Boxing is the perfect exercise for building strength and getting rid of stress. But while it may look intuitive, proper technique is important for getting the most out of your workout while protecting your joints. Mona Lavinia, Rumble trainer and Lululemon ambassador from Washington, DC, is giving Health a virtual boxing lesson you can do from your living room.
Lavinia explains that this workout consists of five rounds, including the warm-up round. Each round includes three minutes of work, and then a one minute of active recovery, which means you continue moving your body to keep your heart rate elevated and prepare for the next round of work.
Get started with your feet hip-width apart. From there, square up into a boxer's stance. Step your dominant foot back a step; right-handed people will step their right foot back, and left-handed people will step their left foot back. Then, shift your weight back and forth between your legs, staying on the balls of your feet. This will help you move throughout the workout quickly and easily.
For your upper body, bring your arms up so your elbows are tucked in near your rib cage while your hands are balled into fists at either side of your face. Your dominant hand will be your "back hand" while your non-dominant hand will be your "front hand." The routine involves both front hand and back hand punches, so it's important to remember your front and back hand as you move through the workout.
Six Basic Punches
Before you get started working through the boxing moves, Lavinia demonstrates explains six basic punch techniques. Keep your knees bent and stay on the balls of your feet as you move throughout these punches:
1. Jab: Your front hand will come forward into a straight punch, with your thumb facing the floor. Your back hand will remain up in starting position, with your elbow tucked to your ribcage and your fist near your chin. Reset by returning your front hand to starting position.
2. Cross jab: Like the jab, the cross involves extending your back hand forward in front of your face. This time, twist your body to bring your back hand forward, pivoting your body. Reset by returning your back hand to starting position.
3. Front hook: Bring your front arm around in a hook-like shape. Pivot your front foot as you turn your hips inward and cross your arm over. When your elbow aligns with your shoulder, bring your front arm back to reset.
4. Back hook: Pivot your back foot as you make the same hook-like shape with your back arm. Turn your back hip inward as you flow through the motion; once your elbow aligns with your shoulder, bring your arm back in to reset.
5. Front upper cut: Bring your arm in a similar, hook-like position, but dropping your front arm and bringing it back up towards you, rather than around in front of you. Keep your palm facing your torso.
6. Back upper cut: With the same stance as the front upper cut, bring your back arm down and around. This time, pivot your back foot and twist your hips forward as you send your back arm to the front of the room.
Lavinia starts with a warm-up, beginning with basic jumping jacks, then switches into cross-jacks, crossing her arms on top of each other in front of her body as her legs cross beneath her. Next, she moves into fast high-knees before switching into butt-kickers, alternating each foot as she kicks her heel to her butt.
After the short cardio burst, Lavinia moves into a squat segment, ending with a squat-jump burst for 15 seconds. She finishes her warm-up with a few more jumping jacks and high-knees before cooling down with a boxer bounce from side to side.
Now,Lavinia runs through each of the six punches, starting with the front and cross jab. She keeps her elbows close to her body through each move and speeds up after each reset.
After running through a couple of front and cross jabs, Lavinia includes a front hook and resets after each set of punches. Add on a back hook, and repeat the four movements a couple of times for practice.
Once you've mastered that combination, switch out your hooks for upper cuts. Continue with a front and cross jab, then move into a front upper cut and back upper cut. Give this combination a few practice runs before moving forward. Put all six movements together and run through the series a few times. The final result should be in this order: front jab, cross jab, front hook, back hook, front upper cut, and back upper cut.
Your active recovery for this round will be one minute long, alternating between four standard squats and four pop-squats. For the pop squat, alternate touching the floor with each hand while in a squat, and jump to a stand between each movement.
The third round will focus on duck combinations and start in your boxer's stance. From there, punch out a front and cross jab, then bend your knees and lower your torso slightly forward into a duck. Repeat this series a few times before moving on.
For your next duck combo, you'll use a cross jab-front hook-cross jab pattern before returning to your starting position. Once you've nailed this move, put the two back to back, so you have the following pattern: front jab-cross jab-duck, cross jab-front hook-cross jab, reset.
Practice the combination: front upper cut-back upper cut-front hook. Once you have this series down, add onto your initial series, so that you have the following pattern: front jab-cross jab-duck, front upper cut-back upper cut-front hook.
For your active recovery, do two push-ups, followed by six mountain-climbers. Do as many as you can for one minute.
You've been practicing jabs throughout this entire workout, now show off what you've learned. In this round, start off by punching out three front jabs in a row, then resetting. Move on to alternating between front jabs and cross jabs, doing two of each before resetting.
Once you've practiced alternating between those moves, combine the two jab sequences you've just practiced, so that your series will look like this: front jab-cross jab-front jab-cross jab, front jab-front-jab-front-jab.
Continue to add on to this sequence by starting off again with a front and cross jab, then adding a front hook followed by a final cross jab before resetting. Add a front and back hook at the end of that sequence. Recover actively by doing jumping jacks for one full minute.
For the first 30 seconds of the final round, alternate between front and cross jabs, followed by front and back upper cuts. For the next 30 seconds, add in high knees as you run through this movement, punching out your jabs and upper cuts as you alternate raising each knee as high as possible. For your final 30 seconds, rotate through two front and cross jabs before dropping down to a push-up position and pushing up twice. Rotate through that series twice...then congratulate yourself for completing the workout!
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