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Fighting Shape

Time to get fired up! Boxing Basic Tips by Adam Colberg, Elite Pro Boxing Coach and Fitness Media Contributor

Photograph: Eddie Berman Photography

Ever think about getting in the ring? Yes, OK, maybe a throw down when trying to drive through traffic in downtown Fairfield, during rush hour, on a rainy/snowy evening? But we meant for the sport of it, not to mention the great fitness that goes with it. We approached Adam Colberg, Elite Pro Boxing Coach, for insights.

You can read about him in the January/February issue of Westport magazine, in which he shares his favorite vacation destination: Miami! Turns out that even when he's meant to be relaxing, he stays active. Colberg is an ISFTA sports/fitness personal trainer, fitness nutritional coach and pre- and postnatal specialist. In addition, he's a “Gleason’s Gym” professional boxing coach and even a CPFC fitness chef. With a degree in health and society, with honors, he can also boast holding three black belts in various martial art disciplines. Plus, he's a U.S. Marine.

If you want to work out with him, you're probably fit or ready to get fit. Seriously so. Colberg privately trains clients in Westport, New Canaan, Greenwich and Manhattan.

Here he shares some essentials to consider before trying boxing. And if you're already fit, don't miss the incredible selection of forty instructional videos on his website, AdamColberg.com. Here, with the Howcast boxing series, you'll find this pro's advice on movement and strategies in the ring. 

Boxing Basic Tips by Adam Colberg, Elite Pro Boxing Coach and Fitness Media Contributor

Before starting a boxing fitness regimen, it is wise for every participant to follow a structured program so that they may achieve an optimal result while ensuring basic safety measures. Yes, boxing is a form of exercise; however, all good exercise begins with a sound strength and conditioning base. This is why boxing must incorporate some basic strength and conditioning, along with its technical boxing movement. The program you are about to read will detail how to start. It will serve the user with a basic strength and conditioning circuit, and good boxing basics. Remember, keep it safe!

1. Running

Healthy participants can invigorate and energize their bodies before boxing with a moderate paced run. Start slow to warm-up; then, pick up the pace. This method serves as a healthy tonic for the body, and "jump-starts" training for every athlete. A half-mile or one mile run will be a great start. In time, encourage yourself to do a brisk 1.5 mile run. Keeping track of your time will serve as a useful tool. This is what I refer to as a tactical run. Running tactically is an ideal approach to conditioning one's body for fight-fitness. It increases one's anaerobic capacity, while also helping to prepare participants for life's unexpected challenges. Try to improve your running time with short bursts, using intervals over a short distance. I like to put fewer miles on the transmission making the body stronger, faster, and more explosive.

2. Strength

Incorporate strength training. Compound movements such as squatting, lunging, twisting, pushing, and pulling are vital to overall performance, injury prevention, and boxing. Compound movements also burn fat! A great start to achieving this objective would be to do a circuit of 5 exercises. Do not train to failure, but rather stop when you have two or three more repetitions left in the tank. Start with air squats, and then move to push-ups with an adaptation to the knees if necessary. Then do stationary air lunges one side at a time; then, follow with pull-ups, and assist your body weight with a super-band if necessary. Last, end one's circuit with the wood chop. Wood chops are a high to low twisting motion, moving as if one were chopping wood. This is executed with a strong rubberband with handles, wrapped high around a strong fixed point.

This quick and efficient circuit will make the participant stronger and more capable, and will help prevent injury. One set of each is sufficient, with a 10-20 second rest interval between each exercise. Build yourself up to two sets gradually. Weight vests may be used if the athlete desires more resistance.

3. Shadow Boxing

Shadow boxing is a "must" in one's boxing routine. Practicing in a safe, clear and open area is important. Then, as if one were dancing, work different combinations by yourself, throwing punches and defensive strategies at half-speed. Work the jab, the jab cross combo, and learn the hook punch. Also, work the slips and rolls, with other good basics. Be careful not to injure your elbows by locking out your punches at full extension. Also, use caution not to hit anyone while practicing. Start with two 2-minute rounds and work your way up from there.

4. Heavy Bag

Punching the heavy bag is also a great training tool. It helps sharpen one's punches, accuracy, footwork, and combinations. Remember, while punching keep the wrist and fist tight while impacting the bag. Start with two 2-minute rounds and build from there.

5. Mitt-Work

The secret to great boxing is finding a qualified boxing coach to perform mitt-work for you regularly. This hones all your skills, movement, and strategies together. It's the ultimate workout. The coach will hold targets, work evasive movement, and set up counter punches for the boxer. This is where one develops proficiency in his or her movement, and where one can greatly improve their fitness level. Leave your mitt-work practice time up to your coach! He or she will know how much work you need.

For a compilation of boxing basics to work on, head to Adamcolberg.com and press the media tab at the top of the home page to view all 40 boxing instructional videos. Also feel free to email Fairfield County's elite boxing coach, Adam Colberg, at Adamcolberg@yahoo.com.