Think Outside the Boxing
With "smart" technology, you needn’t be Rocky to develop a home workout routine that packs a punch.
Americans have been doing many things at home these days, including exercise. But Tuesday has begun to look an awful lot like Wednesday. If your exercise habit has been KO’d by boredom, remember what used to be called “the gentleman’s sport” (popular with ladies too since the early 1990s). Boxing can pack a wallop as a fitness booster, and you don’t have to climb into an actual ring—or even have an opponent.
The advantages of boxing with gloves are plentiful: It’s a two-for-one cardio and strength workout, and the punching, jumping and fancy footwork are calorie blasters. “Benefits include improved endurance, cardiovascular conditioning, core and upper body strengthening, agility and self confidence,” says Ian Bate, owner of Upper Montclair Boxing Club. The routine can also sculpt muscles, improve hand-eye coordination and boost one’s mood. (Think about it: Could anything release more stress than hammering all of your aggressions into a punching bag?) Models such as Gigi Hadid and Ashley Graham are modern-day fans, and actors Denzel Washington and Sylvester Stallone brought the sport big-screen attention decades ago in The Hurricane and the Rocky series, respectively.
But this is 2021, folks. Now the hot pugilistic trend for both men and women is “smart” boxing, in which technology is used to track each strike, to measure every punch. And yes, many of these exercises can be done in your living room—all that’s required is the equipment.
Fightcamp is one of the newest smart home boxing workouts; subscribers get a free-standing punching bag, gloves and hand wraps and—here comes the technological part—little sensors placed inside the wraps that measure punch count and speed. Classes can be viewed via the app on a TV screen, an iPhone or an iPad, and each is divvied up into rounds, the goal being to try and top your punch count with each one. It’s a onetime fee of $1,200 for all the equipment, but just $40 a month for access to more than 200 classes.
Even newer to the market is Liteboxer, a fitness startup that debuted in July 2020 as a personal, in-home boxing instructor. Liteboxer is to boxing what Peloton is to biking; its goal is to replicate in your living room a full-body boxing workout that you’d otherwise only get with a trainer in a gym. It’s a compact, 55-inches-tall piece of tech that doesn’t require a bag suspended from the ceiling that must be grounded with water or sand. Instead, the device provides a guided workout with a lighting system (think of the Simon game of yesteryear) and a voiceover and pump-up music via its accompanying app, which can be connected via phone or tablet. Users can choose to do a beginner’s “training camp” workout, take a class taught by boxing trainer Leyon Azubuike, kickboxer Eliza Shirazi or fitness trainer Emily Collins, or jab to the beat of a song using a patented “rhythm technology.” Liteboxer also offers an option to compete against other subscribers, with your results shown side-by-side so that you can always be on top of your game. The $1,495 price tag covers the Liteboxer, gloves and doorstep delivery, and there’s an additional $29 per month for the subscription.
If you just want to engage in casual cardio boxing rather than train to become the next Mike Tyson, there is also British-based Corner—punch trackers that slide into your hand wraps or the provided wristbands. The cost is more modest at $140 for two trackers, two wristbands, a charger and the free app, which displays your stats. (If you go this route, hanging a punching bag is up to you.)
Like any new workout routine, though, the proper technique likely won’t be learned by watching your screen. Yes, the technology enables you to get instant feedback on the speed and strength of your punches—such feedback that “cannot be achieved by working with a trainer alone,” says Bate— but unlike a real life trainer, the app won’t correct your form. “The finer points of preparing a fighter are still the domain of a skilled and seasoned coach and crew,” he concludes.
No matter how often you do the routine or which smart technology you choose, if it’s right for you, this workout can be a champ.
By Haley Longman