Home Boxing Gym Guide
updated November 1, 2018
Boxing is a great spectator sport. It has fans on the edge of their seats cheering with every blow. For most people, their involvement in boxing stops at the fan level. However, those that choose to dabble in the sweet science reap enormous fitness and strength benefits.
But boxing training has one other ace up its sleeve that makes it so appealing - you can practice it at home. If you’ve been thinking of building a home boxing gym, this post will provide you with everything you need to get fighting fit.
First off, why would you go through the effort of setting up a boxing gym? If you’re sitting on the fence, here’re three good reasons to set up a home boxing gym.
#1: Killer Workout
Nothing comes close to the intensity of a boxing workout. The start-stop full-on nature of boxing provides a HIIT workout that works every muscle in your body while sending your cardiovascular system into overdrive.The high-intensity means your body will be in fat burning mode during and long after the workout. A 30 minute session on the punching bag could destroy 300 calories!
Besides the fitness benefits, boxing training also improves your hand-eye coordination and is a workout that is actually fun.
#2: Teach yourself self-defence
Unfortunately, the world we live in isn’t always a safe and pleasant place. Bad things happen to good people, and you can find yourself in a dangerous situation through no fault of your own.
When/if this situation arises, you want to be confident you’ve got the skills to defend yourself.
#3: Inexpensive to Start
Good news! Setting up a home boxing gym can cost as little as $200-$300 (even less if you buy second-hand equipment). Now, this kind of cash outlay wouldn’t get you a top of the line gym, but it will provide you with everything a beginner needs.
If you decide to take boxing to the next level, you can always upgrade or buy new equipment as and when you need it.
Like most home gyms, some boxing equipment is essential and other items would be nice to have. If you’re balling on a budget, buying just the bare necessities will provide you with everything you need to improve your skills while still providing an INSANE workout. ·
While shadow boxing is an important part of a boxer’s training, only swinging punches at fresh air can get boring. Pounding a heavy bag (80+ pounds) is a tough workout that will improve your fitness, build lean muscle, and relieve stress.
The heavy bag is the focal point of any boxing gym. It requires hardly any floor space, yet it affords you the opportunity to do a range of boxing workouts, while relieving your stress at the same time.
When shopping for a heavy bag, you have a number of options. In addition to the free standing hanging bag, you can get wall mounted bags, angled bags and even bags that are in the shape of your opponent. Yet, the old school hanging heavy bag remains the standard.
Whether it’s hung from a wall mounted bracket, or an overhead beam, you need to have at least one hanging bag in your place. The mounting of your bag is very important.
You need a solid, secure, mounting kit that will instill confidence when you’re pounding the hell out of your heavy bag. Go with a minimum of three quarter inch bolts and fasteners. When it comes to the bag itself, make sure that it is constructed of a heavy duty leather hide.
Most bags are filled with tightly packed cloth rags, However, you want a bag that does give in a little bit, so that you don’t totally annihilate your hands.
Damaging your wrists and hands is easily done when you’re not used to the impact from punching. Using hand wraps will protect the knuckles and strengthen the wrist. Get into good habits from the very start by investing in some top notch wraps and bandages.
Here’s what you need:
These are the standard bandages that are used medically. You can pick them up from your local pharmacy. Don’t go for the basic cotton variety, however, as they won’t offer enough stretch in the fabric. Ask for bandages that are 8-10 cm wide. You’ll want about 4 meters of length.
These are a commercial upgrade of the crepe bandage. They are constructed of tightly woven fabric. They include a loop and a velcro fastener for sturdy application. Hand wraps are available in a range of colors. They will give you better protection than crepe bandages.
These are like fingerless workout gloves with the addition of gel protective padding. They are a convenient, but more expensive alternative to bandages and wraps. Make sure that you get snugly fitting gloves, as loose inner gloves can cause friction type injuries.
Boxing gloves range in weight from 8-18 oz. Glove selection is based on how much you weigh and what the gloves will be used for (bagwork, sparring, fighting). However, for general training, use 14oz gloves if you weigh under 150 lbs, and 16oz gloves if you’re 150 lbs and over.
Boxing gloves vary enormously in price and quality. Stick to a reputable brand if you want your gloves to last more than a couple of months. You will be able to buy a good set of beginner gloves for under $100. There are three basic categories that you need to be aware of:
Competition gloves are thinner at the knuckle, the wrist section is longer and the padding is more evenly distributed. They come in 8 oz or 10 oz options.
These are heavier than the competition model, affording the boxer more protection. You will spar a lot more than you will actually fight in the ring, so sparring gloves need to offer you a lot more padding.
Because of this, the gloves are heavier than competition gloves, ranging between 14 and 18 oz.
The bag mitt is a pared down version of the boxing glove that allows you to feel the power of your punch a lot more. You can get a thumbless version, but this tends to detract from the feel of a real boxing glove. They weigh between 10 and 12 oz and come in a range of colors.
Without a timing device, your home gym boxing workouts will be haphazard. Because you are training for a specific sport with timed rounds and rest periods, your training needs to simulate that pattern as closely as possible.
You should be sparring or hitting the heavy bag for three minutes, then resting for a minute or less. You can purchase a specific ring timer which you can mount to the wall.
