardio exercises before working out. Warm ups prepare your body for demanding tasks and is essential to avoid injury during training. Warming up lengthens your muscles and tendons, as well as lubricates the joints. For those who want to lose weight, warming up also improves your ability to burn fat stored in your body. A warm up only lasts for about 15 minutes. You start with basic stretching from head to toe and end with quick cardio for conditioning. Your cardio can be jogging in a treadmill or just around the gym, a few minutes of skipping rope or “shadow” boxing (i.e. trying to spar or fight an imaginary opponent).
Boxing proper. The core part of your training session, which lasts between 30 to 40 minutes, is composed of hitting drills that involve punching a series of targets—heavy bags, mitts, and speedballs. The heavy bags are used to practice your form and the strength of your punches.
Cool down exercises allow your body to go back to its normal state after boxing training. They also help you flush out toxins that accumulated in your body during training. For about 10 minutes, you need to do a bit of light jogging or walking and some stretching.