Sometimes rehearsal is a lot safer than the real thing. 

shadow boxer

Ski and snowboard acrobats rehearse over a trampoline with bungee cords tied above them to prevent injuries as they learn new flips.  Even sword-fighters in the days of the French musketeers had to come up with a rehearsal format.  Thus was born the art of ballet, which basically incorporates all the jumps, thrusts, lunges and spins needed to keep the swordsmen sharp between wars.

Boxing is another such sport.  In actual combat, or a pro fight, boxing is indeed very dangerous.  Every blow to the head counts as a potential brain injury, from which the brain has very limited powers of recovery. In addition, head injury is also possible including injuries to both the the scalp and skull.

For the few who do this as a profession, there are now a great number of safety measures installed, such as pre-fight physical examinations, MRI’s of the brain, neuropsychological testing, and on-site physicians.  But for the general public, one can gain a lot from boxing as a rehearsal – especially in terms of eliminating the risk of brain injury or head injury.  In other words, be the boxer, not the box-ee. 

 As the popularity of arena fighting surges, ordinary people are learning to get their fitness from fighting against inanimate objects such as the heavy punching/kicking bags, or the hand-pads held in place by the trainer.  In a way, this gives the best of options; no head contact, yet full benefits of the sport.

boxing bag

For most people working at a computer all day, the back hunches, the neck is craned forward, and the abdomen sags.  Over time, this becomes a habitual then permanent “posture creep”.  In order to reverse this trend of the modern office work, boxing (as training) is extremely efficient.

As with any sport, there are issues of technique.  Boxing is more than just beating away on a bag, as any coach will tell you.  Proper technique involves good posture, balance, footwork, and rotation around your core.  As one arm advances to land a jab, the other shoulder rotates backward, in order to add strength to the punch.  This involves great use of the back and shoulder-blade muscles, as well as the abdominal ones, all of which are ignored in our desk posture.

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Boxing is a higher-impact alternative cardio exercise routine. If you are looking for something new to add to your regular exercise routine then perhaps you look for boxing gloves and bags. Boxing is a good way to build both strength and endurance and can be a great way to add to your abdominal exercises. Speed bags and heavy bags offer different ways to develop a core work out, letting you choose what’s most comfortable for you. Workout balls offer another option, allowing you to stretch, strengthen muscles and augment your abdominal workout exercises.

Even without equipment, shadow boxing in front of a mirror, (or, in the picture below, on a beach) can be very useful, especially for your core mid-section or abdominal exercises.

shadow box beach

In much the same way as Tai Chi can rehearse martial arts, one can even slow down the motions, and practice good boxing form between lessons.

While the subject of professional risks is best left to another forum, be sure to consider boxing lessons as one way to strengthen your core, improve your cardio fitness, and burn off a lot of calories in just a few minutes.  You will quickly appreciate how long a two or three minute round can be!

Professional trainers demonstrate great results in teaching the “sweet science” to all age groups, from school children to octogenarians. 

For more info, see

ring fit boxing

That’s where I train with Stephan Boyd, Canada’s middleweight champion in 2012.  He and his professional coaches make a great training team.  If you are interested, check out similar facilities in your area.  As a break from the mental and physical stresses of office work, this could be one of the more fun fitness options for you to explore.

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