Core workouts don’t have to be all about crunches. One of the best ways to strengthen your abs is actually through exercises that don’t directly target the area, and that’s where boxing comes in. Not only does boxing get your heart going, but every time you’re throwing a punch, you’re also strengthening your core.
In the latest episode of Good Moves, Michelle Sim, boxing coach and creator of Move With Mich, put together a boxing ab workout that will sculpt your core more than any round of crunches ever will. While you may not always notice how much it’s working your core in the moment, it’s something you’ll certainly feel once the inevitable soreness creeps in. “In boxing, all of our punches will be coming from the core,” she says. In fact, former professional boxer Ed Latimore says your core strength matters much more than your arms when it comes to being a good boxer.
Now you know your core is responsible for throwing powerful pinches, but Latimore says it also “provides a better center of balance, which makes it easier to control your body quickly over the short distances that optimize slipping, bobbing, and weaving around punches.” Aka there’s no better time to start working it than now, and this quickie option is great no matter what your schedule looks like. “You can pair it with another longer combination workout, or just do it on its own,” Sim says.
After a short warm-up with high knees and knee drives to activate your abs, it’s time to up the challenge. Just like in Sim’s other boxing workouts, you’ll be doing different boxing combinations. Throughout these movements—like jab cross, slip, uppercut—you’re really working your abs on a deeper level. Then by the time you add in some side kicks (like you’re kicking the side of a heavy bag) into your combos, you’ll really start to feel the burn. “I promise you’ll feel that oblique,” Sim says.
After finishing off your boxing ab workout with boxer sit-ups (yes, that’s a thing, complete with left and right hooks!), planks with arm punches to test your stability, and shoot-throughs to up your strength and coordination, you’ll be lying on your mat dripping in sweat.
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