What if I’m too far out of shape?

Some of you might be asking yourself this same question. Speaking from personal experience, I faced this dilemma about seven years ago. A co-worker of mine was involved in a local boxing gym. I always was a fan of the sport and it piqued my interest, and I decided to go check it out. While I was  involved in athletics in the past, I had let it slip away for a period of about 4-5 years. All I really did during my mid to late 20’s was work and go out to bars. Needless to say, the booze and smokes are not conducive to cardiovascular health. I found this out the hard way. My first round hitting the heavy bag since high school proved difficult to say the least. F#ck that….it was damn hard. I didn’t even make it through one,  two-minute round. Damn, I got some work to do. Well, here’s how I got back into it…. and you can to.

Most boxing timers either have two or three minute work intervals, with either a 30-second or 1- minute break. Instead of timing the rounds in the traditional manner, I turned it around. What I mean by that is this: Instead of punching for 2 minutes with a 30-second break like you are supposed to, I used the rest portion on the timer to work, and the work portion to rest. Confused? No prob. It’s simple.

Let the timer start and run out the traditional 2- minute work interval. When the 30-second bell goes off to rest, you will then begin to punch. It’s only 30-seconds, so go hard. You’ll have two minutes to rest in between rounds. It makes it easier to mentally handle.

As a few weeks go by, change the rest portion on the timer to 1- min. Keep the timer’s work interval at 2 minutes. You will now punch during the 1 minute “rest” portion,  and then take 2 minutes in-between rounds. So you see, you’re just making a gradual increase (30-seconds) in the amount of time spent hitting the bag, and you keep your rest at 2min in-between rounds. Simple….but not easy.

After another couple of weeks, you should now start to really see your conditioning levels improve. You are now ready to work for the full 2-minutes on the timer, and keep your rest at 1-minute in-between rounds. As you progress even further, feel free to try to work for the full three minutes with a 30-second break in-between rounds. If you can do this, you now know that you have built a solid base of conditioning.  Who knows, you might even be ready for some sparring??

**Tips** -When first starting on the Heavy Bag, make sure you get some good hand wraps to go under your gloves. You have to allow time for tendons and ligaments to get use to the blunt force trauma of punching the bag. For your first few sessions, your hands, wrists, and elbows will be extremely sore. Don’t worry, this is only normal. Look at it as a way of “paying your dues,” so to speak. What’s happening is that the trauma induced on your joints and wrists is actually  causing acute micro-tears in the muscle and cartilage, and your body just needs time to adapt. This adaptation will take place; just stick with it. Also, try to find a heavy bag that is already broken in. New bags are notoriously stiff and they take a while to soften up. You’re best bet would be to try to find a used bag online, or go to a second-hand sports store. Your hands and wrists will thank me.


boxing timerThis is similar to the first timer I picked up when I started hitting the bag. It can be found at most any major sporting goods store, and it is relatively inexpensive. Good buy.


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