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Dossier: Trend sports

That Rocky feeling: box yourself fit

Boxing coach Beda Mathis from the Sportring Zürich boxing club explains why fitness boxing is a great whole-body workout.

Text: Clau Isenring

Do you need to be a “fighter” to enjoy fitness boxing?

Not at all, fitness boxing is also suitable for quiet-natured people. But sometimes even fitness boxers can feel like Rocky Balboa!

Can you describe a typical fitness boxing class?

With fitness boxing, you always train in pairs. One person wears focus mitts, which are padded targets attached to gloves. The other person hits the mitts in a series of exercises demonstrated by the trainer. Then the pairs switch so the other person is holding the focus mitts. Punch training is followed by strength exercises, for example using a medicine ball. We cool down and stretch together towards the end of the class.

What equipment does a beginner need?

All you need is normal sportswear, clean indoor shoes and bindings for your hands. Our club provides boxing gloves.

How does fitness boxing differ from training for a professional fight?

Our fitness boxers do exactly the same exercises as our professional boxers. The only thing that’s missing is the tension, and you only really feel that when you’re standing opposite a real opponent.

Is boxing dangerous?

You do feel the punches, but there are rarely any injuries. The punches look far worse to onlookers than they actually are. Footballers practising headers suffer far more, because they actively move their head towards the ball. Boxers, however, seek to avoid punches, and they’re rarely hit with the full force of a punch.

How long does it take for beginners to master the technique?

It doesn’t take long for fitness boxers to feel like they’ve nailed the technique. However, it usually takes two to three months before they can do all the exercises properly. With “real” boxing, it takes around a year before a beginner is put into the ring with another beginner. And it takes several years to really master the technique.

Is it possible to switch from fitness boxing to “real” boxing?

It is possible, but I’d recommend having your technique checked and improved by a personal trainer first. It’s easy for errors to creep into the technique of fitness boxers. For example, if you always hold your head a little too far forward, it offers the perfect target for your opponent.

What do beginners need to know when buying a punch bag for home training?

It’s important to buy a quality product instead of going for the cheap option. Beginners should opt for lightweight equipment. Double end bags – which can be attached to both the floor and ceiling – are perfect.