Now in the movies: Southpaw

There is a new box movie in town. Given the synopsis it is your typical Rocky all over. Let’s go through it.

A New York man – hey, I’m in New York right now, what a coincidence – from humble not to say tough beginnings makes it big through fighting. The make it or break it kind of starting position. Billy’s life seems to be on the right course with victories, praise and a happy family life. This is when the real tragic occurs, as Billy loses his wife in an accidental gunshot. In consequence of him being unable to get over it other than with drugs, his daughter is placed into custody. His path to redemption can be a broadcasted comeback. This is when we can see some hard training from the comfort of the armchair.

Southpaw has acclaimed actors we like to see: Jack Gyllenhaal as Billy, Rachel McAdams as his wife and Forest Whitaker as the straightening him up coach.

GWB Southpaw

Image Credit: Naano94

Southpaw (opened July 24th, 2015) can be seen in major movie theaters in the US everywhere and shortly overseas as well.

How did you like it, worth the pay or better save on your gym membership or an actual fight?

Advertisements

New York New York

Some short summer hiatus, as I have been on a short trip to breezy Iceland to hike.

And already I’m embarking on another journey. I will be in New York City from July onwards. Of course my boxing gloves will join me.

I am looking for a gym or boxing group I can train at. Which do you recommend?

Once I have found it, you’ll be reading about my experiences here. Stay tuned!

Good medicine is bitter

The best solution is often a simple one connected to our roots. This exercise doesn’t need modern equipment. With this traditional, versatile and perfectly round shaped tool we can do it all. What we need is a good old ball.

The concept is as old as 3,000 years when Persian wrestlers, and thereafter Greek Hippocrates (yes, the one physicians literally swear by) used filled animal materials to train or rehabilitate. Since the 1900s an increasing number of ball games gave it a prominent role. That’s part of the ball’s appeal: It has a fun element to it.

The classic medicine ball is similar to a basketball only heavier. Variations of 2–25 lb (1–11 kg) with 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter are normal. Weightwise let’s initially take 2–6 lb (1–3 kg) as guidance for you girls.

If you can, do make the effort to try with 6 lb (3 kg). Yes, it will be tough as the exercise carries on, but good medicine is bitter. Mildly trained men will go with 10 lb (5 kg) for the exercise sequence we do in the following.

Do each part for some time or repetitions which feels effective. 15 repetitions for each is a good start.

  1. We start lightly with holding the ball with both our hands below our chin. Take your usual boxing stance (One foot in front of the other, left foot front for right-handers, right foot frond for left-handers.) and bounce back and forth.
  2. In the next step push the ball back and forth as well as you continue jumping from front to back. The push trains speed and power equally. That’s plyometrics.
  3. Now, you can give arms some relief. Stop the bouncing and stand firm with your feet in parallel at hip width. Take the ball in your hands and lift them above your head while stretching your whole body as high as you can. You may even get to your tiptoes. What next? Thrust the ball as hard as you can in a straight line to the ground. The ball should bounce back into the air. The higher the better. Catch the down falling ball. And repeat some more times.

    That feels good, right? Enjoy while you can. The active rest is over and what’s in store challenging.

  4. We are still standing, the ball in both hands. Only this time instead of above the head, we take the ball behind our head. The hands are close to triangle shaped similar to the setting technique of volleyball. Bounce the ball in your hands. Not very high, but give it some play. You’ll soon feel your muscles ache. Grin and bear it as much as you can.
  5. The last component to add to the sequence is another active rest. Rotate the ball at shoulder height around your body. Arms outstretched when in front of you and on the sides. When behind the back respectively head you can bend the elbow a little.

With all of these components you can mix and match for a while till you feel you have trained your arms well for the day.

Try out any other exercises you can think of using the all-purpose medicine ball for weight and balance.

Welcome to the Jungle

It starts with a clear, threefold guitar riff before the drums hit ten times and the ambience is raised to a steady pulsating rock spectacle. So get ready, Axel Rose’s incisive voice welcomes you to the big city jungle.

This is the song for the ones who make it through, through a powerful box work-out.

“Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns’n Roses

From the 1987 album Appetite for Destruction it was celebrated as a breakthrough in mainstream hard rock, being fierce and raw. Fierce is exactly what we are when we are in our zone.

Welcome to the Jungle is 4:34 minutes of rapidly passing by, constantly changing, never the same sound. At times melodic, at others intense, yet always evenly rhythmic.

At 1:39 Axel reminds you to scream, so give it your all when you hit the punch back.

Slash’s almost minute long guitar solo at 2:54 accompanied only by the drummer’s pulse lets you forget everything around you and fully concentrate on your mark and movements. You are now completely in a harmonious punch flow.

Longer than a three minute round this song challenges you, and still gives you times to breathe.

What is on your song list inciting you?

Burpee, how do I love thee

Let’s get our body in shape to stand the distance. This neat little exercise is a true indicator of your fitness. If you try it out now at the beginning of your boxer’s life you will not be amused. But do them again and again and you’ll see how far you have come. It isn’t for nothing that the Burpee originated as a assessment of fitness and was rapidly adopted by the army. Let’s go through it one step at a time.

  1. Begin standing upright
  2. Jump or better said drop down into a crouch
  3. Push your feet backwards to get into a plank
  4. Jump back to your feet into the crouch
  5. Jump up with your arms raised and your body stretched

And now: Repeat!!

GWB burpee

Credits: Gabriela Serrano

The difference to burpees is that the sprawl stretches your stomach additionally. This is done during the plank position. Just get into a yoga-like Cobra position looking up while still standing on your toes. Most coaches like to insert a set or two of burpees in between technical and physical training when you least expect it, let alone think you can do any more. You’ll be surprised how much further you can push. Better learn how to love them because burpees are here to stay.

You got me hooked

Besides the jab the second punch you need to know is the hook. Basically it is a lateral punch, either low or high.

The correct posture is almost a square formed with your arm if we leave out any height difference with your opponent. Your arm is held horizontally at an almost right angle in front of you and your elbow bent inwards. 110° is often described as the best angle.

Punch quick and get back into your protected position.

This is not a swing. Try not to strike out. This opens your guard widely. Besides that, your opponent sees what you are about to do with long anticipation. By the time you make the hit he has already guarded up. And lastly, though forceful stricking out uses a lot of energy which isn’t fully transmitted into the punch itself. It therefore isn’t efficient.

Hip rotation is very important with this punch. You’ll be in your regular stand, your leading foot in front. As you punch, take your body into it as well. By the end of the move your leading leg will be bend inwards.
Use the kinetic energy as your main source. This increases the power of impact significantly. It isn’t your punch itself that gives you the power, it comes from your whole body movement.

You can practice the hook aiming at your supposed opponent’s head or at his side. Hitting the chin could be a real knock-out.