There are a few sports that are historically male dominated – and boxing is one of them. However… times are a changing!
Women’s boxing was first seen in the Olympics in 1904 as part of a demonstration but was banned/saw little support in many countries. Attitudes towards women’s boxing started to change around 20 years ago and, in the 2012 Olympics, we saw Nicola Adams take home gold for the UK. Women were finally represented in every sport in the games!
Some people see boxing as being too violent but it isn’t all about knocking seven bells out of each other! It takes immense fitness, coordination and stamina to box – it’s not just about who can hit the hardest. Boxing requires a combination of footwork, technique, skill and power.
Boxing-related sport is growing in popularity. With classes like Boxfit and Boxercise you can access some of the benefits boxing can bring. It’s a great way to to get quick on your feet and super toned! Many gyms run boxing-related sessions as part of their timetables. Alternatively, you can choose to go to a specialised boxing gym. The benefit of the latter is that you’ll often find classes taken by current or past boxers and professional trainers – you also get access to a wider variety of equipment. Sessions often include a warm ups, running, shadow boxing, bag or pad work and circuit exercises.
If you want a super fast way to get an all over workout, this is it. Short sharp bursts of intense interval training, impact work with the bags and pads to strengthen and shape your upper body, and always moving on your toes and toning your legs- a perfect all round workout! It’s also a great way to vent any excess energy you have – I guarantee you won’t have any left by the end.
If you’re thinking of starting to box, take it slowly – arrive early and explain you’re a beginner and you’ll get shown a few of the basics. Most sessions will require you to have your own hand wraps – these protect all the tiny bones inside your hands – but can be picked up for under a fiver from your local sports store, or just bandages from the chemist. Most other equipment can generally be borrowed, and if you decide you love it, there’s always the option to advance into more technical sessions and training with an amateur club.
Despite its increasing popularity with women, it is still a male dominated environment but don’t let this put you off – I’ve not tried a boxing gym yet that hasn’t been welcoming to everybody. If you’re still a bit daunted by the thought of a boxing gym then look out for female-only sessions, many places run at least one a week.
It might not be for everyone, but it’s a great sport to try. Let’s help to continue it’s recognition in the wider the sporting community!
By Courtney Pipkin
Courtney is our Health and Fitness writer. She lives in London and is always trying new and different ways of getting a good workout.