Channel your inner 'Rocky' with this beginner's boxing workout

Philly is known for three things: cheesesteaks, angry sports fans and Rocky Balboa.

As delicious as it sounds, we aren’t going to bicep curl cheesesteaks this week. Instead, we’ll try a workout that really packs a punch and has you yelling, “Yo Adrian, I did it!” when you’re finished.

Boxing knocks out the circuit training competition. With a bevy of benefits ranging from stress reduction, improved cognitive skills, increased muscle definition, fat loss, and even managing the symptoms of disorders like Parkinson’s Disease, boxing is a top fitness contender.

Most of us don’t have access to a cow carcass for punching practice, so with that in mind the following boxing workout was designed to be done anywhere, at anytime. All you need is a jump rope — and it helps if you replay “Hearts on Fire,” too.

Run

Whether you run down Kelly Drive to climb the Art Museum steps, or along the streets of your neighborhood, clock in one mile at a challenging pace.

Shadow Box

Shadow boxing is a popular exercise for warming up cold muscles and practicing your punching technique. The key is to move around briskly while throwing controlled punches at the air.

  • Quickly extend the right arm out into a punch while pivoting on the right heel. Return to the starting position.
  • Shift your weight to pivot on the left foot while simultaneously punching with the left fist.
  • Continue this back-and-forth sequence for two minutes.

Remember to stay light on your feet and keep your hands close to your face.

Jump Rope

Use this simple aerobic apparatus to improve your cardiovascular endurance, coordination, agility and balance. During this two-minute circuit, keep these tips in mind to practice proper form:

  • Move from your wrists, not your shoulder when swinging the rope.
  • Only jump high enough to clear the rope. Doing so allows you to maintain speed and protect your joints from high impact.
  • Keep your landing soft to protect your knee joints. The only noise you should hear is the light tap of the rope making contact with the floor.

Hip Lifts

This abdominal exercise makes planks, crunches and sit ups feel like a stroll in Rittenhouse Square. Rocky used a bench for stability in his famous training montage, so if you have access to one, use it. Otherwise, we will go hardcore by pushing through our hands and abdominal muscles for momentum. Bring on the burn, baby.

  • Begin in a supine position with your hands resting face down on the floor.
  • Elevate your legs, keeping them straight, so they form a 90-degree angle at your hips.
  • Using your core muscles, press through both hands to lift your hips 5-6 inches off the ground. Keep your legs slightly bent and extended throughout the entire exercise. Hold for two counts.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor. Continue this lift and lower sequence for 60 seconds.

{Repeat circuit three times}

As Rocky Balbao said, “going in one more round when you don’t think you can, that’s what makes all the difference in your life.”

Ashley B. Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.

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