Whether you’re visiting relatives or heading south for warmer climes, you’ll be wanting to get in shape before the holidays. There’s a great way to do tone your upper body and lose fat, and all you’ll need is a punching bag, some gloves, and your garage. If your punching bag is a hanging one, string it up on a sturdy beam and you’re ready to go.
Start with a straight jab, starting with your fist pulled back next to your side, about mid-torso. Punch quickly, twisting your arm so your palm is down in the process. Remember to pull your punches as soon as they connect to avoid unnecessary impact on your joints. Do a few quick bursts of jabs, alternating your arms, and try to build up a rhythm.
The jabs are working your shoulders and upper arms, but if you want to hit your biceps throw in some uppercuts. Start with your fist just above your waist and curl it upward into the punching bag, leaning behind it with your body. Mix a few of those in with your jabs, and you’ll be working your biceps and your upper shoulders. To bring in the backs of the arms, try mixing in some cross jabs. Just jab across until your fist is level with the opposite shoulder.
All this time you’ll want to be bouncing on your toes – sparring with the punching bag. This will really help to get your heart rate up and get a good cardiovascular workout going. It’ll tire you out faster, but if you can keep this up for 20 minutes you’ll get a great workout, and burn lots of calories.
The last punch you want to add in is a hook. Swing your fist in at a slight angle from the side, going for where your opponent’s jaw would be. Adding a few combos of hooks and upper hooks (where you hook from the uppercut position) will give you a well-rounded upper arm and aerobic workout. Now, if you want to work your legs, you’ll need to throw in some kicks.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing the bag. Lift your knee up, and kick straight out at the bag. Try to keep your leg slightly bent, but at waist height. Push through the bottom of the kick with the ball of your foot, and snap your leg back immediately after contact. You can also try swivelling on your other foot to kick out sideways (it’s a bit harder, but easier to keep your balance while doing it).
You can also work a large number of muscles by pulling the bag in towards your body and hitting it with your knee. This works better with standing bags, but you can also do it with hanging ones. Make sure you bring your knee up only to waist height, and use your body to pull the bag the rest of the way. The resistance the bag provides will help to work your upper body, as well as your thighs.
Once you build up a routine with a solid combination of kicks and punches, and can keep that going for 20 to 30 minutes, you’ll be well on your way to losing weight before the holidays.