April 2007
Andy and JamieWelcome! In this month's issue Andy and Jamie discuss advanced jump rope techniques. They warn about the most common workout mistakes. Lastly, in the "Ask the Trainer" section, Andy and Jamie recommend how to get oomph behind your punches.

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #41: Jump to it!
Jump rope is one of the single best exercises you can engage in. In just 15 to 20 minutes, jump roping will improve agility and fluidity, lateral movement, explosiveness, hand and foot speed, and timing. Jumping rope will help you "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."

If you mastered some of the basic Jumps and footwork, here are some drills that will challenge your foot speed and coordination.

High Knees
Start with the boxer's skip and lift the knees higher in front. Ensure that you land softly, a slight bend at the knee. Keep the body upright, arms and hands in the proper position. Focus on the push-off phase of one foot, then the other, lifting the knees as high as possible. By practicing this jump, you will help improve the muscle power in each ankle and leg. Try performing 10 to 20 high knees, then go back to the boxer's skip to recover. You may also want to add direction into the jump, by traveling forward for eight jumps and backward for eight jumps

Jumping Jacks /Stride Jumps
Start with a basic two-foot jump, and jump, separating the feet about shoulder-width. Land with the feet in this position, push off again and bring the feet back together in the air before landing on the floor with the feet together. When performing this jump, be careful not to make the foot separation too wide, as the rope will most likely get tangled with your feet. The longer the rope, the farther the feet can be separated, the shorter the rope, the tighter the jump.

Ali Shuffle
This is the boxer's jump, with the addition of moving the feet front and back. As you jump in the air, move one foot forward slightly and one foot backward slightly, and then both land on the floor. Push off the floor again, taking the front foot toward the back and the back foot toward the front, landing with both feet on the floor. Repeat, landing softly and moving quickly. The center of gravity changes slightly as one foot is in front and the other foot is in back, challenging your agility and response time. Muhammad Ali was known for his quick foot movements, shuffling across the canvas from side to side and frustrating his opponents. Practicing this jump will teach you to be on your toes, moving and changing your foot positioning and maintaining a center of balance, ready for any directional change.

Ali Shuffle and Jumping Jacks
To improve agility, timing, and balance, combine the Ali shuffle with jumping jacks. Start with eight shuffles, then eight jacks. Reduce down to shuffle and a single jack. Shuffle-shuffle-jack.

Work on the basics and the more difficult and intricate jump roping will come easily.

For more tips on Jumping rope - check out
Boxing drill # 34: Jumping rope for endurance from September 2006 News letter
Boxing drill # 10: improving technique from August 2004 News letter
Boxing drill # 2: Jump rope technique from October 2003 News letter

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Top 5 Worst Workout Mistakes
People often pick some exercise or fitness program because it's the latest trend or "in" thing to do. Pick something you enjoy, something you are passionate about. Keep exercise fun, and you are more likely to stay with it. Here are some of the most common exercise mistakes.
  1.  Not warming up prior to aerobic activity. Muscles need time to adjust to the new demands aerobic activity places on them. Rather than hitting the treadmill running, for example, take a few minutes to walk, build up to a light jog, and then hit your stride.
  2. Not cooling down after any type of workout. Too many people wrap up their workouts and head straight to the showers. Instead, take a few minutes to lower your heart rate and stretch your muscles.
  3. Not stretching enough. The best time to stretch is immediately before and after aerobic activity. Pre-exercise stretching: take a few minutes to warm up first, as stretching cold muscles can cause injury. Flexible muscles are far less likely to be strained or pulled than tight ones. Make sure to stretch all of the major muscle groups, after your aerobic cool down. (Post exercise stretch)
  4. Lifting too much weight. The best way to guarantee an injury is to try to lift more weight than your muscles can handle. Gradual, progressive resistance is a far more effective - and safe - way to increase muscle strength. Take your time when lifting weights. When it comes to strength, in general, the slower you go, the more benefit you get.
  5. Exercising too intensely. This is common with the "weekend warrior", the individual who tries to fit a week's worth of exercise into a Saturday afternoon. It's more effective to sustain a moderate workout for longer periods of time than to exercise intensely for only a few minutes.
Ask the Trainer:
"I'd like to build a bigger punch, how do I do it? I do lots of circuit training at the moment, but not much weights, are weights the answer? Is there any specific exercise I could put in my circuits for strength? I'd like to have more power behind my punches, but is there a way to do it without losing some agility?"

Weight lifting puts the power behind the punches and the stability into your stance. Bench press and off-set pushups are good choices to include in your circuit.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press Free Weights
Lie on your back on an incline flat bench, set at an angle less than 60 degrees. Elbows bent at a right angle with respect to the upper arm, hold the dumbbells in an overhand grip. Inhale and press the weights away from the chest, extending the arms until the weights touch softly. Exhale and slowly lower the weights towards the chest.

Off-set Pushups (Advanced)
In the push up position, put the ball under one hand. The ball represents somewhat of an unstable surface, which makes these pushups much more difficult than regular pushups. This forces the stabilizers of the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles to work very hard to keep the shoulder joint steady while performing the exercise. Switch the ball to the other hand and repeat. Make sure you perform these push-ups in slow controlled motion and exhale on the exertion as you're pushing up.

I would also try including some heavy bag speed drills from Boxing Drill # 1 Heavy Bag Speed Sprints - August 2003 News letter archive.

- Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to

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