"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." Muhammad Ali

Women's boxing is an art, at least as much as age-old Karate or Jiu Jitsu. This discipline is distinguishable from men's boxing and has specificities of its own. From its history through to its techniques and current practice, here are all the secret's of women's boxing, a discipline of the mind, body and spirit!

Throughout the history of female boxing champions, Australia has paid attention. This number of interested parties jumped significantly after the film Million Dollar Baby in 2004 rose to the top of the box office, and many amateur fighters saw themselves on the screen.

The current situation shows us that many Australian women have a secret olympic dream, or are just enjoying partaking in fights in the ring for fitness for the range of super health and physical benefits it provides. It helps you feel you in your personal and even professional life, because of the high intensity workout you get for minutes at a time, all whilst following the rules of an actual boxing ring.

The benefits are obvious for any age, and whilst you may not end up being as famous on an international scale as Muhammad Ali, you can still let the fight out of you, even ending up in a professional organisation like the WBA.

Also use these skills in Karate or another martial art! Women who really want a super way to add years to their life should consider this for the full range of health benefits it can provide.

Read on in our guide for some essential information on how to box and use martial arts as your new favourite way to burn calories and let off steam!

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Women's Boxing: Stay in Shape and Lose Weight

Coming from the practices of pankration and pugilism, dating from many centuries ago, boxing is an ancient sport that is a part of martial arts, just like aikido, judo or taekwondo. A boxer must have full control of his gestures (his foot, leg, arm, fist), to perform precise and effective movements.

It's not enough to just hit in boxing, you must always have a goal in mind.

Get in Shape with Boxing
Practice boxing to let off steam and sculpt your body (Source: Pixabay)

Given that intense effort is needed in women's boxing training, boxing for weight loss can also be considered a goal. Why? Simply because, even if you are a beginner, boxing enables you to add muscles very quickly, thanks to strength training exercises, including weight lighting. Better than Pilates, Zumba or going to the gym, boxing allows you to lose weight quickly, but also to lose weight in a sustainable way. With muscle and strength building, you gain flexibility, ab exercises allow you to be more resistant to the punch of your partner, stretching helps you to improve your punch. With three sports activities mixed into one, it's worth an hour or two in the ring to sculpt one's body, right?

In truth, boxing has many virtues:

  • General fitness
  • To sculpt a dream body
  • Lose inches in your arms, legs and hips
  • Improve your cardio

With some variations, you can focus on a training program adapted to weight loss, with for example Sweatbox which, as the name suggests, will make you sweat!

More than helping you shed unwanted pounds, boxing will help you get in shape: between warming up, stretching, free fighting or training on punch bags, your body is quickly subjected to intense activity!

Practising boxing to lose weight is like everything else: it's all just a matter of mind over matter! This is something that every dojo master might tell you.

Discover How Female Boxing is Different from Male Boxing

Between strategy, tactics and aggression, you will probably be wondering what distinguishes women's boxing from men's boxing. This is normal because men's boxing is more often shown in the media than women's boxing: it is easier to name a men's world champion than a professional female boxer. This is why it is important to know the advantages of practising women's boxing, especially as compared to men's boxing. Sports disciplines that are similar, but have different histories and goals.

Differences in Men and Women's Boxing
Women VS Men in the ring: the same passion (Source: Pixabay)

If boxing is considered a combat sport, it's for a good reason: apart from a few variants that can be practised with bare hands, most are done with specific boxing equipment for men and women. We find, for example, the following unavoidable components:

  • Boxing gloves
  • Mouth protector
  • Boxing shoes
  • Shin pads
  • Boxing shorts
  • Boxing helmet
  • Jock strap (for men of course)
  • Equipment: punching bag, punching ball, skipping rope

Practitioners are predominantly male, but it also depends on the type of boxing. Women's boxing and boxing men each have their particularities.

Men can be very competitive, one might think of famous boxers such as Floyd Mayweather or Mike Tyson, heavyweights who go full-out on their opponent. Kung fu, kickboxing, UFC- many men seem to prefer intense contact sports. Or is it the challenge they crave?

For these types of sports, an intense physical preparation is necessary: weightlifting, bodybuilding, diet; every aspect of the athlete's life is tackled in order to become the best among the competitors.

Women can also be very competitive: Australia has a long history of winning medals at Olympic games in female boxing. In 2014, Shelley Watts won gold at the Commonwealth games as well. Skye Nicolson came centimetres away from being guaranteed at least a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 games as well, with judges ruling that her opponent only marginally beat her by 3 points. Typically, we always walk away with at least a bronze in international competitions and show our might, proving that we are a force to be reckoned with.

However, for most women, 80% say they prefer to practice educational boxing or boxing training, that is to say, focusing on other aspects, such as fitness, self-defence or getting into shape.

