core

The Four Exercises To Reduce Lower Back Pain And Strengthen Core

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Low-back pain is a potentially debilitating issue that affects most active people at some point in their lives. One major downside of having low-back pain is how difficult it is to exercise and achieve your fitness goals, such as finally getting that flat tummy you’ve always wanted. Luckily, there is one exercise that can reduce low-back pain while simultaneously flattening your stomach — the plank

Because the plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain. As the deep abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section tightens. When done properly, the plank not only uses the deep abdominal muscles, it also recruits the hip, shoulder and upper-back muscles.

HOW TO DO AN EFFECTIVE PLANK:

  1. Hold the elbows directly under the shoulders and place the wrists in line with the elbows.
  2. Push your body up into your upper back and hold your chin close to your neck (like you’re holding an egg between your chin and your throat).
  3. In this position, brace your abdominals—contract them like expecting a punch in the stomach, squeeze your gluteal (tailbone) and thigh muscles simultaneously while continuing to breathe normally.
  4. Hold a plank at least 20 to 30 seconds. (When using correct form, it is not necessary to hold it for longer than this amount of time.)
  5. Rest for approximately one minute and repeat three to five more times.
  6. Start doing the plank using the elbows and toes (feel free to drop to your knees if necessary) and progress up to a high plank when you feel you have developed the necessary strength.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING THE PLANK:

  • Allowing the hips, head or shoulders to drop
  • Holding both hands together (creating internal rotation and instability at the shoulder joint)
  • Holding your breath
  • Trying to hold the contraction too long—it is more preferable to hold optimal alignment for a shorter period of time than to hold a poor position for an extended period of time.

PLANK WITH HIP FLEXION/EXTENSION

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Raise the right leg approximately 6 to 8 inches, hold for five seconds and then alternate legs. Start with three to four repetitions and gradually increase over time.
  3. To increase the level of difficulty, raise the right and then bring the right knee up to the outside of the right elbow; return to the starting position. Alternate legs for three to five repetitions.

PLANK WITH THORACIC SPINE ROTATION

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Press the right hand into the ground, rotate both feet and hips to the left while raising the left arm off of the ground. Rotate the left arm down, then repeat the move to the other side, pushing the left hand into the ground and rotating the right arm up.
  3. Repeat for three to six repetitions on each side.

SIDE PLANK WITH FULL EXTENSION

  1. The first level of progression is to perform the side plank with the elbow directly under the shoulder. It is important to make sure the body is properly aligned and to enhance stability by contracting the abdominals (like preparing for a punch) and squeezing the glutes (butt) and thighs while pressing both legs together. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and alternate sides.
  2. From a side -ying position, press the right hand into the ground, and fully extend the arm while pushing both legs together and keeping the side of the right foot pressed into the ground. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and alternate sides.

PLANK-UP

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Drop the right arm down to the right elbow, then drop your left arm down to the left elbow; hold for three seconds. Return to the starting position by placing first the right hand and then the left hand on the ground. Repeat for three to five repetitions.

All structures require a strong foundation for optimal stability, and the human body is no exception. Improving strength of the deep abdominal muscles helps establish a solid foundation for the human structure. To enhance core strength, reduce low-back pain and flatten the stomach, it is important to use exercises, such as the plank, that co-contract all layers of abdominal fascia at the same time. For specific advice on how to do these exercises or any others, sign up for one on one private boxing sessions with Malibu Boxing.

Home Boxing Workout - Sculpt A Knockout Body And Punch Off The Pounds

4 Round - Home Boxing Workout

Maybe you're not the fighting type, but here are some facts that will get you in the ring: Boxing blasts around 600 calories an hour while sculpting your arms, shoulders, core, and legs. And since nailing the punch sequences requires extreme focus, boxing is an excellent way to train your mind and body at once.

How it works: After the brief warm-up, do each round back to back with little or no rest in between. Repeat the full circuit (all 4 rounds) 1-3 times total.

Warm-Up: Jump Rope

3 minutes

Get your blood pumping with this traditional boxer's warm-up. Use a real jump rope if you have one handy, but if not, just imagine you're holding one.

