That Time I Boxed for 20 Minutes

Dear Reader,

I have a confession. Whenever I find an experience or opportunity that I’m not really interested in, but I feel that it could be beneficial to me, I coax myself toward the activity with the thought— well, at least it will give me something to blog about…. It was exactly this sentiment that compelled me to sign up for a boxing fitness class.

I’m into working out, but I’ve probably spent no more than 45 minutes of my whole life thinking about boxing. Regardless, one day when I found myself with limited exercise class options (due to scheduling conflicts), I considered taking the 30-minute boxing classing being offered at the recreation center. With only 30 minutes, what’s the worst that could happen?

Okay, so nothing bad happened, but to be honest, not much good happened either. For those of you who enjoy boxing — I get the appeal. I’ve seen enough movies and TV shows where the characters, seemingly in their own world, throw rapid-fire punches into the bag until exhaustion. One can get lost in boxing — I get that, but it just wasn’t for me.

Boxing, as one would expect, is an upper body workout. When we stepped into the exercise room, the instructor pointed us to a sack of boxing gloves and asked us to stand by one of the punching bags for the duration of class. She then explained that we would do a five-minute warm up, 20 minutes of boxing, and then a five-minute cool down. A quick workout!

We stood left-side profile to the punching bag, so our left hand was in front (if you are right-hand dominant) and the right hand in the back. The instructor went through the basics:

  • Jab — the simplest move, the jab is just a punch (with the left hand, which is in front in this scenario) square into the bag
  • Hook — just like it sounds, the “hook” is thrown with a hooking motion of the left arm from outside into the punching bag
  • Cross — the cross, is thrown with the right hand (in this scenario where the right hand is in the back) and like the jab, the fist lands squarely into the bag
  • Uppercut — the upper cut is performed by taking the left hand, turning the palm to face you, and then performing an upward motion reminiscent of punching someone in the jaw

With each punch, the feet take small steps/ lunges into the bag and then similarly quick retreats as the hand is retracted. “Boxing is all about speed,” informed our instructor. She went through sequences with us including jab, cross, hook and hook, jab, upper cut, cross, jab.

Throwing the punches at the bag felt kind of “fake” at first to me. However, as we did more sequences and as they became faster, I finally began to understand how punching things could constitute a workout — I seriously broke a sweat (…as I usually do with any type of physical exertion, even though I am in shape, I swear). Finally, at the end of the workout, she told us to just throw jabs and crosses as fast as we could for 90 seconds (divided into 30 second segments with 10 second breaks in between).

If you were paying attention to the description of the punches, you may have noticed that three out of the four punches are all with one hand. This lack of symmetry was new to me as all of my other fitness classes made a point to train both halves of the body equally. Because this was a workout class (rather than a boxing for sport/ technique class), I was surprised that we did not change up our stance to give the other side a try. Similarly, I would have also liked to work out more than just my upper body (some kicks would have been cool tbh). Regardless, all the punches quickly became exhausting and the 20-minute boxing session was indeed a real workout! (…but I could have done more)

However, if you are like me and are more interested in a total-body workout (or you’re just not into punching things, also like me), then, perhaps, boxing is not for you.

At least, I tried 🙂



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