BALAZS BOXING NEWSLETTER
November 2006
Andy and JamieWelcome to our November newsletter. We switch it up in this issue and offer some kicking drills to add a new dimension to your heavy bag workouts. In the Fitness Tip, we review the safety reasons behind proper form for performing each exercise you undertake. In Ask the Trainer, Andy and Jamie provide coaching guidance to an instructor looking to get the best out of her students. Good Luck!

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!

IN THIS ISSUE

Boxing Drill #36: Getting Your Kicks!
Adding kicks to your heavy bag workout can provide another dimension and combination element to your fitness program. Kicking not only works your leg muscles but also improves your core (stomach and back) strength.

Executing kicks takes a lot of energy and generates a lot of power, so as you incorporate them into your routine you can burn more calories. Be careful not to emulate the elaborate kicks you see on TV and in the movies. They may be impressive, but mostly they are ineffective for a fitness routine. You are more likely to injure yourself than use one to defeat an opponent. Focus on simple easy to execute kicks and your fitness level will get a "Kick" of its own.

Here are two basic kicks: the Side Kick, and the Roundhouse Kick. These are fairly easy to execute and are therefore safer and more efficient for fitness uses. These two kicks work the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles. The motion also works your obliques, hip flexors, and calves.

Short Side Kick - Left Foot

Start with your feet and hands in the classic boxing stance with left foot lead. With hands up in a protective position, rotate the shoulders turn chest a few inches to the right, and lean back slightly. Center your bodyweight over your rear (right) foot. At the same time, lift your left knee up to waist level. Practice this move if you have trouble balancing. Then extend the left leg straight out toward the bag or target with your toes pointing to the right. Strike the bag or target with the bottom of your left foot; the primary impact should be with the heel, as opposed to the arch or ball of your foot. Pull your knee back and down and resume the classic stance.

Roundhouse Kick - Right Foot

Get into your boxing stance with left foot lead. Pivot on your left foot, twisting your hips to the left while raising your right knee to around waist level. Extend your right leg in a semicircular movement forward and towards the target. Contact the target with the top of your foot, where your shoelaces cross. Rotate your hips back to the right and resume the classic stance.

Practice these kicks in front of a large mirror, continually checking that your body stance is balanced. Be aware that there will be more of a rebound from the heavy bag when kicking. Also, as you begin kicks that flow and feel smooth in the air (without contact) may feel awkward and sloppy when first done on the bag. Keep trying though, soon enough you'll be shaping your butt and abs like never before.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Perfect Form for Perfect Workouts
Whenever you are exercising- whether lifting weights, running, swimming or boxing, there is a specific way to perform each type of exercise. Doing the exercise in the prescribed manner ensures two things:

1) You get the most possible benefit from the activity. Sloppy form robs the targeted muscles of the precise stimulus that you are trying to deliver to them! This can ultimately waste your valuable energy and time for exercise. If you are going to take the time and expend the energy to exercise, then do it right and you won't feel like you are spinning your wheels- working too hard without seeing the results you want.

2) You significantly reduce the risk of getting injured while you workout. Sloppy form puts undue stress on ligaments, tendons and muscles that were never meant to be involved in the exercise. Focusing on getting your form right will keep you exercising injuring free for years.

Even seasoned veterans are subject to a muscle pull or strain, a torn ligament or tendon if speed and sloppy form prevail. It's ironic that one of the best reasons to exercise is to develop strength to avoid injury, yet with careless form, injuries can result.

Always practice picture-perfect form whenever you exercise, and do all exercises with a full range of motion, and at the proper speed. Don't waste your time, or get hurt in the process!

Ask the Trainer:
"I have beginners in my boxing class - although it is a cardio boxing class I try to focus on body mechanics or technique (with words like power from the legs and hips etc with demos of every move) for correct punch delivery while hitting the heavy bag.

My first question is how do I get beginners to understand their position, relative to the bag when throwing a punch so that they are centered with ability to move forward, back or left, right - not grounded - and not leaning forward to throw a punch?

My second question is how do you get girls to "really" punch? I was trained to attack the heavy bag in drills - which is how I conduct my classes, however there are females in this class that "tap" and not punch the bags."

The best part of working out on the heavy bag is that it can be a different workout each and every time, with an endless number of punch combinations being executed. 'Finding your reach', (or the punching distance that you should be away from the bag), can be more difficult for some students to master, right off the bat. Have them stand more than a jabs length away and practice stepping in to land the punch and quickly move out. We call this 'Punch and get out'. For straight punches, they should be positioned with a fully extended arm at the moment of contact.

The punch should snap out, hit the center of the bag and then pulled back and recovered immediately. Do not leave your glove on the bag, but snap back. Remind your students that their legs get them in and out of punching range, and they should be on the balls of their feet ready to move in any direction.

You mentioned that some females in your class 'tap' the bag but don't throw very hard. Punching power comes with practice. As long as they are not 'pushing' their punches, but snapping them quickly, the power should come along naturally.

Here are some common mistakes on the heavy bag and how to correct them:

Mistake: Standing too close to the bag for straight punches.
Teaching Tip: Check your distance before you throw punch, by standing more than a jab length away. Move forward slightly when you throw the jab. Then move back.

Mistake: Pushing the punches on the bag, not snapping the punches. This will cause the bag to swing excessively.
Teaching Tip: As soon as the glove makes contact with the bag, return the arm back to the starting position.

Mistake: Bag spins after it has been struck.
Teaching Tip: Strike the bag in the center with the glove and not off to one side. Also keep the punch tight and do not push on the bag.

- Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to info@BalazsBoxing.com

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