Making cardio minutes fly by may seem impossible when you’re in the thick of sprint cycles and your legs are turning to jelly. But boxing is one type of cardio that will get your heart rate into the fat-burning zone quick, while also teaching you some self-defense skills and challenging you so much that you’ll forget the time.

“Three-minute rounds of straight punching using a bag will get your heart rate right up into that anaerobic zone,” says Beth Gold, a trainer at Rumble Boxing in NYC. Plus, “it’ll have you sweating up a storm all while relieving stress and making you feel like a total badass!” Here’s how to get the most out of each punch.

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Full-body benefits

A common misconception is that boxing targets your back and shoulders only, but it also works your core and legs. “While boxing, it’s crucial to make sure you engage your core as well as your legs as you’re throwing punches. In fact, most of your power is going to be coming from your lower body,” says Gold. Even with all of these benefits, trying a new type of workout routine can be intimidating. That’s why we asked Gold to break down the fundamental boxing moves so you can be floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee in no time.

Tip: When throwing hooks, take a step closer to the bag or opponent and aim to hit from the side. These punches are meant to target the “inside” of your opponent instead of the outside, like jabs and crosses do.

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Beginner’s boxing workout

  • 30 sec: Jab cross (Plant your feet and throw for power.) 
  • 30 sec: Cherry pickers (High knees in place while you alternate your arms to punch toward the ceiling.)
  • 30 sec: Jab cross for speed (Throw your front punches, and run in place.)
  • 30 sec: Duck-3 duck-4 (Squat, come up to throw front hook, then squat, and come up to throw back hook.)
  • 30 sec: Front and back uppercuts (Plant your feet, and throw for power.)
  • 30 sec: Front and back uppercuts (Throw your uppercuts as fast as you can, roll the shoulders.)
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