For many male boxers, the end goal is to be victorious in the ring whereas, for women, the victory often lies elsewhere: from shedding unwanted inches, toning, refining, becoming more dynamic and flexible, but, of course, these are also beautiful victories, obtained in the ring!

Instead of searching the Internet for boxing classes near me, why not check out Superprof's boxing coaches?

Know the Different Types of Boxing for Women

Being more rhythmic, athletic or gymnastic, it is difficult to know which boxing to choose when facing the wide choice of traditional boxing options and variations. Women will often hesitate between combat boxing and fitness boxing, the first emphasizing technique and strength, the second, rather on overall goals of health and well-being.

Don't get us wrong though, there is definitely still a huge element of control and discipline here, but knowing the shape and movement of your body is key to understanding it. This is important not only in setting your fitness goals, but also finding the balance you need when in the ring, thereby not over-exerting yourself and finding good pacing.

Many options for ladies boxing classes
Knowing the type of boxing options available for women is essential in making the best choice for you! (Source: Pixabay)

Among traditional boxing rings, women remain a minority, but this does not stop them from practising:

  • French boxing
  • French savate style boxing
  • British boxing
  • Thai boxing
  • American boxing or full contact
  • Chinese boxing

There is a variant to full contact, called light contact, which focuses more on global play tactics and not on the effectiveness of hits. To vary it up and progress quickly, or for improvement, if you do boxing competition, some boxing variations may interest you:

  • Kickboxing
  • Muay thai
  • Jui jitsu
  • MMA
  • Self-defence
  • Krav Maga

They each focus on one part of the body, or have a specific goal. Self-defence courses are very popular in larger cities: they are self-mastery disciplines, where you learn to defend yourself against an aggressor.

The competencies you gain in the gym, studio, or ring will definitely have real life applications. Since many women do practice boxing and martial arts as a means of self defence, it is worth keeping in your repertoire if you ever have to use it. Whilst women shouldn't have to feel threatened and be ready to fight at all times, sometimes just knowing that you've got surprise strength and agility in reserve can give you instant peace of mind.

Other boxing variants are dedicated exclusively to female participants. They sometimes help you to gain in endurance, by working on raising your heart rate, sometimes in flexibility, thanks to an improvement in footwork. Among the most trendy disciplines, we find:

  • Cardio boxing, focusing on building physical stamina and fitness
  • Boxing gym classes, to work on abs and glutes
  • Ladies only boxing, offering a women-only practice
  • Boxercise and Boxfit, halfway between boxing and fitness (look up for boxercise classes near me)
  • Ladies only self-defence, where mental and physical conditioning are equal halves of the discipline.

Give your chosen class a trial run before you commit, because once inside, your coaches will be focused on only one goal: to help you perfect and improve.

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Boxing Classes Created and Adapted for Women

Faced with all these variations, you may already want to take a women's boxing class near you. For that, you still need to know where to go, and where to fit in an organised boxing class. There are indeed a few different kinds of places that serve female clientele specifically, which can sometimes lead to a more tailored, and certainly less intimidating experience.

Luckily, because of the diversity of boxing clubs and courses for women, you can practice your discipline in many places:

  • Boxing club
  • Sports association/centre
  • Boxing gym
  • Boxing/sports hall
  • Municipal gymnasium

These days, practising in person and in groups are not the only ways to practice boxing. In fact, you can find women's boxing classes online. For online courses, it's easy to subscribe (and often free):

  • Courses on DVD's
  • Course on Youtube (channels)
  • Specialized websites of former champions
  • You may even want to work with a boxing coach online!

These courses may also include physical training, perfecting boxing sequences, or how to master the glove-to-glove combat between athletes. It is not uncommon for a former champion of Australia to become a coach, to give group lessons or private lessons, on the Internet or in-home.

If you do want to take your boxing seriously and continue it, or you're looking for a diverse application of personal or group training skills, or, even if you're passion about fitness and education, then consider getting to the top of your game and enrolling in a boxing teaching course and imparting your wisdom to others.

Ladies only boxing classes
Practice boxing by taking tailor-made classes for women: find your perfect class

 

Finally, you can also look for a boxing coach through platforms like Superprof, which allows you to find a teacher near you: if you find yourself getting tired of over-crowded boxing classes, an in-home personal trainer is the solution.

They could be an independent instructor, sometimes a personal trainer or a former boxing champion, who will come to your private or group boxing lessons. Being coached individually offers the advantage of a personalized approach, and enables rapid progression!

Now, to get your prepared for your first boxing lesson, we've prepared answers to some of the more frequent questions novice boxers always ask.

How does Boxing Tone Your Body?

As opposed to many workout regimens, those that focus on one or only a few aspects of fitness, boxing involves virtually all muscle groups including the most important muscle of all: your heart.

