B oxing is a high-impact sport that will burn a lot of calories and put the majority of your muscles to work. Compared to a traditional gym machine workout, which implies doing a lot of pulling and pushing on a fixed structure, boxing requires you to focus on hitting the bag, which is not always coming back on the same path since the best speed bag platforms try to mimic the response of a real adversary. This means that you need to be precise, so you must have all your muscles, even the smallest ones, set to respond.
The speed bag will increase your hand speed, which according to Alan H. Kahn, the author of the famous book The Speed Bag Bible, will lead to more force in your blows. Below, we take a look at the muscle sets that get stimulated when you work out and discuss the main benefits you can get by including pugilism in your life.
5 major muscle sets are involved when you train for boxing, but the level to which they activate can be different conditional on the movement you execute and the intensity of the workout, according to this study. Here is more info on them.
The 2 main movements you are doing are extension and abduction, and you use the same muscles you would engage if you would hit a punching bag: your biceps and triceps. The first group controls the rotation of your arm (with your palm up or down), is responsible for flexion, and also acts as a stabilizer, protecting the shoulder joint. To lengthen your arm and hit the bag, you will use your triceps, which are located on the back of your arms.
In the beginning, you will be putting a lot of pressure on your shoulders, which, according to this clinical trial, tend to be used more extensively by amateur boxers than by professionals. The focus is directed toward the deltoid, as it is the one responsible for the arm extension and flexion but also helps you do rotation movements. So keep in mind that when you are throwing a punch, you are not only using your arms but your delts.
The second major muscle found in this area is the teres major, and it is also responsible for rotating and expanding your arm. For more fine movements, you have your rotator cuff muscles that turn your arm inward and outward.
Your torso contains your pecs, back muscles, and abs. The boxing stance requires you to keep all these muscles in guard, which means that you are expected to keep your back straight and your chest up. Your abs get engaged as you punch, especially if you are training for uppercuts. Regarding your back section, you have three types of muscles here: deep (erector spinae), intermediate (serratus), and superficial (lats, trapezius, rhomboids). Studies have shown that when you hit, your deep muscles get more engaged than your superficial ones, which means that, as a boxer, you have better offensive power than defensive. Most pugilists choose to develop their superficial groups as well through strength workouts.
You cannot hit the speed bag with your leg, but this doesn’t mean that you will not be putting your legs to works. Your quads and hams work together during your leg game to help you move forward and backward. You also make use of your calves and other minor muscle groups as you apply your attack and defense strategies.
Your hips are responsible for maintaining your balance as they make the connection between your torso and your legs. As you move your weight from one leg to another, you provide a good workout for your hips as well.
We have already established that boxing doesn’t only involve your fists but your entire body, so it can guarantee a complete workout program. But it can offer a lot of other profits for your health so let’s take a look at the most significant of them:
You are considered in shape if you have an optimal body percentage, and this is between 21 and 24% for women and 14 to 17% for men who are not athletes. However, you also need to have a healthy muscle mass according to bioelectrical impedance analysis, which will differ with age and gender but should stay over 60% for women and 70% for men. Pugilism can help you replace the fat in your body with muscle mass, thus improving your general fitness and also decreasing the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Not only that this will improve your game by getting better at coordinating your sight with the movement of your hands but, according to this study from 2020, you will get better at doing other tasks like using tools and machines. It is also a good way to get back the strength in your hands or regain your balance if you suffered an accident and are in the recovery phase.
Losing weight isn’t the exact purpose of using a speed bag, yet the results can be surprising. In fact, depending on your weight, you may lose between 300 and over 400 calories per hour, so this can be a steady way to stay fit or even shed off a few pounds if you are willing to change your diet for a healthier one.
This article published in the BioMed Research International journal showed that if children are exposed to collateral-bilateral physical activities (like boxing), their speed of processing information increases considerably, helping them solve mental tasks more rapidly and maintain their focus for longer. What this study says is that the fact that you need to maintain a steady rhythm while hitting the bag can help you be more productive at your job.
This mostly depends on the results you are expecting. If you are just trying to get better accuracy, maintaining a regular rhythm for 5 minutes each day is ideal. If you are trying to build endurance, then you need to divide your workout into 3 to 4 sets and keep punching for 5 to 10 minutes for each set. On the other hand, if you are trying to lose weight, your training should extend over half an hour and up to an hour per day. It shouldn’t be continuous but divided into sets so you get time to regain your force from time to time and maintain the same performance.
More people are investing in pugilism equipment these days, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are planning on entering the boxing ring. This sport is fun and extremely beneficial for health, not to mention that it helps you learn some defensive tactics you can pull out in case you ever get attacked on the street. Contrary to what it may seem at first sight, this type of workout requires you to use your whole body as you don’t only need to throw punches but to defend yourself from the bag’s rebound and move around it as you would around a real opponent. If you haven’t yet had the chance to try this sport, you should know that it is never too late to start, especially if you want to practice it for yourself.