It will provide you with a visual timer as well as a noise activated timer and can be pre-set with a range of training options. Ring timers, though, are relatively expensive and can make quite some noise, so they may not be the best option for an in-home application.
When you’re boxing, you cannot be wearing a wristwatch, so you need a timing device which can suit your application. The armband personalised timer is an option that works for some. With it, you can set your round and between round times and it will beep to signal when to stop.
The only drawback is that the constant movement of your arm muscles may work the device free. Pocket timers are another option. You won’t be able to reach into your pocket to check the time, but they do come with an audible signal that will keep you on track.
Some versions can be clipped to your shorts if you don’t have a pocket. However, with a dozen free apps able to do the same thing, this one’s definitely optional.
Skipping is the preferred cardio option for boxers, and with good reason. It is the most cost effective, space friendly and efficient way to get into great shape known to man. A jump rope is a cheap addition to your gym that provides variation to your workouts.
Jumping rope builds stamina and endurance, improves hand-eye coordination, and builds the fast twitch muscle fibres in your calves that are vital for quick footwork. Look for a rope that is made of leather and either wooden or steel handles.
The benefit of leather is that it is very durable and it is heavy enough to provide for high speed skipping.
Contrary to what many non gym-goers think, mirrors in gyms are not there to admire your muscles. They are an important way for you to monitor your form. To improve your boxing technique, you need the immediate feedback that the mirror provides.
The mirror can even serve as your opponent when you’re shadow boxing. You want to set up a mirror that will allow you to see the entire body. This is important because boxing success depends upon the ability to coordinate the upper and lower body.
For that, you need to be able to see the two parts working together. Make sure that you place a good backing on your wall mounted mirror, to protect it against shattering.
Boxing isn’t all about the heavy bag and sparring. Developing core strength is a key component of a complete boxing program. That means getting down on the floor. Ideally, you want a level surface that is solid and provides enough friction to move around without slipping.
Timber, vinyl, and smooth concrete floors can all do the job, but, you also want to consider your comfort. A hard concrete floor can be transformed into a safe and comfortable training surface by covering it with one-inch foam mats.You’ll want an exercise mat that will allow you to lay down in a natural position without parts of your body hanging over the edge of it. Make sure that the mat is comfortable but not so soft that it will move from side to side when you are exercising on it.
To get fight ready, you need to hit the weights. That means having a range of dumbbells, barbell, and kettlebell gear available for your use. You’ll want a quality steel barbell with knurled hand grips.
You don’t necessarily need an Olympic bar, but you will want a bar that is a minimum length of six feet. Grab some ezy-on collars to keep the weight secure. Investing in a full range of dumbbells can get very expensive.
You can cut costs dramatically by purchasing a set of adjustable dumbbells that allows you to preselect a weight from between 10 lbs and 80 lbs (depending on which model you buy) and lift that weight dumbbell off of a bed of weight plates.
You’ll also want at least 3 pairs of kettlebells to allow you to perform unique moves like goblet squats and swings. Get yourself a pair each of the 43, 44, and 53 lb kettlebells. Read our review of best kettlebells here and how to choose the right kettle bells for your home gym.
You’ll also need weight plates. The most economical way to buy them is in a set. Start off with a 160 lb set and build from there as your strength level increases.
The maize bag is a small, pear shaped bag that has a maize filling. It looks somewhat like a speed bag. The maize filling is what makes this bag so effective in the boxer’s arsenal. It allows the puncher to feel the hit much more than the heavier bag.
One reason for this is that the maize bag doesn’t have the spring that a heavy bag does. The shape of the bag also provides more opportunity to train with hooks and uppercuts. This makes it a great complement to the heavy bag.
Pads are an essential part of the training mix. When you’re training with the heavy bag, or even when you’re shadow boxing, you are the driver; you get to call the shots. However, when your training partner slips on the focus pads they are now dictating the action.This makes the experience a lot more fight realistic. Don’t get a pair of focus pads that are too large. You want them tight and fitted.
You want your home boxing gym to have the right vibe. While the bulk of that comes from the attitude of the guys training in the facility, you can help motivate yourself by putting up posters that will get you and whoever else is privileged enough to train in your facility.
Of course, there are some fantastic Ali posters out there. But don’t forget the other old timers like Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Sonny Liston. You should also compile a playlist of motivational workout music to train by.
Whether you plug into the latest stereo system or play it off your laptop, blasting out some mood enhancing sounds can be the difference between your workout being ordinary and out of this world.
Both of these types of bags work on improving your speed, rhythm and timing, as well as increasing the endurance of your arm muscles. Given the choice between the two, I would opt for the double-end bag as it also refines your hand-eye coordination and reflexes.
If you’ve never boxed before, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a home boxing gym. There are plenty of free training resources on the internet, and it’s possible to teach yourself boxing from home - even if you’ve never flung a punch before.
YouTube is a great place to start with thousands of instructional videos on every aspect of boxing.
In this post, we covered everything you need to set up your home boxing gym. However, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to this long-standing and honorable combat sport.
Mastering the art of boxing is a pursuit that takes years. However, don’t let that put you off.
By learning and improving just a little bit each and every day, you’ll ensure you eventually become a pugilist pro. And best of all, you’ll be able to train at your own pace, whenever you want, with your very own boxing gym!