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Tone All Over with a Kickass New Boxing Workout

Chris Fanning

Boxing has always been a gritty sport, but it’s getting a classy makeover. Capitalizing on the boom in HIIT workouts (no pun intended), high-end group boxing studios are popping up all over, and it’s primarily women who are throwing the punches. Chains like Title Boxing Club and Work, Train, Fight fill their spaces with a sleeker version of heavy bags. At Shadow Box, gymgoers sign up for their preferred bag just as they would with bikes at a Spinning studio. But unlike Spinning, this sweaty cardio is an intense upper-body workout on top of all the footwork. (Boxing is The Best Workout for a Knockout Body.)

“You use your entire body—shoulders, arms, abs, butt, and legs—to throw a punch,” says Michael Tosto, the owner of Title Boxing Club NYC in New York City (the chain has 150 locations in 32 states). And the benefits add up fast: Exercisers who did a 50-minute high- intensity boxing routine four times a week cut their body fat by 13 percent in three months, according to a new study in the journal BMC Sports Science, Medicine, & Rehabilitation.

Plus, punching stuff is therapeutic. “When you hit the bag, you release stress-reducing hormones that can make you feel calm and relieved,” says sports psychologist Gloria Petruzzelli, Ph.D. But you probably didn’t need a doc to tell you that. So skip the cardio machines the next time you’re at the gym, and head to the heavy bag for this 30-minute session from Tosto. Cue the Rocky theme song. (Check out 11 Reasons We Love Boxing.)

Intensity: Hard (RPE: Shoot for a 6 to a 9 out of 10 on the warm-up and core moves and a 9ora 10 during the boxing portion.)
Total time: 30 minutes (a quickie version of Tosto’s usual one-hour class)
You'll need: A heavy bag, gloves, and wraps. Most gyms have these, though it’s worth getting your own wraps and gloves, which protect the bones in your hands and wrists, Tosto says. Find a variety at
How it works: You’ll loosen muscles and crank your heart rate with a warm-up that includes some strengthening plyos, then you’ll do five three-minute rounds of all- out boxing intervals with one-minute breathers between. Wrap up with four core exercises. Do this routine three times a week on nonconsecutive days.

Your Workout

WARM-UP: 0-7 Minutes

Do the following moves for 1 minute each.
Jumping jacks
Alternating forward lunges with a twist
Squat jumps
Alternating 180-degree squat jumps Jump, turn in midair, land in a squat facing opposite direction. Stay in continuous motion and alternate sides.

Do 10 reps each of the following moves; repeat circuit as many times as you can in three minutes.

Push-up into side plank Push up, lift left arm to rotate body into side plank on right palm; push up, do side plank on left palm. That’s 1 rep.
Triceps dips
Crab walks
Triceps push-ups Point elbows straight back. 

Boxing: 7-26 Minutes

From fighting stance, throw any combination of jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks for 3 minutes—same as pro boxing rounds. Mix and match in any order, alternating hands with each punch. (“Punch with intensity while maintaining proper form, and generate all of your power from your core down rather than your arms,” Tosto says.) Active rest for 1 minute, alternating lunges and high knees to keep heart rate up. Then do that 4 more times for a total of 5 rounds.

Core: 26-30 Minutes

Do the following moves for 1 minute each.
Plank (on palms)
Leg lifts Lie faceup on floor, arms by sides. Raise extended legs straight up, then lower them to hover above floor.
Crunches Cross-body mountain climbers Alternate bringing knees to opposite elbows.


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