Boxing has long been recognized as producing some of the most fit athletes on the planet, but only comparatively recently has the boxer’s training regimen made its way into the world of general fitness. At State Street Boxing Club, we believe there is no more comprehensive workout than that of the boxer. While there may be other workouts that focus more on strict cardio, muscle building, or flexibility, there is no other single workout that develops functional strength, endurance, tone, coordination and flexibility like the boxer’s.
Essentially, there are two types of boxing programs: contact and non-contact. Initially, these programs are exactly the same. The beginner, regardless of his or her eventual intentions, must first learn the rudiments of the sport – the proper stance, how to move while maintaining the proper stance and balance, the various punches and punch combinations, effective head movement, and, finally, how to link all of these separate elements into a fluid continuous whole. These skills will be used on the floor in shadowboxing, in pad work (in which the boxer strikes a pair of padded mitts held by a training partner or coach), and on the gym’s primary training and conditioning tool, the heavy bag. In addition to this, both the fitness boxer and the competitive boxer must learn to hit the speed and double-end bags, what we call the light bags. For the fitness boxer, all of the work revolves around learning and continually improving his or her skills on these various tools. It’s important to emphasize this aspect of continually improving, as one of the great things about boxing, even if you never lace up a glove with bad intentions, is that there is always room for improvement, be it in technique or conditioning. One can always become faster, smoother, stronger, crisper, more balanced, more knowledgeable, more comfortable, in a word: better. There is always some aspect of your training that can be focused on and improved, which keeps the workout interesting and intense.
Contact work, or sparring, is where the roads of the fitness and fighting boxer diverge. Learning to box an opponent is every bit the step-by-step disciplined process that learning non-contact work is, that learning any skill is. Should you choose to pursue contact training, the first thing you will focus on is defense. The primary goal of boxing is to hit and not be hit. For this reason, before any punches are ever exchanged, you’ll be taught the three basics means of avoiding being hit: blocking punches, moving your head to avoid punches while remaining in front of your opponent, and using your legs to vacate the area where your opponent hopes you’ll be. After you’ve been spent some time on these three defensive tools, you’ll spend some time learning to return punches after having successfully avoided being hit, or what boxers refer to as counterpunching. Both the defensive maneuvers and counterpunching will be introduced via controlled drills, executed with a partner. In time, the training wheels will come off and you’ll allowed to work on putting all of these skills to work in free sparring. How long this may take depends entirely on your aptitude and application. Nothing beats hard and consistent work.
Our kickboxing program, while not strictly cardio-kickboxing, has no competition element. It exists entirely for fitness. The style we teach is a combination of boxing hand techniques and Muay Thai kicks. Our aim in our kickboxing classes is to give you an hour of nearly non-stop bag work and conditioning. There are many variations on this theme – working on various punches and punch combinations, then working on individual kicks; working on various punch and kick combinations; going back and forth between heavybag work and conditioning exercises on the floor - the possibilities are many, with every workout designed to build endurance, strength, and flexibility. We don’t do any sparring with legs, but we can promise you a great workout in which you get to employ all of the kicks and punches a competitive kickboxer would use.
While everything we do in the gym contributes to overall conditioning, we also offer what we call Conditioning Classes, in which the focus is entirely on straight conditioning exercises. In these classes, you will go through a series of varying plyometric-type exercises to help develop endurance, power, and explosiveness. While you will occasionally use light dumbbell weights, primarily you will use your own bodyweight as resistance. Working through variations of pushups, pull-ups, plank, lunges, and squats, these plyometric routines will greatly assist in developing both the stamina and the fast-twitch explosive power necessary to truly effective punching and kicking. This kind of work is designed to build lean effective useful muscles, rather than simply adding bulk. Whether you’re aim is to compete or just to get in the best possible shape, these classes will take your fitness to the next level.