 

Round 1: Jab, Cross, Jab, Bob and Weave

Reps: 10 per side

Stand with your right foot forward, arms in "guard" position (elbows bent, hands in fists on either side of your chin). Throw a right jab (quickly punch your right arm forward, rotating your fist down, without locking out your elbow), a left cross (punch your left arm forward, rotating your left hip into the punch and lifting your left heel off the floor), and then repeat a right jab. Bring arms back to guard, and quickly bob and weave from left to right by lowering into a squat as you circle your body from the back (lower left) to the front (lower right) (as if tracing a letter "U" with your upper body). Return to start. That's one rep.

Do 10 reps in a row as quickly as you can, and then switch your stance and do 10 reps on the other side.

Round 1: Boxer Pushups

Reps: 10

Start in full plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders, abs in tight. Lower your body until your chest is just a few inches above the floor. Press halfway up, then lower back to hover above from the floor. Press all the way back up to full plank. That's one rep.

Do 10 in a row with proper form, being careful not to let your hips sag or your back arch during the movement. Drop to your knees if it's too challenging.

Round 2: Double Jab, Cross, Jab, Cover

Reps: 10 per side

Stand with your right foot forward, arms on guard. Throw a double jab with your left arm by quickly doing two jabs in a row. Next, throw a right cross punch, then repeat a single jab on the left. Quickly "cover" (imagine you are trying to protect your torso from your opponent's punches) by twisting your upper body (hips stay still) and bringing your right elbow to your belly button. Immediately reverse to the left, and then repeat one more time to the right (the pace of this move is very quick, try counting "1, 2, 3" as you do it to keep your tempo up). Return to start. That's one rep.

Repeat 10 times in a row as quickly as you can, and then switch your stance and do 10 reps on the other side.

Round 2: Boxer Pushups

Reps: 10

Repeat the same movement you did during round one. If your form starts to fall apart, drop to your knees to complete the set.

Round 3: Jab, Cross, Hook, Bob and Weave

Reps: 10 per side

This combo is very similar to round one, except you'll add a new knockout punch: the hook. Start standing with your right foot forward, arms on guard. Throw a right jab, left cross, and then a right hook by keeping your elbow bent at 90 degrees and pivoting your right heel up as you rotate your right hip forward to power the punch (think of your fist swinging around the side of your opponent's face). Bring arms back to guard and quickly bob and weave from left to right, lowering into a squat as you circle your body from the back to the front. Return to start. That's one rep.

Repeat 10 times in a row as quickly as you can, and then switch your stance and do 10 reps on the other side.

Round 3: Boxer Bicycle Crunches

Reps: 20

Lie face-up with your knees bent into your chest, arms on guard. Lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the ground and then perform a bicycle crunch by twisting your left shoulder toward your right knee, left leg extends out straight and parallel to (but not touching) the ground. Repeat to the other side. That's one rep.

Do 20 reps in a row (head stays lifted the entire time) as quickly as you can. Keep your belly button pulled in tight to your spine and your chin in towards your chest to maximize your belly burn and avoid neck strain.

Round 4: Jab, Cross, Upper, Cover

Reps: 10 per side

This combo introduces the fourth and final punch: the uppercut. Stand with your right foot forward, arms on guard. Throw a right jab, a left cross punch, then a right uppercut (bend your elbow into your body, rotate your right hip and heel, and imagine punching up and under your opponent's chin). Next, quickly repeat the cover move from round two by twisting your upper body and elbows to your left, right, and left (quickly counting "1, 2, 3" as you do it). Return to start. That's one rep.

Repeat 10 times in a row as quickly as you can, and then switch your stance and do 10 reps on the other side.

Round 4: Boxer Bicycle Crunches

Reps: 20

Do another set of boxer bicycle crunches, moving as quickly as you can with perfect form.

Cardio Finisher: Criss-Cross Jump Rope

3 to 5 minutes

To burn off any remaining energy (and calories!), grab your jump rope—real or imaginary—and do up to 5 minutes of criss-cross style jumping.

Finally, wind down with a few dynamic stretches.

AUTHOR: JESSICA SMITH @ SHAPE FITNESS

Train Like a Boxer: 10 Exercises to Get You in Fighting Shape

I’ve always loved the sport of boxing.

