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Is Boxing a Good Cardio Workout for Weight Loss?

If you've ever seen someone do boxing for exercise, it may have crossed your mind that it would not be nearly as effective as a leg based cardiovascular workout. After all, you're not carrying your body weight around - you're just moving your arms! Don't be fooled - boxing can be very demanding!

As a personal trainer, I regularly undertake boxing sessions with clients. A common question I receive from clients is whether or not boxing is a good workout for weight loss. Well, that's before I put them through a session!

Boxing is a highly effective cardiovascular workout. Although you're not moving your legs, you are moving your arms through complex compound movements repeatedly. This elevates the heart rate significantly and will put you out of breath very quickly. The increase in heart rate means that your body is suffering from an oxygen deficit - the goal of a cardiovascular based workout. This means that lots of calories are being expended. Considering that a calorie deficit is a prerequisite to weight loss, boxing is going to be a highly effective workout in this regard.

When seeking to lose weight, keep in mind that intensity is going to be directly proportional to weight loss. The higher your intensity, the more energy that is expended and hence the greater the energy deficit created. The added benefit of a high intensity workout is that it has the ability to stimulate a significant amount of fat breakdown after your workout has concluded. The reason why you are feeling so exhausted is because your body is readily sourcing nutrients to repair itself from the highly demanding workout - often much of this energy is sourced from body fat.

To make your boxing session intense, switch the drills up. You can try:

  • Different styles of punches (eg. jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, high punches, low punches etc.)
  • Intervals
  • Incorporating other cardio work
  • Switching between punching and strength-based exercises
  • Varying between a punching bag and focus pads

Variety encourages intensity - so mix it up!

Also, boxing is a highly effective workout if you do injure yourself and are unable to use your lower body. This form of cardiovascular exercise is a very useful tool with knee injuries (a very common injury).

Be sure to give it a go - boxing is a lot of fun as well as a highly effective cardio workout for weight loss.

2 thoughts on “Is Boxing a Good Cardio Workout for Weight Loss?”

  • Marcus

    Oh jay now you're talking at one of my most beloved cardio workouts. Throw in some established boxing combos with a 'good' pad holder (makes all the difference) that makes you work, couple this with slips and weaves between combo's and you've got a highly effective workout. One of the most brutal things is stressing about keeping your guard up at all times, at first it sounds easy but after 6 or so 3 min rounds the first thing to go as you tire is your hand position.

    I think you should also should stress the other boxing conditioning technique often performed during training sessions.... a couple of round of the traditional jump rope. Throw in this with the other drills and you've got one of the most effective workouts around... Might I add there is nothing better than the sound of a good 'twack' on the bag or focus pads. Just remember to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.......

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