The Art of the Sweet Science
Numerous studies and polls have found a direct correlation between happiness and a sense of community. For myself, that sense of community was found in an old run-down warehouse where people punch each other for fun. I fell in love with boxing at an early age, but it was not until I matured and found my passion as a trainer, that I realized all that boxing has to offer.
Often people will tell me they are interested in boxing but don’t want to get hit. I sometimes will joke and tell them that the first day of training requires bare knuckle sparring at full contact. It only isn’t funny when they think I’m actually being serious.
In reality, you can gain many of the benefits without taking any blows. I emphasize with all my clients the importance of boxing with proper technique. Besides the obvious decreased risk of injury, boxing with proper form will also allow you to get a full body workout and recruit more muscles.
People who are new to boxing are more likely to use the swinging motion of their arms to generate force in a punch. However, if you watch a professional fight, you will notice that the boxers are generating power from the ground up. Just like a whip, a boxer uses the kinetic chain to develop torque and force. Much of this power is utilized through trunk and hip rotation. The internal and external obliques help increase and decrease this force.
Another primary muscle used in engaging proper form when boxing, is the Serratus Anterior. Often called the “boxer’s muscle”, the SA helps with scapular protraction. The SA allows the punch to reach further forward by pulling the scapula around the ribcage.
A good boxing program should consist of a variety of different punches. Different punches put emphasis on certain muscles. For instance, when throwing a hook, the bicep is used to help stabilize and retract your arm quickly after it has been thrown. When throwing the jab and cross, the triceps are engaged when the punch is extended. Throughout a boxing workout, the deltoids are engaged simply by holding your arms in a defensive position and from throwing hundreds of different combinations.
When a punch is thrown the front and middle deltoids are used, when you retract the punch the rear deltoids take over. This is why you might notice that most boxers, or people who have boxed for some time, have very developed shoulders.
There are many well-known benefits of boxing for fitness. Some of these include increases in cardiovascular health, hand-eye coordination, reflexes, anaerobic capacity, as well as increase in bone mineral density. Recently, boxing has been shown to help people suffering with Parkinson’s disease. It has been shown to help with balance, coordination, as well as posture, which can help ease some of the symptoms associated with the disease.
Besides the physical benefits boxing offers, it can help tremendously with stress relief and anger management. I have had the majority of my clients tell me they leave the gym feeling a sense of calmness after hitting the mitts or heavy bag for thirty minutes or an hour. Maybe they just like swinging at me.
Either way, boxing has profoundly increased the quality of my life, and I look forward to helping all my PEX clients see the benefits of the Sweet Science.