I use kettlebells and dumbbells in my workout and I thought my workout targeted all of the muscle groups!

Unfortunately, that is not necessarily so. Let’s take a close look at workouts involving weights.

Those do involve several muscle groups: abs, legs, glutes, arms and your back muscles (at least, they should!). The trouble is that most of them work specific muscle groups in turn; seldom do they work your entire body at once.

It is quite common to hear a personal trainer ask a new client: “What do you want to work on first?”. You may have even overheard someone at your gym say: “I need to work on my arms (my legs, my buns, etc.).

Another point to consider: even though your heart rate rises a bit as you do your reps, it doesn’t necessarily get into the toning, fat-burning realm of cardio.

I switch up between cardio routines every few weeks: some involve more leg work and others stress upper body muscle groups. Isn’t that a good thing?

The answer to that is concentric.

 

Let's pause for a second

What is the takeaway up to here?

Well it might be that you are overwhelmed.

If this is the case, consider going to your local gym or boxing studio and asking in detail what classes are available. This way, you can ask a professional what groups of the body you want to work on most (even though boxing works everything), and they can guide you towards concurrent classes you could take to boost those ones in particular

In addition, they'll be able to show you how many times a week you should do this and guide you on particular weights programmes to support such training.

Otherwise, they should be able to show you other kinds of classes like Bodypump at your gym that can get your strength up and support the boxing practice you're so keen on undertaking

Ok, let's get back to it.

 

You might start off with ‘you’re working out: great!’, go one layer deeper by exclaiming: ‘raising your heart rate is a good start to toning up.’. And alternating your workout, albeit without too much time between alternations, is also a good idea.

But then, we end up with the same situation as before: you work some muscle groups more intensively than others.

Well, I swim: that works arms and legs as well as my heart!

Indeed, swimming is an excellent, low-impact way to tone up. Low-impact?

When you swim, the effect of water on your body is twofold. First, it acts as an insulator shielding you from the impacts and stresses of a non-waterborne workout. It is a fact that you cannot move briskly or violently in water because you are constantly fighting against its weight and pressure on you.

You can, of course, cut through the water and glide on/in it.

It is the pressure and weight of the water that forms resistance to virtually every movement you make that makes swimming a type of mild resistance training. However, it is not truly resistant because the surface tension of water permits you to glide through it rather than work against it.

By its very nature, resistance training stresses body tissues: joints, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Those stresses are minimised by the water.

A feature that makes resistance training so effective in toning muscles is called progressive overload. As the body gets used to the weight it is working against, one adds progressively more weight to challenge those muscles anew.

See how these two boxers have not an ounce of fat on them?
Note the definition and sculpt of these two boxers! Source: Pixabay Credit: Skeeze

You might argue that, once you get used to swimming 40 laps, you could simply increase the number of times you swim back and forth across the pool but that would be like comparing barbells to dumbbells.

Increasing the number of reps a resistance trainer does is not equal to the amount of weight s/he lifts with each rep.

Because you continue to work against the same level of resistance, increasing the number of laps you swim would be the same as a weight lifter lifting the same weight more often. Of course, you would end up fatigued but not necessarily more toned because your muscles have plateau'ed; they will need greater resistance to continue to develop.

How does boxing provide resistance training?

Because boxer training is so varied, boxers meet resistance in just about every facet of their training!

Skipping rope impacts lower extremity muscles, joints and other tissues. Isometric and isotonic exercises such as pushups and planking work the body against itself.

Working any of the bags – speed bag, double-end bag or the heavy bag impacts upper body tissues. Naturally, bag work involves footwork too; here again, the lower body gets conditioning treatment.

Boxers also train with weights – although, for them, the same holds true as with anyone else lifting weights: they are only working specific muscle groups at a time.

Sparring works the entire body including your heart and, yes, even your brain! Sparring is a mock-fight; a training exercise wherein two similarly-classed boxers take each other on in the ring.

Through strategy, speed; strength and skill, boxers inevitably undergo a total body conditioning that other workouts, taken singly, would be hard-pressed to equal!

What Are the Benefits of Boxing?

Listing the many ways that boxing can be beneficial risks being a long article indeed, so let’s break the benefits you could reap into categories, highlighting those main features. We’ll start with the easiest one.

Physical Benefits of Boxing

In its purest form, boxing is an equal-opportunity workout: by the time you complete a training session, you will have worked every muscle group and your heart.

Next, add sub-specialities of boxing: kickboxing, Muay Thai, Savate (a French style of boxing involving kicks as well as punches) and even mixed martial arts fighting and you have a physical activity that calls for both strength and endurance.

Not to mention, you will looked toned and amazing, as since the balance of your own body weight and movement that boxing entails works your whole body, you will look proportionate as well as looking toned and healthy.

