New boxing gyms are doing an amazing job of breaking down the biggest barrier in people getting involved with boxing.
"what if I get punched in the face?"
The good news is - you won't. But the overall essence of the sport still leaves people hesitant to glove up and walk into a boxing gym.
Here's a list of 25 things to know before going to your first boxing class
Pick the right type of boxing class for what you’re interested in. In general, there tends to be two main types of gyms. There are fitness-class style boxing workouts (Rumble, Grit, TKO), where you’ll be in a large group following an instructor’s commands while hitting a heavy bag and doing cardio. You’ll do more cardio and get less instruction at these types of gyms, but they have a really fun vibe.
Then there’s the local boxing gym types. These will typically have people with a wide range of experience. The serious boxers will typically be off doing their own thing, while the trainers at the facility will likely spend time with you explaining the basics of boxing while sending you off to jump rope or hit the heavy bag at different times.
There’s no right or wrong gym to choose. It really depends on personal preference and comfort level – but you should really feel comfortable at both (especially after reading this).
- No matter which gym or class you go to, no one is going to pressure you to engage in any contact. In fact, even if you requested it, they wouldn’t let you unless you showed you’ve been in the ring before.
- Beginners come in constantly. You will not be the only beginner and no one will judge you or really care.
Bring your own gloves (try these). Some gyms will have gloves you can use, but most gloves get pretty gross, so you won’t want to use boxing gloves that someone (or many) used before.
You NEED handwraps. If you wear gloves without handwraps underneath, the glove will feel too big and your hand and wrist will not be properly protected. Also – handwraps help to absorb the sweat to preserve your gloves from getting soaked.
- Try to learn how to wrap your hands before you go so you're not struggling to wrap up in time.
- That said, if you can't figure it out, someone will likely be able to show you.
- There are many different ways you can wrap your hands. This one style is a simple, effective way that I recommend.
Get there 10 minutes early if it’s a scheduled class. If the class is scheduled for 6:30, it’s going to start at 6:30 whether you have your hands wrapped or not. Be there early so you can get gloved up and ready to go when the bell rings.
- Everyone has their preferences, but it’s usually not a good idea to roll up with lace-up boxing gloves. Unless you get a special modifier, you’ll need someone to tie them and untie them for you.
Bring a water bottle (seems obvious, but I've seen people not do it), you’re going to need it. It might be worth grabbing a squirt bottle of some sort so that you don’t have to take your gloves off to grab a drink.
- Your body will probably be sore in places you’ve never been sore before. It's like, wait I had a muscle there?
One part that will be surprisingly sore is your back muscles (lats and rhomboids). This is from rotating on punches and also bringing the hands back to your body after extending to punch.
You’re probably never going to fight in your life. But the trainer is going to push you to practice as if you’re planning on it.
You should train as if you plan on entering the ring someday. It makes it more fun and you’ll feel like you’re working toward something. Just pretend and who knows, maybe you will someday.
Keep your hands up. Keeping your hands up during and in between combos is a great way to get the most out of your exercise and simulate best practi
- If you’re right handed (orthodox), stand with your left foot in front and your right leg back. Your left hand will be your lead hand and your right hand will be your power hand. If you’re left handed (southpaw), it’s the reverse. Right foot and hand is front toward that bag and the left foot and hand are back ready to drop that power.
There are six main punches in boxing that will likely be involved in your first class. The jab (lead hand), the straight (right hand), a left or right hook, and a left or right uppercut. If you’re going to a class like Rumble, you’ll be throwing all of these. If you’re going to a smaller gym that’s less of an organized class, you may end up only learning your stance and throwing jabs on your first visit.
Almost every boxing gym/class will follow a 3 minutes on and 1 minute rest (or sometimes an “active rest”). This aligns with the timing of a boxing match that has 3 minute rounds and 1 minute rest between rounds.
Hitting focus mitts (or punch mitts) is tricky at first, but once you get used to it, it’s a really fun workout.
- Hitting the mitts is also a very very tiring workout. You’d be surprised at how tired you are after 3 minutes of a punching mitt workout.
- The videos you see of people hitting the mitts extremely fast with long combos are unrealistic early on. Those people usually have a long-term chemistry and routine with their trainer.
Not all boxing classes will have you work the focus mitts. Places like Rumble and Grit, for instance, will only have you doing bagwork and body strength exercises. If you want to hit the mitts at one of the gyms, you’ll have to signup for a private lesson.
- You may be told to do some shadowboxing as a warmup. Shadow boxing is usually uncomfortable for beginners. You basically pretend to box an imaginary opponent while practicing your movements and throwing punches at the air. Most beginners feel a little silly. Just don’t think about it and channel your imagination – the top pros in the world do this every workout. Plus, everyone else is in their own zone and doesn’t notice anything you’re doing.
You’ll feel great afterward. It’s a really good full body workout, and each time you go you’ll get a little more polished with your stance and combos.