The best at-home boxing / sparring workouts...
Want to improve your cardio fitness? Looking to build strength in your upper body? Hoping to improve your core stability? Check ’em all off (and more!) with these at-home boxing workouts.
Boxing offers plenty of life metaphors: When you get knocked down, get back up. Find people to stay in your corner. Learn to roll with the punches. But the benefits of boxing aren’t abstract. Boxing builds your cardio fitness and endurance. And as you work through rounds, with breaks between effort, you train interval-style, says Jodi Klein, PT, DPT, orthopedic clinical specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Research shows that high-intensity interval-type workouts, like boxing, will improve your well-being by battling obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even anxiety and depression.
With each jab, cross, hook, or uppercut, you also build strength in your shoulders, chest, and arms, especially if you have a heavy bag or a partner’s mitts to hit, says Nic Martinez, PhD, instructor of exercise science at the University of South Florida and pro boxing performance coach. The sport requires a strong, stable lower half and good balance to throw powerful punches and stay on your feet while doing so. Plus, to withstand the force of each punch you land—impact comes back to your arm when you hit a bag or mitts—you get a core-stability upgrade that even a million planks won’t provide, says Klein.
A physical sport like boxing also brings a host of mental gains. Learning different punch combos requires attention and action, which means your mind stays engaged and challenged, says Martinez. You build hand-eye coordination and a mental toughness and confidence from practicing (and nailing) a new sport.
“When people engage in boxing and punch and hit things, there’s also a stress release that comes out of the hands,”Martinez says.
If you need to let go of something, boxing gives you an opportunity to drive it out with each punch you throw. You don’t have to step in a ring (or even a gym) to earn these boxing benefits. Simply hit play on one of the workouts we sampled, streaming it right to your home. Here’s to fighting for those health gains and life lessons.
Best programs out there... Give one a Try!
Format: Live classes via Zoom (doyourumble.com)
Price: $15 per class, or $12 per class for package of eight (to be used in a month). No membership.
Classes: Boxing & Strength and Cardio & Strength, both 45 minutes, plus some 60-minute classes, like Level Up Boxing.
I had been taking Rumble’s boxing classes in studio pre-COVID, so I was excited to try this version. With Rumble TV, all the basic punches and combinations are there via shadowboxing, and I’ve enjoyed learning those essential boxing moves; it makes me feel like I know a little something about the sport. I also like that there are other people in the class—some have video on, some don’t (I didn’t)—and that the trainer calls out people’s names in encouragement (“Bring it, Cheryl!”). It feels weirdly good!
Trainers lead classes from their apartments, and seeing a basket of laundry or empty green-juice bottles can be distracting. And the spaces weren’t always the best for demonstrating moves from an angle where you can see them properly. Some instructors cleared an area so you were only focused on them and not their home decor.
In terms of beginner or advanced, there’s just one level across the board, so you can do as much or as little as you can handle. If you’re a shy first timer or are trying to challenge yourself, livestreaming is awesome, because with your camera off, your fellow boxers can’t see you and you don’t feel any judgment. However, I miss the bag! Shadowboxing is fun but not as cathartic or amped up as hitting the bag.
Format: On-demand (prerecorded) workouts at joinfightcamp.com
Price: Packages include FightCamp Personal (with punch trackers, quick wraps, freestanding bag, heavy workout mat, and premium boxing gloves, for $1,219) and FightCamp Connect, for those who have a bag or already own some equipment (with punch trackers and quick wraps, for $439). All FightCamp packages require a monthly membership at $39 per month.
Classes: There are more than 400 prerecorded workouts, with new ones added each week. Classes range from beginner to expert, from 15 minutes to an hour.
FightCamp offers connected, at-home boxing with interactive technology. Each package comes with punch trackers that measure the velocity and the amount of punches you throw, so you can view your workouts with real-time statistics and strike your competitive side. The bag feels high-quality, just like at a studio. It was delivered and set up in my home with ease. Tracking my performance though the app motivates me to improve my strength and endurance levels. The app plays a “ding” sound when you hit a workout’s goal number, and I find myself sprint-punching until I hear it!
The coaches are all extremely professional and consistent, but with their own personal touches. The overall tone is very motivating, badass, and high-tech. Classes aren’t live, so the instructor doesn’t actually know you’re tuning in—which can make you feel less accountable to get the gloves on (and there are no personal shout-outs).
The bag does take up space (though it’s nice to look at and won’t ruin your decor). And investing in the gear is pricey but worth it.
Gloveworx On Demand
Format: On-demand (prerecorded) workouts at ondemand.gloveworx.com.
Price: $30 per month (currently on special for $20 per month); includes a 25 percent discount on live virtual training.
Classes: Boxing, strength, and recovery classes, 5 to 45 minutes.
I had taken a few virtual shadowboxing classes before trying Gloveworx, and I was still surprised at how sore I felt the day after the workout. Throwing punches without making contact with a bag or blocker feels almost silly at first, but eventually you start to feel the power behind your movements in your arms, core, and legs. One thing I liked in particular was the variety of classes. You can pick the length—helpful when you’re trying to get in a workout between meetings—as well as the type of class. The strength classes incorporate moves like squats and push-ups with short boxing sets. They really gave me a full-body workout and kept me moving the entire time. The trainers were upbeat, motivational, and no-frills—quick and to the point while still feeling inclusive. I would have liked to have seen a few more female trainers; there were only a couple of videos available with a woman instructor. That said, I didn’t feel like the classes were necessarily geared toward men.
Format: Live streaming classes and on-demand (prerecorded) classes at boxunion.com
Price: $30 per month.
Classes: Instruction, boxing, strength, HIIT, yoga, and more, 10 to 45 minutes.
Pre-pandemic, I did a few boxing classes in studios, but not knowing the basic moves and punches always left me feeling lost. So I love that BoxUnion offers tutorial videos for all the basics—right down to breathing while punching!—and taking the few minutes to use them made a big difference for me. Their live classes aren’t on Zoom, so while your instructor sees the names of who is there (and may give you a shout-out), you are not on camera. Shadowboxing is a great workout, but for me, what sets it apart from others is that it’s working your brain as much as your body. Following the sequences definitely requires focus; afterward, I feel like I’ve accomplished something both physically and mentally (being totally engaged also makes the time fly). The BoxUnion trainers are fun and upbeat; they are teaching from the studio, giving a consistency to the experience. BoxUnion offers other types of workouts and varying lengths, so it could be the only app you need.