Naturally, one must be at one’s peak athletic conditioning to compete in these sports!

Mental Benefits of Boxing

In the ring, you cannot afford distractions; any loss of focus might result in your opponent landing a knockout blow.

Boxers are unusually focused athletes; their fierce concentration – on their opponent, on their strategy and on their own self-preservation serves not just to win the match but to keep them from serious injury.

So, if you wanted to improve your ability to not be swayed by distractions, to strategise and, yes, even to improve your agility and hand-eye coordination, you should consider taking up boxing!

On top of this, and perhaps self-evidently, it really wears you out, but you can go again relatively quickly afterwards (within a matter of days). Sometimes after work, to release the stress of the day, you need to not only get your aggression out by hitting something, but you need to force the energy out of your body.

Bear in mind thought that this energy expenditure is temporary (which is just what you want). Long term, many individuals who practice regularly comment that the combination of weights, strength, and cardio that boxing entails leaves them feeling energised, and overall more capable of facing challenges.

Discover various boxing classes near me on Superprof.

Don't worry about meeting a kid in the ring, you'll be well trained to fight him!
You'll never need worry who you'll face, on the street or in the ring, if you are properly conditioned to fight! Source: Pixabay Credit: Papafox

Psychological Benefits of Boxing

Have you had a bad day at work? Has your partner decided to not partner with you any more? Do you simply have a lot of stress in your life that you need to work out?

Could you suggest a better way to relieve stress and anger than by repeatedly pummelling a heavy bag?

Could anyone find a more exacting means of ridding oneself of negative energy than by channelling it through a measured, rhythmic activity such as jumping rope or working a speed bag?

Now, this might sound not dissimilar to the mental benefits, but the thing is that this one is more of a way to train your brain to enjoy the sport, even representing a physical change in the way the brain produces endorphins.

When it comes to psychology, it's partly about how you talk to yourself as well. This means that rather than there being a passive impact on yourself in terms of what the mental benefits are to your health from boxing, you find that you can actively motivate yourself more and find inner strength you didn't know you had thanks to the way you're able to control and get in touch with yourself through the sport.

Besides the considerable benefits brought by boxing, you can improve your mental and psychological conditioning by engaging in this all-encompassing physical activity!

Is Boxing Really a Good Way to Lose Weight?

The short answer is... no. Why?

Because as you work your body, you will indeed lose inches and fat but, in return, you will gain muscle mass – and everyone knows that muscle weighs more than fat!

Besides, boxing to lose weight is really the wrong question. Or, more specifically, too limited a question.

One should really ask if boxing would make you more fit, toned and mentally prepared for the challenges in and outside the ring. Like we mentioned above, it's about getting the edge and being dynamic whilst being in balance and control of your own body and mind. 

Were you to ask that question, the answer would be a resounding ‘YES’!

Consider the physical evolution of someone learning how to box. She would first have to build strength and stamina, meaning that she would change her eating habits, her workouts and even her state of mind to those of an athlete.

And then, she would undergo changes in her thinking: critically analysing her opponents’ strategies and calculating strategies of her own to compensate for challenger’s strengths and overcome her weaknesses.

Once the new thought patterns have been established, all of this happens lightning-fast while she’s engaged in the fight but, best of all, these skills carry over into every aspect of her life.

Then, when you feel that you've completely got the set of skills necessary to carry yourself through any challenge, you will start manifesting all of the positive benefits of such strategies in every aspect of yourself, personal life, and professional life.

Furthermore, as this all-inclusive development occurs, she would find a change in her emotional state.

Would you like to feel the confidence a fighter embodies? Seize it and make it your own?

In general, boxers are possessed of an enviable sureness, in and out of the ring.

It comes from knowing they are in their best shape ever, that they have the strength and fortitude to see any situation through be it physical or intellectual, and that all of these desirable qualities are a direct result of their hard work; work they will happily continue to do!

They have the privilege of bonding and working with other individuals who have the same outlook on life and on their sport; an inclusive activity that, by necessity, is an all-in proposition.

What does that mean?

If you want to box to lose weight... that’s a good goal but you’re not thinking far enough.

If you want to box, you should prepare to become toned, fit and well-nigh indomitable. You should gear yourself up for changes in your frames of mind and in your psyche; in how you think and even on your perspective of life.

You should be prepared for the inclusion and solidarity you will find at any boxing club and be willing and ready to reciprocate that positive energy with your fellow boxers.

On the other hand, if you want to lose weight...

Head on over to your nearest boxing club. Talk with the coaches; slip on those gloves and give the sport a try. You may find that boxing gives you so much more than you could have hoped for!

Whether it is to tone up, gain self-confidence or simply because you like contact sports, women's boxing can be practised at any time, anywhere, and for all purposes!

I'll be waiting for you in the ring, no excuses!

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Daniel

A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.