May 2004
Andy and JamieWelcome to this installment of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. In this issue, Andy and Jamie, detail how to outfit yourself for a safe sparring workout. They address the need for flexibility for overall improved performance. Finally, they address one reader's question about using a mouthpiece for aerobic workouts.

The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #7: Equipping Yourself to Spar, Safely!
Training and conditioning counts for the majority of time that amateur & professional boxers spend on the sport. After working on fundamentals, developing the physical conditioning, agility, and style, boxers are ready to test their skills in the ring. Here is a list of essential sparring equipment.

Equipment required:
- Mouthpiece/guard
- Protective cups
- Head Gear
- Sparing Gloves
- Timer

Never spar without a mouthpiece or mouth guard. A good mouthpiece helps prevent cuts inside the mouth. It can also protect your teeth and jaw from injuries. The latest technologies in mouth guards also claim to prevent brain damage by locking the jaw into place reducing the chance of concussions. This is one of the most valuable and inexpensive pieces of safety gear you can buy.

Protective cups: Groin or Pelvic
Protect the groin, pelvis, hips and kidneys from low blows. Female boxers should also wear chest protectors when sparring.

Protective headgear:
Headgear is available in different styles. Each style provides a different level of protection. This is one piece of equipment you don't want to skimp on. The head guard should fit snugly without being uncomfortable. It should not be able to slide around and obstruct your vision as you spar.

Sparring Gloves:
Sparring gloves are designed to protect both your hand as well as your opponent and are inherently different from a basic bag gloves used only to strike a heavy bag. They have thick extra-shock-absorbing foam. A proper sparring glove should be at least 16 oz to provide adequate safety.

WARNING: Sparring should only be done in a controlled environment, with qualified supervision and with proper protective equipment. Even with proper precautions, sparring can result in serious injury.

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Flexibility
Flexibility is the range of movement of a joint or series of joints and their associated muscles. For each joint area there is an optimum extensibility of a muscle, tendon, ligament and bone on bone association. This is known as the range of motion. And for each movement, activity or sport there is an optimum range of motion required to produce the desired outcome.

Reduced flexibility of the muscle and at the joints can lead to a number of problems, both during training and during normal daily activity and be the cause of injury, pain and discomfort. Muscular imbalance and a misalignment of the muscle fibers can be created by both sports specific demands making some muscles too tight and inflexible and by poor postural habits. There must always be a balance in the strength of a muscle and the extensibility of that same muscle.

Flexibility is a component of physical fitness. Developing and maintaining it are important parts of a fitness program.

Next Month: When and how to properly stretch.

Ask the Trainer:
"Do you feel that it would be beneficial to use a mouthpiece during aerobic exercise, specifically while running and hitting a heavy bag? Will the restriction of air, as a result of using a mouthpiece, allow me to perform at a higher level when I'm not using a mouthpiece?"

A mouthpiece should not restrict air intake. Therefore wearing one will not result in an aerobic benefit. Some boxers do prefer to wear a mouthpiece during a warm-up or skipping etc in preparation for a sparring session. When sparring you should breathe through your nose.

 - Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to

Product Recommendations:
PH0388 Balazs Head Gear
GS0142 Balazs 16 oz. Universal Gloves
PM2200 Mouthguard
PK0112 Hand Wraps
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