BALAZS BOXING NEWSLETTER
March 2007
Andy and JamieWelcome! In this month's issue Andy and Jamie discuss how to effectively use the Double-End Striking Bag. They offer some advice on how to monitor the effectiveness of your workout routine. Lastly, in the "Ask the Trainer" section, Andy and Jamie help motivate a reader to stick with her ab workout.

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!

IN THIS ISSUE

Boxing Drill #40: The Double-End Striking Bag
No need for a sparring partner when you have a double-end striking bag.

The double-end striking bag comes in a number of sizes, much like the speed bag, and has an air-filled bladder. A rope suspends the bag on the top and an elastic shock cord holds the bottom to give an unforgiving rebound action when it is hit. Because the surface is so much smaller than that of the heavy bag, the double-end striking bag challenges your eye-hand coordination.

There is an entirely different rhythm to hitting the double-end bag than any other bags. Heavy bags don't punch back; double-end bags do! You learn to bob and weave, slip and duck, keep your hands up, and move your head. When you strike the double-end bag, it will move quickly away, then rebound back at you. You can either wear punching bag gloves, or handwraps when hitting the double-end striking bag. Boxing gloves give a larger contact surface, slowing the bag movement and initially may be a better choice when starting.

Step 1: Address the bag in your boxing stance; keep your hands up, and get ready to move. Stay light on your feet, the weight centered towards the balls of the feet.

Step 2:  Strike the bag with a left jab and slip out of the way of the rebound. (slip to the right) Work on technique, not power. Try to strike the center of the bag, making the bag move directly back and straight at you. Move out of the way and then strike the bag again. Practice your slips, add footwork, move in and out, circle the bag, and mix up the punches.

Sample Combinations:

Left Jab (JAB - SLIP RIGHT) Snap a left jab. As the bag starts to rebound quickly slip to the right, and then move back into position, ready to throw your next punch. Repeat practicing the jab and slip until you find your rhythm.

Double Jabs (DOUBLE JAB - SLIP RIGHT) Throw two quick jabs and then slip to the right as the bag fully rebounds.

One-Two Combo (ONE-TWO - SLIP LEFT) Throw a quick one-two together, (no full rebound of the bag between the left jab and straight right) and then slip to the left side.

For more information refer to Boxing Drill #14 'understanding boxing terminology' in the Jan. 2005 issue of the Newsletter archives.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Is Your Workout Effective?
Are you losing motivation, and wondering why you should even bother working out? There are several factors that can help you monitor your progress, and many ways to measure each factor.

Photographs
A great motivation tool is to take photographs of yourself. When you place two pictures side-by-side, it's hard to miss the changes that are taking place. If you have just begun working out, you can compare "before" and "after" shots, over the course of several weeks, that can show you significant differences.

Body Fat
There are many devices for testing your body fat. These devices include hand-held instruments or body fat scales, and give you a reading in terms of body fat percentage.

The accuracy of these devices can vary, so make sure you consistently use the same device to measure yourself to see true results.

If you've ever taken a fitness appraisal at a fitness club, you should be familiar with the items below.

Calipers
Calipers measure the amount of fat stored beneath the skin by "pinching" the skin at various points on your body and measuring the size of the skin fold. Although you can use calipers to help you calculate body fat percentage, it is easier to use them to measure the millimeters of fat in the skin fold, and compare these numbers as the weeks go by.

Tape Measure
Tape measures are a good way to measure muscle mass increases and body fat reduction around the abdomen. You can also use clothes (pants size or dress size) as a tape measure. If your clothes are getting baggy in certain areas (around your waist) and getting tight around others (your arms) you know you're doing something right in your workouts!

Heart Rate
Heart rate monitors are light weight digital devices with special sensors placed around the chest that picks up the signal of the heart beating. Your upper and lower heart rate levels can be programmed into the monitor for training purposes. Heart rate monitors are great devices because you don't have to stop exercising to take your pulse and they are generally very accurate. At a glance you can tell how hard your system is functioning.

As your fitness level improves over a period of training weeks your heart rate readings will decrease. The heart rate measure should only be a guide when assessing the differences in your cardio fitness level. For complete accuracy on your maximum heart rate, consult your Doctor.

Strength
Keep a diary or a log sheet to record sets, reps, weight, and distance (for cardio). Over several weeks you will most definitely notice a gradual increase in these numbers.

Switch up your routine
It can take several months or more to see the results. If your physique is not where you want it to be, celebrate the fact that your health and fitness level have improved.

You should revamp your workout program every four to six weeks to avoid plateau.

Ask the Trainer:
"I find that lately I've been very consistent with my cardio workouts, and strength training, but unless I get an ab workout from a fitness class, I just won't do them. Any motivation trick I can use? By the way I hate crunches."

The muscles in your abs are responsible for maintaining your posture, so you don't want to ignore that important muscle group. Another reason to train your abs is to minimize or prevent back injury. Abdominal muscles improve posture and protect your internal organs. Three sessions of ab training a week should be sufficient.

In our February News letter we discussed how to execute proper abdominal crunches, I understand that you don't like doing them, but they're a great exercise.

Alternatives:
Stability Balls are great for working on your core strength, with a large variety of exercise that can be done.

Another alternative exercise is leg raises. Attempt leg raises by lying with back flat on the floor and then raising your legs about six inches from the ground. Raise and lower your legs for three sets of 12-15 reps. This is an advanced exercise, however, and may place some strain on the lower back and is not recommended for anyone with lower back problems.

"Do's and Don'ts" for abdominal exercise:

  • Do contract your abdominal muscles.
  • Don't hold your breath.
  • Don't Pull on your neck.
  • Don't arch your back too much. Keep a neutral spine.
  • Do use slow and controlled movements.
  • Don't swing your legs.
  • Don't continue repetitions if you lose your form.

- Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to info@BalazsBoxing.com

Product Recommendations:
DD0201 i-Box: Fitness Boxing Fundamentals DVD
BS2000 Balazs Double-End Striking Bag
MS0433 i-Box Speed Bag Platform
The Arnold Sports Weekend

To review the results of the competitions held at this year's festival or to sign up for next year's event, please visit either www.arnoldmartialarts.com or www.arnoldboxing.com.

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Endorsed by the World Boxing Council
Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.