Focus On: Boxing Workouts

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The first time I took a boxing class, I felt pretty silly. I thought it would be just like Tae Bo and actually no, that wasn’t the case. My punches were weak, I didn’t get in a great workout, and because I was lacking the confidence to put a face on the bag and PUNCH IT, I never went back. 

Fast-forward about 10 years to last spring, when I started teaching at my current place of employment, and I had to take another boxing class. I absolutely loved it. With lots of TurboFire under my belt, I knew the basic punches, and I had no fear when it came to hitting the bag. I went after it, and left the class triumphant and dripping in sweat. Now, I get to start teaching it. I hope you enjoy this post- I figured it would be fun to get more info on boxing-style workouts out there (even though I’m sure they’re different wherever you go, it’s an effective way to train) and bonus: it’s helping me prepare before I start teaching in September.

What is it?

A class centered around boxing rounds, heavy bag punches and appropriate cardio drills. Lots of punching, core work and calisthenics. 

What to expect:

For cardio, jump rope is often used as part of the warm-up and a way to spike up the heart rate in between drills. Lots of side shuffles, ab work with a medicine ball, burpees, and push-ups, too. (All of your favorites, right?!)

For the punching drills, expect to wear boxing gloves (many places will offer plastic or latex gloves to wear underneath), as well as 4 basic punches:






423 hook 2(source)


Boxing uppercut t12963(source)

For the bag punches, you can do a combo of any of the above punches, except for the uppercut. Apparently if you’re wearing gloves and hit the leather bag, your glove could slide up and you can punch yourself in the face. Not the best way to start off your boxing career. 

-Boxing rounds are 3 minutes long, so you can expect to be working in 3-minute rounds.


-Amazing stamina, strength and core work. You’re strengthening multiple muscle groups during the workout and a unique benefit is that you’re getting cardio by mostly using your arms. You are using your legs, but it’s extremely different than running or dancing as many of the moves are arm-driven. Your arms, back and shoulders will be super sore the next day!

-A fun way to switch up your workout. Anything you can do to change your routine to keep your muscles guessing is a good thing. Boxing is a fantastic alternative to traditional cardio or bootcamp-style classes.

-It’s therapy! You can get out any aggression or worry you’re experiencing with some good punches to the punching bag 😉 


-Potential for injury to the wrists and hands if you’re not wearing the gloves properly or exercising good form. I wouldn’t venture into a hitting a heavy bag by yourself without some guidance from a trainer or instructor first.

-Lack of leg strengthening. If there were more leg components -we don’t kick the bag in our classes to prevent injuries- it would be an ideal full-body workout. 

-Limited class options. Many of the gyms I’ve belonged to do not offer boxing classes, which I think may be related to the equipment (heavy bags and gloves) that are required. It’s a difficult class to find, but if you have some near you, it’s definitely worth a try as a fun way to switch things up.


Have you ever taken a boxing workout class, or done a DVD? What was your experience like?

Are there any classes you’re dying to try? 

See ya later on the Fashion and Family pages!



*We’re a little over halfway through the month! How’s your checklist going?


More Focus On posts:

Step Aerobics

Tracy Anderson

Bootcamp Workouts

The scary cable pulley thing

Tabata training

Stability balls

Resistance bands


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  1. Ashley @ Sweat for Sweets on August 16, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for this! I’ve been wanting to try boxing/kick-boxing for a while now! I’ve also got CrossFit on my to-do list!

  2. Courtney Morris on August 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I just started teaching kickboxing, and tonight is actually my second class EVER. I probably should have begun teaching group fitness with something like cycling, which I could do in my sleep, and doesn’t require that much planning. However, KB is what I was offered at my gym, so here I am. I made my first routine way too short and basic, and ended up running out of notes thirty minutes in. But I have revamped it and hope I walk in tonight an unrecognizable champ! Good luck with your boxing class!

  3. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on August 16, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I like the boxing circuits in some of Jillian’s videos, but have been too intimidated to take a class!

  4. Amanda Fraijo-Tobin (@FraijoManda) on August 16, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I’ve found workouts like these have fast become some of my favorites! Such a stress reliever eh?

