Since the famous and beautifully toned Rachel Green from Friends appeared on our screens, Jennifer Aniston's arms have been a reference for a toned upper body without going too far. Today, and at 51 years old, the actress continues to be an example to us all.
Now, maintaining well-toned biceps and triceps is a hefty task. But if you're the kind of person who prefers more active and efficient types of exercise, you should definitely try boxing.
You must get rid of any prejudices about the "masculinity" of this exercise, or the belief that if you box you'll end up with muscles like a man. Both myths are false. Models and actresses see that it's a girl thing too, and it has many benefits:
- It promotes weight loss, because it burns a lot of calories.
- It strengthens the middle and upper body. In reality, boxing is an activity that works the whole body: legs, hips, abdomen, back, shoulders, and arms.
- It's excellent cardiovascular exercise. The speed and repetition with which you have to perform these movements require lots of strength and stamina.
- It increases flexibility due to the range of movements and "punch" preparation.
- It stimulates concentration and coordination while also relieving stress. This is due to the performance, execution, and combination of strokes that you must perform while also paying attention to technique in order to avoid injuries and be effective. That's without mentioning the thrill of the “fight” and the stimulating release of energy.
- It improves reflexes and reaction time.
- It improves your ability to defend yourself.
And if that still isn't enough motivation for you, boxing will also give you attitude. And the truth is, at the beginning you'll probably feel like you're hitting quite "weakly," but with the proper training you'll acquire the strength and skills worthy of an athlete. Most gyms will offer both group and private classes. How much time you have and your budget will help you determine how you can start.
So that you don't feel lost when starting and can come to grips with the terminology and exercises a little faster, here's a short list of some basic punches that will help you work your arms:
Jab: this punch is straight, dry, fast, and short, and it's used to determine the distance of your opponent or objective. It should be performed with your knees slightly bent, legs slightly further apart than the width of your shoulders, with one leg one step in front of the other, and always facing forward.
Hands should be clenched into a fist at chest level near the jaw. The punch is thrown with the hand that is on the same side of the body as the foot you have in front, while the other hand is used to defend.
Cross: this is similar to the jab but requires more power. When throwing this punch, the torso and shoulders twist towards the opponent and the hips also pivot. It's executed with the arm parallel to the floor and directly at your opponent's face.
As with all boxing moves, both hands should be clenched into a fist to prevent any attack, and the arms should be glued to the torso to prevent your opponent from surprising you with a side attack.
Upper and uppercut: these are movements where the fist emerges practically from the chest, with the elbow bent and without extending the arm. A vertical upward movement is made, seeking to surprise and hit the opponent's sides, or if you're fast enough, the jaw (an uppercut). With this punch, speed is essential.
Hook: this is a side blow, parallel to the ground, with which you aim to hit your opponent's chin. It can be a very strong blow with a rebound effect on the receiver. When executing this punch, it's important to pivot your leg and hips to avoid injury.
This ancient discipline has become popular with women due to its many benefits. Bear in mind that it's extremely demanding, but when you finally strike that perfect blow, you'll never want to stop.