September 2005
Andy and Jamie Welcome to this month's issue of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. This issue features an advanced tutorial on creating punch combinations; now that we've gone over all the punches, Andy tells us how to use them. Andy and Jamie offer a list of ideas to help keep you motivated as you achieve your fitness goals. Lastly, in "Ask the Trainer", they discuss the role of stretching before, during and after a workout.

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #22: Throwing Effective Punches
Well-trained athletes are not one-dimensional; they work on multiple aspects of their fitness and skills all the time. A quarterback for a football team often must learn how to run or "scramble" as effectively as he must throw an accurate pass. The same is true for boxers. You cannot be one-dimensional. You need to know, not only how to throw an individual punch, but also how to create and throw series of successive, effective punches to keep your opponent off guard.

Throwing effective combinations begins with knowing the proper technique for each punch. (For a review read the last 4 newsletters on punch technique.) Once the punches are mastered, you can begin to put them into series.

Boxers use three main training tools for learning, creating and practicing punch combinations: 1) Shadow Boxing, 2) Heavy Bag Workouts and 3) Target Mitts. We have reviewed each of these skills previously; please feel free to read over them before moving on.

Begin with your shadow boxing routine. Move about in front of a mirror throwing punch combinations, focus on the flow from one punch type to another. Watch your balance in the mirror, if you go off balance during the combination its probably not a great combination. Try it again. Develop 3 or 4 combinations using a wide selection of punches. Once you have these combinations tight, move on to developing speed and power by taking them to the heavy bag.

When working the heavy bag think in terms of landing multiple combinations to multiple locations in a varying sequence. Here are some tips for mixing up your punches. Strive to punch continuously during the round. Controlled continuous punching is the key to optimizing the effectiveness of your workout.

(Most people are amazed at how quickly their heart rate accelerates and their legs, arms, shoulders and core muscles fatigue.)
Throw your punches as fast as possible. Use a minimum of 3-4 punches per combination. Throw your combinations and circle to the left and right.
Don't be predictable. Snap out single, double and triple jabs. Mix in feints and slips. Move in all directions. Think head-body. Try throwing jabs and 1-2's (combination of the jab and straight rights) to the head and body. One punch should naturally set up the next punch. After 4 or 5 rounds of this you'll be wishing the bag could put you out of your misery.

Once you've mastered the bag, grab your target mitt partner and have him put you to the test. Next stopů the ring.

Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Staying Motivated
Many people start exercise programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly. The following tips can help you stay motivated to continue your workout program and take your fitness to the next level.

Start slowly. Starting a fitness program that's too intense is a common mistake. It's better to progress slowly than to push too hard and be forced to abandon your program because of pain or injury.

Set goals. Start with simple goals and then progress to longer-range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable - it's easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you complete at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.

Add variety. To prevent boredom, vary the types of activities you do. For example, try alternating walking and bicycling with swimming or a low-impact aerobic class. On days when the weather is pleasant, do your flexibility or stretching exercises outside. Consider joining a Fitness club to broaden your access to different forms of exercise and meet new people.

Have fun. Make it fun. You're more likely to stick with an exercise program if you're having fun. If you find you aren't enjoying your workout, try something different. Exercise doesn't have to be boring or unfun. Find something active that you like to do and do it. If you like less "active" activities, make them active. For example: Golf - get out of the cart and walk! You'll be doing something you love and you'll be walk somewhere between 5 and 7 miles- that's quite a workout.

Fit exercise into your daily routine. Look for opportunities throughout your day to get in some physical activity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Pedal a stationary bike while you watch TV. Swim during your lunch hour. Before you enter each store on your shopping trip to the mall, complete a loop around the mall. Be creative.

Get some support. Exercise with a friend or make new friends who like to exercise. Join a running group or take a group fitness class.

Track your progress. Assess your fitness level at regular intervals. You may want to record what you did each time you exercise, how long you did it, and how you felt during and after your exercise. Recording your efforts helps you work toward your goals and reminds you that you're making progress.

Ask the Trainer:
"I hear a lot of conflicting information regarding stretching before exercising as part of a warm-up. Is it good to stretch before working out? Also, how long should I be warming up before working out?"

Stretching is highly recommended either before or after your workout but can really be done at any time. Corrective stretching is done before exercise but after a warm-up to lengthen chronically short muscles and help your body remain aligned properly. Relaxation stretching is done after exercise to lengthen muscles and help them return to their pre-workout length. Both types are good and should be done regularly. Remember it's best to stretch when muscles are warm and the stretch should feel comfortable and painless.

Warming up before exercise can reduce your risk of injury and make your workouts more effective. For a general warm-up perform any cardio exercise at a slow to moderate pace for 5-10 minutes to increase blood flow to the working muscles. Once your muscles are warmed up, increase your rate to your normal or desired workout pace. Before ending your workout, Warm Down by slowing to a slow or moderate pace, reducing your heart rate, slowing your muscles down to prepare them for resting.

- Andy Dumas

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