  5. Stephanie on August 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I have been boxing training for almost two years.
    We almost always add leg elements like squats and lunges, plus we find stairs and run stairs……forever.
    Warm up’s and stretching are super important, as is wrapping your hands properly before putting on gloves.

  6. Shannon on August 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

    About a year and a half ago I took a 5-class Livingsocial to a boxing gym in South Boston. I ended up loving it, and am on my second year membership, and training for the Golden Gloves. 🙂 Boxing is an exercise but also an art, it’s very important to get correct form from the moment your hip turns to when you make contact with the bag or the opponent. It’s actually a great leg workout because the punching movement comes from your legs, up your hip, to your shoulder, and then extends from your arms. I’ve been doing it ever since that 5-class pass and have done mitts, sparred, and been training. It’s a love affair, really!

  7. Jessie on August 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I used to do a kickboxing class a few times a week at a karate studio. It was intense! Lots of punches and kicks, and the warmups always included a ton a calisthenics- it really was a total body workout! I did a class once at my current gym, but it isn’t the same without bags to punch!

  8. Staci on August 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    when i was taking kickboxing I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. i loved getting away from the bag and working one on one with the trainer as a “moving target” doing the drills, he would change it up all the time and have us do drills in between two bags and super fast cardio type drills…it was such a workout, it felt awesome. I never started to spar, but I would love to go back and start it up again!

  9. Yvette on August 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I used to train in Thai boxing and I agree with Shannon — it’s a great leg work-out. One key element is to sit low ALL the time and remain on the balls of your feet — not flat footed. My trainers were constantly reminding us to “sit down” which meant to bend our knees more and get lower. Being in that bent leg position on your toes is akin to a million squats! Also the bent knees assist you to bob and weave or twist to bring the power from your hips when punching. Have a blast — just talking about it makes me miss it!

  10. Suzanne on August 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Yes! Love boxing and kickboxing workouts. I’ve also practiced tae kwon do when I was younger.
    My trainer used to be a boxer in Brazil and once in a while we’ll do a boxing workout to change things up.
    It’s very intense and gets your heart rate going. I’m usually out of breath and my arms are shaking. Now I know why boxing rounds are only a few minutes long.
    I like the emphasis on technique (like jabs, hooks, upper cuts, etc.). It’s definitely something that you have to practice and develop. It’s very empowering.
    I do advise wrapping your hands and wrists under your gloves. I’ve hurt my wrists before.
    I like kicking though in addition to the boxing, so I do prefer kickboxing over just boxing.

  11. Julie on August 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    I loved the boxing class I took. There were drills in between too like burpees, high knees, and sit-ups. I was a sweaty mess though the gym smelled like complete sweat.

  12. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on August 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    My gym is going to start offering kickboxing classes, and I’m so excited to give it a try!

  13. Cassie on August 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Super excited for this post since I teach Turbo Kick 🙂 What I love about Turbo is that it DOES throw in plenty of squats and lunges and your legs get a workout too! Some gyms in my area have also introduced Les Mills’ Body Combat, which is more interval based – a heart-racing legs track will be followed by a slow moving punches track so you get the awesome interval calorie burn. It’s not Chalene though 😉

  14. Janine Reed on August 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    CKO – Club KO is an amazing kick-boxing gym. I have been a member for five years and have never gotten bored of the workout. It is a total body workout where you can burn 1200 calories!! They started in Hoboken, NJ but have franchises in a few different states. Best workout ever. Here’s a link to one of the trainer’s websites:

  15. Hilary on August 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I teach body combat which is an MMA style cardio, include boxing. I absolutely love it!! Never gets easy, never gets boring! And also an excellent stress management plan 😉

  16. Hillary on August 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I take a kickboxing class once a week and thought I was pretty badass, until a friend of mine invited me to a free legit boxing conditioning class at her gym. Holy. Moly. I consider myself a pretty fit person, but this workout absolutely knocked me on my butt. It was probably one of the best workouts I’ve ever had!

  17. Christina on August 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    L-O-V-E this post! I just started working out at LA Boxing near my house after work and it’s a great workout. They offer boxing mon/wed and kickboxing tues/thurs so you get a great leg workout in at least 2 days.Plus after a long day at work it is great to get some stress out…thanks for writing this girl! Great post!

