June 2005
Andy and Jamie Welcome to this month's issue of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. Andy and Jamie help us this month to throw a powerful, knock out capable, Straight Right punch. One key to powerful punches is a strong core; we give you four ab-tastic abdominal exercises. Lastly, Andy and Jamie cover a common source of pain during workouts-the knee.

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #19: Perfecting the Straight Right
Heavy Bag Drills: Perfecting the Straight Right

This month we'll show you how to develop your straight right into a lethal weapon. To review the basics of this punch, please see the Straight Right section on our website.

For orthodox (left foot forward) fighters the straight right is your power punch. The power is generated by the rotation of your core- your hips and shoulders- combined with driving forward off your back foot. A solid core is a necessity to maintain balance and alignment while throwing the Straight Right. See the fitness tip below for advice on maintaining a strong core.

From the on-guard position, the right hand is thrown straight from the chin on a direct line to your target. The straight right should be thrown without a wind-up. Winding up will telegraph your coming punch to an opponent. As you launch the punch, pivot on your right foot (back foot) as you transfer your body weight forward. Rotate your hips as your arm extends towards the target. Keep your abdominal (core) muscles tight. Finish the punch with your hips square to the target, chin down, and eyes on the target. Keep your left (opposite hand) up to protect your head. Quickly get back to the on-guard position.

Practice on the heavy bag, striking the bag head high. Remember to pull the punch upon impact and 'snap' the punch. This will prevent the bag from swinging wildly.

Practice several rounds on the heavy bag, throwing only the straight right. Punch, move, punch, move and repeat.

Once comfortable, practice a few combinations with the Left Jab (learned last week) followed by the Straight Right; this is commonly referred to as the "one two punch". One-two, move; one-two, move and repeat. Keep moving!

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Abdominal Training 101
The abdominals are a group of muscles in your mid section consisting of the rectus abdominis, the obliques and the transversus abdominis. This group of muscles runs from the bottom of the ribs to the top of the pubic bone. For training purposes we'll break the area into two parts: the Upper and Lower abs. We suggest working the lower abs first, twisting movements second and upper abs last. The reason behind this order is that the upper ab muscles are called into play for all lower ab exercises. If you work the top portion first, these muscles
may get too fatigued to assist in working the lower abs.

There are three more elements that are as important as the sequencing of the work out to ensure an effective conditioning routine. They are: 1) Proper breathing, 2) Maintaining tension and 3) Rest intervals. For proper breathing, exhale completely on the exertion phase of all ab exercises. This assists in completely contracting the abdominal wall. Maintaining tension, holding the ab muscles tight, between repetitions allows for quicker fatigue and more intense sets, and serious results in shorter time intervals. Rest intervals between sets should not be longer than five seconds. Abdominal muscles are endurance muscles that recover quickly, so you have to keep them working to get results. Focus on these elements during each exercise and you'll see superior results, even if you are currently doing daily ab workouts.

Here are 4 great abdominal exercises for each section of your abs:
If you can't complete the number of reps outlined, just exercise until fatigued,
rest briefly, then start again. You can train abs four or five times per
week without worrying about overtraining the muscles.

Exercise #1: Hip Raises (Lower)
Get in the starting position-lie with your back flat on the floor or preferably on a mat, your head should be flat on the floor, hands placed along your sides and legs are straight up in the air, forming a 90-degree angle with your torso. Use your lower abs to lift your rear end up off the floor. The movement should lift your buttocks no more than four to six inches off the floor. (Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.)

Exercise #2: Reverse Crunches (Lower)
Start on your back with your legs raised (to 90 degrees) and knees bent.
Your feet should be placed together, but not crossed. Contract the lower
abs, concentrating on the area from the navel to the pubic bone, and crunch
your knees toward your chest. Again, the movement should lift your buttocks
no more than four to six inches off the floor. (Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.)

Exercise #3: Bicycle (Twisting)
Lying on your back to start, with your legs raised (to 90 degrees)
and knees bent. Hands are linked behind your head with your elbows pointing
out to the sides. What you are going to do is try to touch your elbow to the
opposite knee-right elbow to left knee. Meanwhile, your other leg is
extended, but kept off of the floor. Remember to lead with the armpit not
the elbow, and let your abdominals bring your knees in, not your hip
flexors. Start alternating legs and elbows, but be careful not to pull on
your head. (Do 3 sets of 25 to 30 reps.)

Exercise #4: Basic Crunch (Upper)
Get in the starting position- lie with your back flat on the floor or preferably on a mat. Place your hands beside your head or crossed on your chest. Place both feet on the floor with your knees bent. Contract your abdominal muscles, keeping your lower back forced to the floor. Exhale and lift your head and shoulders off the floor as a single unit-try not to lead with your head-and move towards your knees. Pause and then lower your head and shoulders to the floor. (Do 3 sets of 25 to 30 reps.)

Ask the Trainer:
"I've been running an average of 3-4 times per week. My running routes vary, averaging 6 to 8 miles. Recently I've been experiencing some pain in my right knee. One of my running partners suggested I might have "Runner's Knee". Any suggestions?"

"Runner's Knee" is a common condition. The actual cause and effective treatment can be hard to explain. To understand what can cause 'runners knee' we can divide the causes into two categories. Intrinsic and Extrinsic.

Intrinsic causes for runner's knee can include internal injuries to the cartilage, ligaments or tendons in and around the knee. This could include a torn Meniscus or ACL injury (anterior cruciate ligament) or dislocated patella. These types of conditions need to be seen by your family doctor and may need more extensive treatment.

Extrinsic causes for runner's knee are much more common. They can include anatomical misalignment, muscle weakness, and over-use. Everyone has a unique body build. This is what makes some runners very efficient, whereas some have to struggle to maintain fitness.

Carefully review your running history: Factors such as excessive increase in distance and speed, hill training, worn out running shoes etc…some of these factors may be altered easily and the symptoms may subside. A very frequent treatment for runner's knee usually involves a combination of strengthening and stretching the quadriceps muscle, combined with stretching the opposite (complementary) hamstring muscles that may be tight. In addition, altering your shoe wear or replacing shoes with more stability, padding and support may help. If these basic remedies are not successful, you should check with your physician or orthopedic specialist.

Once you begin appropriate treatment for runner's knee, it may take several months for the symptoms to subside.

(These comments should not be construed as a diagnosis or specific treatment plan for an injury. See your doctor or orthopedic specialist for a diagnosis and treatment if required.)

- Andy Dumas

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Product Recommendations:
GS0135 Balazs Combo Gloves
BH0250 Balazs Heavy Bags
FB6525 Everlast Rubber Medicine Ball
DD0201 i-Box: Fitness Boxing Fundamentals DVD
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