"You're clearing your mind during a workout. Boxing is a great sport for girls; it's really safe." Katie Taylor (Olympic Gold Medal Boxing Champion)
According to Statista, there were 200,000 people who participated in boxing in England in 2015/2016, regardless of age and gender. Each year, many more are becoming passionate about boxing and turning to boxing classes to build muscles, improve their footwork and uppercut.
You might have thought it was a rough sport, reserved only for men? For about a decade now and especially in the last few years, women's boxing has become more popular and even trendy.
How to choose your type of female boxing and have fun while getting fit?
Female boxing, between combat and fitness
Women's boxing is not just kicking like you might find in kickboxing, or doing free fighting without any rules. We distinguish between women's boxing from men's boxing for one simple reason: the two do not fight together! Otherwise, you'd be participating in a different kind of martial art.
But then, what is women's boxing? If you thought you'd get the chance to beat up your sworn enemy with your bare hands or use them as a punching bag, you'd be way off: just like in karate, and in other martial arts, boxing respects ethical rules. Self-mastery is the keyword in a women's boxing class: you have to learn how to give shots yes, but in a precise, vigorous and effective way.
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Thus, there are two types of female boxing:
- Combat boxing
- Fitness boxing
In the first type, the focus is on boxing: an instructor coaches you and you face an opponent, either in the ring or only on the punching bags if you prefer. In the second type, you'll draw on all the benefits of boxing without fighting, instead, the goal will be: to tone, to build muscles and to lose weight.
If the two types of women's boxing look different, in reality, they also have a lot in common. For example, the physical preparation and training are the same: warm-up, work on oneself, sequences, stretching, almost like for a classic Pilates class.
In addition, boxing equipment will be essential to your training, whether you practice occasionally or regularly, you'll need:
- Boxing gloves, to hit
- A punching bag, to train
- Protective equipment: mouthguards, shin guards, hand wraps
- Boxing shoes, to perfect your footwork
Punching, whether it be the air, a bag, or in the ring, can certainly help you let off some steam! However, in order to progress further along your boxing journey, you'll need to choose between combat or fitness, and then also between the different boxing options within. Every competitor or every world champion will tell you: there is nothing like boxing to get in shape!
For my part, I strengthen my physical fitness at the end of each session by doing a jump rope set, then some ab work and finally some stretching to finish it all off!
Want to try something different, look up "boxercise classes near me".
The Types of Boxing Practiced by Women
In reality, boxing is boxing, women's boxing simply refers to the fact that women fight each other in the ring, and men will fight men. Mixed training is not allowed in this discipline.
Within boxing, there are several combat boxing options, which count among some of the best martial arts. Notably, there is:
- French boxing
- English Boxing
- Thai boxing
- Muay Thai boxing
- American boxing
- Burmese boxing
These are the main types of combat boxing taught to women in a sports club or boxing gym. The best known (and most popular) among the list are: English boxing, French Savate boxing and Thai boxing. Why? Because the technical movements are more appropriate to a feminine style.
For example, with English boxing, you'll only use fists and aim at the face and chest. This is ideal when you are a beginner, to help you learn and gain confidence in a fight.
In French Savate boxing, the level increases, since now you'll be using your fists and legs. All shots are allowed and this type of boxing is considered one of the most aesthetic of all.
Finally, Thai boxing will call on all parts of the body to attack (including elbows and shins) and is relatively more technical and certainly more intense.
Other types of boxing will first require an introductory course, or by attaining a high enough skill level. For example, Burmese boxing is practised barefoot and bare-fisted, while American boxing is practised without low-blows, that is to say, all hits will be above the belt only.
Other boxing disciplines are tailored to a female-only practice, and are very popular:
- Ladies boxing, whose techniques are adapted to a gentler practice
- Adi boxing, which mixes fitness and boxing
- U'Box Thai, a cardio version of traditional Thai boxing
- Ladies Self-defense, which combines mental and physical preparation to defend against danger
In order to choose the right type of boxing for you, it will be necessary to first decide your primary goals, whether they be to: lose weight, learn to defend yourself, get in shape, strengthen your cardio?
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Choose a boxing style according to your goals
In terms of women's boxing, it is not enough to jump into the ring, you must also possess the state of mind that goes with it: you must know the main postures of attack and defence (including shielding) and learn how to read your adversary, to analyze his weaknesses. It's a real strategy sport.
"Boxing is like chess. You encourage your opponent to make mistakes so you can capitalise on it. People think you get in the ring and see the red mist, but it's not about aggression. Avoiding getting knocked out is tactical." Nicola Adams (Olympic Gold Medal Boxing Champion)
Boxing is not just about the weight room, where you do abdominals, weight lifting or work your glutes. This goes beyond that: it is also inspired by other techniques, pugilism, cross training or fencing.
Practitioners of this discipline will tell you, there are also many great boxing variations:
- Hand-to-hand combat
- Full contact (American boxing)
- Chinese boxing
- Free fighting
- Cardio boxing
Suffice to say that there are many variants of female boxing: but it will be up to you to define your goals before you start. In many cases, traditional boxing types are practised in parallel to the variants listed above, which are a little more aggressive, both physically and mentally. They require intense preparation and physical conditioning.
Be aware, however, that some of these variants can be quite aggressive and even violent: for example, there is no female version of some championships, or at least they are not accessible to the general public. To embark on a boxing practice and its variations is also to launch an attack on the stereotypes of this discipline!
The idea is to have a boxing coach or personal trainer who can accompany you during your boxing sessions. Training alone, with your gloves, wraps and boxing equipment, can sometimes be discouraging. You definitely have to be motivated to practice this art, whatever its form:
- Yoga boxing
- Boxing at a gym
- Pilates Boxing
- Fitness boxing
- Boxing meditation (inspired by yoga postures)
For the record, many great sportsmen and sportswomen practice martial arts such as boxing, or its variants, in their training: Olympic champions take English boxing classes London to work their cardio as do famous UK footballers to gain in strength and agility.
How to Take Women's Boxing Classes?
To learn about women's boxing, there is nothing like going to places where this ancestral art is taught. You can then go to:
- A boxing school
- A professional boxing club
- A gym that offers combat sports
- A boxing gym
You can practice different types of boxing, depending on your goals:
- Amateur boxing
- Beginner boxing
- Boxing training
- Leisure boxing
- Educative boxing
There is something for all ages and all tastes! There are group classes, trial classes or a first introductory class to a boxing variant you'd like to try. In general, you must first build up your muscles and cardio, which will be essential for handling your opponent's shots and strikes, in the boxing ring or on the training mat.
Then, you'll be ready for the next part of the adventure! Let yourself be guided by your coach and jump right in, that's the goal, right?
If you want to practice boxing at a competitive level, it will be necessary to adopt a specific diet, as well as a healthy lifestyle.
For this, our teachers at Superprof can be a great asset to your journey: impassioned by this sport, like you, they dedicate their career (and their days) to passing on their knowledge, to teach combat tactics and to share their professional boxing experience. All you have to do is set up some workouts with them, at home or in a gym, and you'll be sure to improve quickly.
The advantage of boxing is that it is a very popular sport, especially these days, so you will have no trouble finding other amateurs, teachers or mentors to track your progress.
So, do you think you're ready to give a 1-2 punch like Katie Taylor?