When I was younger, I punched a few holes in the wall (sorry, mom and dad), and pretty soon afterwards my parents bought me a punching bag (which is all I always wanted anyway, guess I should have brought that up sooner).

I had no idea what I was doing then when I tried to punch the damn thing—all I knew was that boxers were always in incredible shape and really badass, and I wanted to be just like them.

Fast forward a few years later, I got my personal training certification and got a job at a gym in New York City solely based on the fact that it had a boxing ring and an awesome, incredibly badass trainer. I started taking lessons right away, and quickly learned all my hooks, jabs, and undercuts. I fell even deeper in love with the sport.

There’s something so satisfying, so primal in a way, of punching something (or someone) as hard as humanly possible.

And there’s no doubt about it—being in the ring is exhausting. You have to be able to outlast your opponent until the bitter end, so there’s no option but to be as fit as possible. Heck, even just a few rounds on a punching bag will leave you sweaty and breathless.

But whether or not you have any desire to punch anything, it’s hard to avoid the reality that boxers are in some of the best shape of any athletes. Never bulky, boxers tend to have a lean, athletic look based on being incredibly strong, well-conditioned, and full of passion and fire.

Because when you train like a fighter, you’ll build the strength, crazy endurance, and core power so that if you wanted to punch someone round after round, you could.

Here are 10 exercises you can do to get in fighting shape:

Jump rope

Jumping rope is one of the classic boxing exercises, because it helps build a lean, strong body, aids in coordination, agility, and footwork, and boosts endurance like nearly no other exercise does. Plus, since jump ropes are so portable, you can literally do it anywhere.

Here are some jump rope variations you can try:

  • Single jumps
  • High knees
  • Double jumps
  • Figure eights

Burpees

Burpees are pretty much the best exercise ever, and will increase your strength and endurance like no other exercise will. Plus, all that getting up and down is helpful in the ring (if you ever get knocked down, that is).

How to do it:

  1. Get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Kick your feet back into a push up position and lower body to the floor.
  3. Return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
  4. Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.
  5. Add a little clap for pizazz!

Sit ups

Boxers need a strong core to give them the strength to keep throwing punches, and sit ups are one of the classic exercises to build up core strength in the ring.

How to do it:

  1. Lay on the floor with your legs spread in a butterfly setup.
  2. Stretch your arms in front of you.
  3. Use your abs to pull yourself off of the floor.
  4. Touch your feet with your hands, making sure to keep your chest forward.
  5. Lower back down and repeat.

Tip: Try different variations of the sit up, such as throwing punches at the top of a sit up to build even more core strength and endurance.

Shadow boxing

It may seem wimpy if you’ve never tried it, but shadow boxing is one of the best ways to practice your movement and footwork as a boxer. Plus, it’s more tiring that you might imagine.

Push ups

Push ups are awesome and will also give you strong arms, shoulders, chest and core muscles. Plus, they require no equipment whatsoever, so you have no excuse not to do them!

How to do it:

  1. Start in a push up position, with your shoulders directly over your hands.
  2. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs.
  3. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat.

Beginner Modification:

  1. Start in a push up position with your knees on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs.
  3. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat.

Chin ups/pull ups

Not only are chin ups and pull ups totally badass, they’ll build up your arm, chest, back, shoulder and core strength like no other. Can’t do a single one yet? Learn how to start doing chin ups and pull ups.

How to do it:

  1. Start from a dead hang with straight elbows, palms facing you for chin ups, palms facing away for pull ups
  2. Keeping your chest up and your shoulders back, squeeze your glutes and cross your feet
  3. Pull yourself up so that your chin rests over the bar
  4. Lower down and repeat.

Squats

Squats will strengthen your legs and glutes so you can bob, weave, and slip (typical boxing defenses) all day long. A strong lower body is just as—or maybe more—important than a strong upper body during a fight.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs.
  3. Push your butt & hips back as if you were sitting in a chair.
  4. Keep your weight on your heels.
  5. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, raising your arms up as you lower down.
  6. Repeat.

Tip: for an extra challenge, try Sandbag squats or Kettlebell front squats. Or, if you have access to a barbell and weights, feel free to use that too.