  18. Elise on August 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I did Muay Thai for about 6 months last year (before it became too expensive for my grad stduent budget), and the workout was ridiculously awesome! We warmed up EACH class with 15-25 minutes of jump roping broken up into sets of 3-5 minutes, with 1 minute rest in between. I could run a marathon at this time, but couldn’t jump rope for even 15 minutes! Then we’d do specific skills work, before ending with some sparring. It was intense, we sweat a lot, and after 6 months, I was in serious shape! Kickboxing/Martial Arts are intense and a great workout — but you have to be mentally prepared to be challenged in a different way than other workouts and to take on a fairly steep learning curve with learning the correct form for punches/kicks.

  19. Lauren T on August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    There’s a great class called Body Combat that is like a boxing class sans boxing gloves and bag. Even without all the equipment you get a good workout. It might be a good class to take before jumping in the ring with the punching bag because you may be less likely to injure yourself since you’ll know how to punch the right way ahead of time 🙂 Hope you have fun teaching your boxing class!!

  20. Lindsay @ Typically Late on August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I just started taking Les Mills’ BodyCombat at my Gold’s, and I LOVE it. It’s such a great workout, and the “therapy” factor is a nice bonus. 🙂 I know it’s not a typicaly kickboxing or boxing class/workout, but it has the same basic moves, and it does the trick. The first time I took it, I was SO sore the next day – in muscles I didn’t even know I had! A completely different workout from weightlifting or any of the other shoulder/back exercises I do. So great!

  21. Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life on August 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    the boxing class my gym offers leaves me sweatier than any other class offered! Such a good workout!!!

  22. Laury on August 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    When I was in high school I religiously took a cardio combat class. It was NOT for the faint of heart. The instructor was incredible! Then, a few years later I took Krav Maga that was even more hardcore! I was never able to move after those workouts!!!!!!!!! I haven’t boxed in years, but did love it. It is such a great workout!

  23. Averie @ Averie Cooks on August 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Ive never taken a boxing class but if for no other reason that self-defense principles 101 type thing, I’d love to try one! I know it’s gotta be such a great workout too!

  24. Jessica on August 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try boxing, but feel like I don’t know where to start! Thanks for posting this – it definitely gives me a better idea of the basics!

  25. Erin on August 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    That girl in the kickboxing photo has really bad form! My knee hurts just looking at that. She needs to rotate that planted foot and have her heel facing the bag. Ouch!! Good way to get a bad knee injury!

  26. @pluvk on August 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve never tried a “pure” boxing class, but I really enjoy kickboxing! It used to make me nervous… I’m a dancer by trait, and the idea of kicking and punching my way through a workout was a little intimidating! But I LOVE it! It’s the best way to get out my aggression. And… I’ll be honest… if someone REALLY pisses me off at work (it happens), I just pretend we’re in the ring. Bam! Bam! 🙂 Okay, now I’ve shown everyone my potential for violence… great.

  27. vicky on August 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Addicted to boxing.. makes me feel so strong and powerful! Having a great teacher makes all the difference in the world though (as with any group ex class)… I’m sure you’ll be wonderful, Gina!

  28. Anne Speck on August 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I was boxing for approx 7 years at a local boxing club – then the owner of they gym where I taught bootcamp asked me to teach kickboxing. With a little more coaching from an expert kickboxer, I have been teaching for the past 6 years! I have had a few people stick with it all that time and still there – so I know they are enjoying it! Great workout, and for sure, when one has a bad day – the bag is the place to let it all out! Good luck with your classes, if you need any help, email me and hopefully I can offer some moves or advice! CHEERS!

  29. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on August 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I’ve done cardio kickboxing videos in the past, but I’ve never tried an actual class.
    On the bucket list!

  30. CampingGirl on August 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I really want to do yoga on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with Lululemon.

  31. Natalie on August 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I so need new running shoes! It is probably ridiculous that I’ve been running about 3x a week with this same pair for 2 years! No wonder my feet hurt a bit after a longer run. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to take some time to get them before August is over!

  32. Courtney (peace love & sweat) on August 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I go to a boxing gym regularly, and I’ve actually found that all of the classes strengthen my legs-we do squats, squat jumps, lunges, burpees, and a lot of other calisthenic drills that have worked wonders!

