If you are feeling a bit stressed, either occasionally or on a daily basis, there are lots of physical exercises that can help you with that mental and emotional stress relief. One of those exercises is boxing, specifically a punching bag workout.
While there is some argument that basically any sort of punching can be considered a stress relief, I’ve put together a small guide that works quite effectively, at least for me.
Unleashing the Inner Warrior
It doesn’t matter if you are a warrior-type kind of person or not. In essence, everyone is a warrior – someone fights their battles externally, someone internally. Both are equally important and the good news is both can be effectively addressed by a punching bag workout.
The Benefits of Punching Bag Workouts
Let me describe in short just a few of the known benefits of punching bag workouts:
- Stress relief: Obviously, the main reason we’re here. There’s something undeniably cathartic about letting loose and pounding away at an inanimate object (don’t try this with your coworkers, though).
- Cardiovascular health: Your heart will thank you for the intense aerobic workout that comes with throwing punches.
- Full-body workout: Surprisingly, punching isn’t just for your arms; it’s a full-body workout, engaging everything from your legs to your core.
This list could have more than 30 bullet points, but this article isn’t about general benefits, but rather the specific one, causing stress relief.
Punching Your Way to Nirvana: A Sample Workout for Stress Relief
Now that we’ve established the benefits of punching bag workouts, we can jump right into a sample routine you can try at home or at the gym.
Disclaimer: This particular regime worked for me just fine, but please note that every one of us is different and it might not suit you for multiple reasons – consult your trainer or physician if you feel like this is not ideal for you.
Warm-up (5 minutes)
- Jumping jacks: Get that heart rate up and blood flowing with a minute of jumping jacks.
- Arm circles: Swing those arms in circles like you’re auditioning for a role in a helicopter-themed ballet.
- Leg swings: Swing each leg forward and backward to loosen up those hips.
Round 1: Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercut (3 minutes)
- Jab: Start with your lead hand, throwing quick, straight punches.
- Cross: Follow up with your rear hand, using more force and engaging your hips.
- Hook: Swing your arm in a horizontal arc, aiming for the imaginary jawline of your bag.
- Uppercut: With your palm facing you, punch upward as if you’re trying to uppercut your way out of a hole.
Note: Punches like jab, cross, and hook should be done on an any-sized boxing bag. The uppercuts will be done next to it on an imaginary jaw.
Rest (1 minute)
Catch your breath, drink some water (not carbonated), and mentally prepare yourself for the next round.
Round 2: Combinations (3 minutes)
Time to get a bit creative! Mix and match the previous techniques to create your own stress-busting combos.
- Jab-Cross-Hook: A classic three-hit combo.
- Double Jab-Uppercut: Disorient your imaginary foe with two quick jabs, followed by a powerful uppercut.
- Cross-Hook-Cross: Keep them guessing with this tricky combo.
Rest (1 minute)
You’re almost there! One more round to go.
Round 3: Freestyle (3 minutes)
Now it’s time to go wild, at least improvisation-wise. Throw any combination of punches, focusing on form and letting out all that built-up stress.
Cool Down (5 minutes)
- Deep breathing: Inhale deeply, hold it for a few seconds, then exhale slowly. Repeat for a minute.
- Stretch: Stretch out those hard-working muscles, focusing on your arms, shoulders, and legs. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds. 3. Meditation: Take a moment to sit or lie down and clear your mind, allowing yourself to soak in the stress-relieving benefits of your workout.
Side note: I believe the exercises on this list work charms, but it can be difficult, especially for a beginner. If you feel like it’s too much, just increase your pause timing and decrease workout time by a few seconds or a minute and you should be good to go.
The Sweet Science of Stress Relief: Final Thoughts
That’s just one of the many exercises that can work miracles for you. Today, you can find plenty of training videos that might work better for you, but I felt like putting this one down on “paper” can be quite beneficial, especially if you want to print and read it during your training.
Keep your heads up folks, and happy stress relieving. Peace out.