Shoulder presses

Fighters need strong shoulders if they want to be able to keep punching round after round. And shoulder presses will help build up shoulder strength and endurance.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight (preferred to sitting) holding a sandbag, dumbbells, or a barbell at your waist.
  2. Raise the sandbag (or other weights) up to your shoulders, keeping your shoulders pulled back and your abs tight.
  3. Straighten your arms at a moderate pace.
  4. Lower back down to your shoulders and repeat.

Walking lunges

Not only will walking lunges build strength in your legs, glutes and core muscles, they’ll also help with balance and flexibility—key requirements for any fighter.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a lunge position with your knees touching or almost touching the floor.
  2. Without pausing, alternate legs, bringing your opposite leg forward into a lunge position.
  3. Continue alternating legs while moving forward.
  4. For an added challenge, hold something heavy.

Knees to elbows

Though sit ups are awesome because you can do them anywhere with no equipment, knees to elbows will give you an even stronger core. And they’ll help you build up to even cooler abs exercises, such as toes to knees, windshield wipers.

How to do it:

  1. Grip the pull up bar with your palms facing away from you, arms shoulder-width apart.
  2. Adding a slight swing, bring your knees up to your chest, touching your elbows if possible.
  3. Lower down and repeat.

AUTHOR: KRISTA @ 12 MINUTE ATHLETE

Boxing Workouts With Lifting

Boxing demands a high level of cardiovascular capacity, but excelling also requires strength. While strategy, footwork and overall fitness are important for boxing, you often will need to be able to overpower your opponents. Incorporating weightlifting into your workouts to prepare for boxing matches can be quite effective. Boxing workouts differ significantly from workouts for bodybuilding and other activities, so you may have to try new techniques and exercises. Always exercise with proper supervision.

Legs

All of your power for punching begins with your legs. The muscles of your legs help you push off of the ground and provide force, so you should prioritize exercises for your legs. Weightlifting exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and leg presses can help you build strength in your legs to help you move quickly around the ring and apply more force to your punches. As a boxer, you may also wish to do jump squats and jumping rope to improve foot speed and agility.

Core

Your core - namely, your abdominal muscles, back muscles and hip flexors - play several roles in boxing. Your core muscles help to transfer power from your lower body to your upper body, promoting stronger punches. Additionally, strong abdominal muscles will help cushion your midsection against punches and help promote balance and stability, both of which are important for boxing. You can work your core muscles with exercises such as weighted crunches, bridges, lying leg lifts and planks. Although many traditional workout plans don't include weighted abdominal exercises, these are important to build maximal strength for boxing.

Arms

Your arm strength influences punching power. Working your biceps and triceps will help you tone your arms and deliver more force when you strike. Perform barbell and dumbbell curls, triceps pushdowns and the military press. To meet the needs of boxing, include plyometric exercises, which consist of explosive movements. These type of exercises mimic the explosive power you need for boxing. Plyometric exercises such as explosive pushups and overhead medicine ball throws can help strengthen your arms.

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Chest and Shoulders

Your chest muscles help coordinate and connect the motion of your shoulders and back muscles. A strong chest will allow you to get the most power into your punches. Your shoulders help rotate your arms and offer force for punches. Performing exercises such as dumbbell flys, bench presses and pushups will help strengthen your chest muscles. Military presses and shrugs will help work your shoulders. While many of these exercises are used in a wide range of training plans, you can make your workout routine more specific to boxing by including drop sets - where you perform a set of an exercise normally, then reduce the weight by 20 percent and perform another set without taking a break. This demanding setup will prepare you to give your all for the entire duration of a round when boxing.

Back

Your back muscles assist your core in coordinating power across your entire body. Your back muscles are important for punch recovery, as they draw your arm back after you extend it to deliver a blow to your opponent. Stronger back muscles will allow you to pull your arms back more quickly to deliver more punches in less time. You can perform exercises such as dumbbell rows, deadlifts and cable rows to assist your boxing performance. The rowing motion directly translates to the motion you perform during punch recovery.

Repetition Ranges

For boxing, you'll want to not only increase your strength but also your endurance. You can focus on those traits by choosing particular repetition ranges for your exercises. Performing sets of 12 to 16 repetitions will help promote muscular endurance, while sets of four to eight repetitions will help you build strength.

AUTHOR: BRIAN @ WOMAN.THENEST.COM