According to Ricky Hatton, twice welterweight world champion and all-round boxing legend, more women are getting inspired to take up combat sports. In fact, the Amateur Boxing Association says that some 40 per cent of gyms now have classes specifically for women. We’re punching more and more it seems – and loving it.
Boxing is an intense full-body workout, says Hatton in an exclusive video interview with Healthista TV at this year’s BodyPower Expo in Birmingham. ‘It works all the muscle groups in one fluid session,’ he says. ‘Women love the tone it especially gives to the upper and hip areas because all the rolling and slipping of punches really works those areas. And they find it helps them let off a lot of tension too.’
While most classes are taught at real boxing gyms, which can be intimidating to anyone used to a less intense space, classes are usually non-contact unless you opt to spar and instructors provide modifications throughout the class so that people of any level can participate.
Of recent additions to the stable of boxing classes inspired by the Hattons of the world, two novel new forms stand out for the summer 2013 season.
BOXING YOGA created at London’s Total Boxer, a full on spit and sawdust gym on North London, it’s a mix of traditional yoga moves and boxing technique designed to make you sweat and stretch in one class. You get yoga’s mental focus and flexibility training with boxing-specific techniques emphasising punches power, and speed. Experienced yogis will recognize moves like sun salutations, warriors (imagine holding your warrior legs as normal with the addition of boxing punch arms – see pic above), trees and camels, although they are modified to incorporate hooks, uppercuts and jabs. It makes for an intense and deeply uplifting endorphin rush that’s both calming and stimulating at once (we love it – can you tell?).
CHESS BOXING a mix of speed chess and boxing training that challenges the mind while working the muscles – hard. Dutch performing artist Iepe Rubingh invented the sport in 2003 inspired by a loose description of a similar sport in French comic book writer Enki Bilal’s early nineties work ‘Equator Cold’. Totally non-contact, classes focus on improving chess skills, fitness, flexibility, co-ordination, and boxing technique. Elements of a typical class include warm-up, boxercise workout, chess boxing simulation (a combo of speed chess and optional light sparring), warm down and some actual chess training. Find out more at Chess Boxing London londonchessboxing.com and the World Chess Boxing Organization
There are also more traditional boxing workouts, such as Boxercise or FIGHT KLUB classes
If you’re looking to get a grounding in real boxing techniques – without the fear of getting beaten up – HATTON ABC from Ricky Hatton’s Hatton Academy is brilliant. Suitable for anyone of any age and all levels of fitness, it teaches you the fundamentals of boxing in a great fun workout with no physical contact and only using focus pads. A mixture of three-minute rounds including boxing combinations, ab work, lower body routines and mind blowing cardio drills makes for a overall killer workout. Find a class at hattonacademy.com/classes
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