  33. Kevie on August 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm


    I’ve been searching… Do you have a Focus On post for foam rolling? …I swear you do. I have been hearing a lot about it and wanted more info and your take on it. Thanks! 🙂

  34. amy on August 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I’m in love with my boxing club right now! bought a groupon then a membership and i love it! such an amazing workout – you leave drenched in sweat and feeling like a badass. what more could you want? I’m totally obsessed right now- only downfall is that now I feel like every other class I take is too low impact compared to boxing…I used to also love bodypump and zumba but now I feel they aren’t a good enough workout:( maybe that’s a good thing?

  35. Amy on August 16, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    I love TurboKick but haven’t taken an actual boxing class. You should get one of these for teaching!

    • Fitnessista on August 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm


  36. heatherfeather on August 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I am a HUGE cardio boxing fan! The funny thing is…I am super quiet and reserved and would NEVER want to punch a person for reals. Something about punching that bag and hitting my trainer’s mitts is so motivating! We start out with jump ropes or a couple of running laps, add in some burpees/trx/100 pushups (my theory is so our arms are like jello before we hit the instructor’s mitts 🙂 ), and then we do some bag work. We even do “sprints” for 30 seconds on/off up to a minute. INTENSE! The scariest days are when he digs out the “rope of death” where he wraps it around a boxing pole and we circuit in doing jumping jacks, arm raises, and circles to really tire out the shoulder. My shoulders have never been so defined – in a totally good girly way – no scary Hulk arms here. Good luck teaching boxing….I’m sure it will be fun.

  37. Bek @ Crave on August 17, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I do fitbox classes and really enjoy it. Basically the classes involve circuits, boxing and cardio. It’s best when we end up doing partner work at the end- it adds competition to push you harder and is great for the heart rate- i love when jumping lunges are thrown in, sprints and burpees 😉

  38. Alicia on August 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

    My husband has a bag in our back room, I’ve always wanted to throw a few, but never know where to start. Anyone have recommendations for DVDs?

    • Fitnessista on August 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      i’m obsessed with turbo fire. it’s more dance meets kick box, but i’s incredible

  39. Angie @ Losing It and Loving It on August 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    LOVE boxing! It is probably my favorite workout ever. I had let it go for a while but I am going to get back to it. I like all types, shadow, kick, bag, you name it. I did love Turbo Kick classes and I have the Turbo Jam workouts but really want the Turbo Fire. It’s on my wish list.

    A year ago, I was given the chance to experience a personal class at a Muay Thai boxing gym in Atlanta. It was awesome. After seeing Slam Man there, hubby and I searched high and low for one. No one sells them anymore but I found one on Craigslist, not too far from home. He now resides in our home gym! Just do a Google search for Slam Man, he’s pretty cool.

  40. Gina B on August 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I love bag class, and actually bought a standing bag for home! My favorite classes are when the instructor mixes a lot of moves into one track. My favorite instructor is also a good friend, and he encourages me to modify to increase intensity. To up the pace and cardio, I’ll work jump squats, knee to corners, split lunges, or jacks in between punches. It’s also a good way to get my legs involved. Have fun with it!

  41. Jasmine W on August 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I am in love with kickboxing! I had a pretty regular routine of it during my senior year of high school and man-o-man did it really make a difference with my strength! Fast forward five years and now after having my babies I would so love to get back into it to strengthen back up again! I never found it intimidating and loved how great it made me feel when I got a good punch in or kick combo! =) Great post…it really has me wanting to find a kickboxing class ASAP!

  42. Maggie on August 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Late to the party since I was away last week…but I LOVE the kickboxing classes I take. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had working out. It’s often the best part of my day. I did a whole post on what classes are like at my kickboxing gym:

  43. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on August 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing all of this info with us. I would really love to take a boxing class, but none of the gyms that I’ve belonged to have offered them. I like kickboxing classes a lot, but I’d really love to work with a heavy punching bag – I’ve often thought that would be a great way to let out some aggression! That’s really cool that you’ll get to teach boxing classes; can’t wait to see how it goes – I’m sure you’ll do a great job!

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