March/April 2009
Andy and JamieSpring has sprung. Flowers are blooming and like nature's time of rebirth, now is a great time to discover your own rebirth. The fitness routines and tips featured in our newsletters are the right "fertilizer" to get your fitness level and muscles growing.

In this issue, we get back to boxing with some tips on throwing powerful punches. Andy and Jamie take on knee pain in the Fitness Tip and lastly, they clarify a reader's question concerning pull up and proper technique.

This year Andy and Jamie will release their new book "Knock Out Fitness", the first boxing training book endorsed by the World Boxing Council (WBC). This book maps out a 12-week program of strength training and cardio that promises to build strength and stamina and get you into knockout shape! Our future newsletters will feature tips directly from this exciting new book. Come back for more exciting tips!

"Knock Yourself Out!" The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #54: Reminders and Tips for Throwing More Effective Punches 
Proper technique is required to perform a powerful, effective punch. It is repetition and more repetition that is necessary to develop this crucial skill. For a primer on proper punches check out our Boxing Basics.

For beginners, throwing wild punches at the heavy bag is a common occurrence. Not only does this haphazard style allow the boxer to become exhausted very quickly, it can cause injury. When working out with the heavy bag, you must always have a plan, stay on balance and throw effective clean punches.

  • When punching, always bring back the arm to the starting position. Don't keep it extended, or drop your hands on the way back.
  • Visualize punching 'through' the target, not at it.
  • Never hesitate. If you throw a bad punch, get back on balance quickly with another punch.
  • Finish most combinations with a jab, to get back into correct, position.
  • Don't 'push' your punches. Practice throwing quick sharp punches.
  • After landing a good combination, Step back, and move around the bag, before throwing you next series of punches.

Punching imagery assists in 'feeling' the punch, producing a stronger, better-executed movement. Putting together punch combinations requires quick thinking, explosive power, overall elite physical conditioning and hours of training time.

Always consult your Physician before starting an exercise program.

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Maintaining Healthy Knees
During exercise, the knee joint is subjected to a lot of stress. Here are some tips on how maintain the health and durability of your knees.

Some reasons your knees may hurt:

  • Worn out shoes: A compressed mid-sole is not necessarily evident by just looking at the shoe. The outside may still be clean and sturdy, but you will feel a lack of springiness and therefore a lack of shock absorption. Also new blisters, joint pain, and/ or a worn heel may indicate that you need new shoes.
  • Reduced flexibility: Such activities as cycling, skiing, skating, (ice & in-line) rely heavily on the quadriceps muscle. Tight quadriceps will lead to knee pain. Tip: Stretch these muscles after each workout for about 8-10 minutes. Standing Quad Stretch: Stand with your feet together. Bend one knee and hold at the ankle with the same side hand. Pull your heel towards your glutes and hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. (Remember to hold the knees close together.)
  • Too much, too fast, too hard and too soon: Such activities as downhill running and speed-work sprints can lead to knee pain. Always include the addition of new activities slowly into your training program, starting with once or twice per week, for a shorter duration and then adding more as you become stronger.
  • Poor exercise execution of leg exercises: Ensure that you are performing exercises such as step-ups, squats and lunges correctly. Tip: Do not perform squats or lunges that are too deep. Steps should not be higher than the knee, step up keeping the knee in line with the foot. For more information on proper lunging technique, checkout the May 2006 issue in the Newsletter archives.

It is important to build strength, flexibility, speed and coordination around the knee joint. Include in your overall weekly fitness regimen.

Ask the Trainer:
"I own a Balazs Pull Up Bar. It is the Non-adjustable, 48" wide pull up bar. My question is how wide should I be gripping the bar for a wide grip pull up? I have researched this but have conflicting information, can you please give me any sound advice. I can grip the bar to its full width, but am unsure as to if this is producing the best results."

Pull-ups using the overhand grip, (palms facing away from your body), emphasize development of your back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi and teres major. Chin-ups with palms facing towards your body work and develop your biceps more and are considered easier.

To perform the Basic Pull-Up grasp a sturdy bar with a firm overhand grip, the hands roughly shoulder width apart, arms straight and allow the body to hang from the bar. Next, pull upward so the chest nearly touches the bar and the chin above the bar. While pulling up, focus on keeping the body straight, no arching or swinging. When your chin is above the bar, lower your body to the start position.

Wide-Grip pull-ups emphasize the use of the upper and middle lats, and do not place much demand on the biceps. To perform wide-grip pull-ups grasp the bar with a firm overhand grip and the hands approximately twice the width of your shoulders. Allow the body to hang from the bar with the arms straight, and then pull yourself upward so that your chest nearly touches the bar and the chin is above the bar. Think about using your lats to pull your elbows downward toward your ribcage.

Close-Grip pull-ups emphasize the lower lats. Grasp a sturdy bar with an overhand grip with the hands about 6-8 inches apart. The narrow separation between your hands ensures that you emphasize your lower lats during the exercise.

* Note that while you perform pull-ups, you can either bend your knees and cross your feet or keep your legs straight. Do not let your feet touch the floor.

- Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to 

New Product Release!

Balazs Fitness introduces the newest addition to their commercial product line, the Balazs 362 Medicine Ball Rack and Medicine Balls. The "bullet proof" 11 gauge steel construction of this rack is perfect for any home gym or world-class fitness facility. Designed to be free standing or mounted to any wall, it can hold six medicine balls of any size. The rack can handle an entire range of ball weights, allowing for an almost infinite number of workouts using medicine balls. New Balazs Fitness Medicine Balls are manufactured with top-grain leather, fully stitched for superb balance, feel and durability. Available now in weights from 2 lbs up to 16 lbs. Complete your home gym or workout facility with the new Balazs Fitness 362 Medicine Ball Rack and Medicine Balls!

Balazs Fitness publishes the "BALAZS BOXING E LETTER" monthly.

We hope you enjoyed receiving this mailing. However, if you would not like to be included in future Balazs Boxing mailings, please respond to this email with "remove" in the subject line.

Always consult your physician before starting any physical exercise program. Balazs Fitness and Andy & Jamie Dumas assume no responsibility for the improper use of information contained within this e-newsletter.

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