home gym

My homework…

So what have I been able to do in between my last session with Gary at Lusby’s Gym and today? …

I’ve been trying to keep my weight down at 77 kg and my stamina up.  Bear in mind I walk the dog twice a day as well for an hour each time so that’s got to count for something!

I should keep a proper diary but this is what I can remember – the days may be a little skewed…

Fri 13th: 3-4 km run (< 20 minutes), 10 minutes shadowboxing, 30 minutes double-end-bag

Sat 14th: 3-4 km run, (< 20 minutes), 10 minutes shadowboxing

Sun 15th: Nothing

Mon 16th: 60 minute game of 5-aside football

Tue 17th: Nothing (This was the day I put up the heavy bag)

Wed 18th: 24 minutes on the double-end-bag, 12-minutes on the heavy bag, 5 mins shadowboxing

It’s not bad.  I have to balance my home chores and duties as well and I don’t want to turn Emma into a “Boxing widow”.  I try and do the workouts as early in the morning as possible so they’re not in the way of the main day between 0600 and 0730.  Can’t use the heavy bag at this hour though – it’s just too noisy and you can hear it through the floorboards.  The double end bag is a lot quieter but you can probably still hear that a little.

shadowbox-enclave

This little enclave is where I shadowbox.  I’m pretty well hidden from my neighbour.

mygarage

And if I open up those double-doors I can use these bags.

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Installing the RM-1000 Rafter Mount

 

  • The plate measures 150mm high, 130mm wide, 35mm deep.
  • 2 bolt holes on the main face.  Require 8mm drill bit.
  • 2 bolt holes on the underside for carriage screws. Require 6mm drill bit for pilot hole.
  • The bolts can be tightened using a 13mm spanner.
  • The bolts on the piece that attaches to the straps of your heavy bag require a 17mm spanner.

Additional comments

I bought the brace plate as well – it is used to connect the adjacent joist to the joist holding the main plate (demonstrated below)…

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 9.22.34 AM

…however my joist beams are not tall enough for the angle that the brace plate sits at once attached so I couldn’t use it.  The brace plate doesn’t actually screw onto the main plate it’s only bolted to the two joist beams just so you know.

The heavy bag I use is an Everlast C3 Heavy foam bag.  It weighs maybe 30kg (66 lbs) and to be fair I think just the RM1000 plate on its own is more than enough to hold the bag safely.

Another point is the 8mm bolts that go horizontally into the plate are barely long enough to go through my joists which are around 45mm thick – especially when you add in the two washer rings.  I’d have preferred longer bolts and if you have thick joists you’ll certainly have to purchase longer bolts separately.

Another thing I forgot was that my joists are all around 35 – 40cm spaced apart which wasn’t enough clearance to get my main drill in to drill the holes!  I had to wait for my smaller hand drill to charge up and use that, so just bear that in mind when you’re installing this plate!

The crazy thing was that including the price for importing the RM1000 from the States and the tax charge of 30 GBP, the mounting plate ended up costing more than my heavy bag!  There’s a spring that helps to dampen the vibration when you hit the bag.  Our bedroom sits above the garage and the floor boards are not very thick so there is still some reverberation when you land your punches.

To be fair, I’m working out in a cellar (to call it a garage is being a bit too generous as there’s barely enough space for anything other than a Smart car!) – a little noise is to be expected.  I certainly won’t be able to work out while my wife is sleeping sadly but I’m still happy.

 

The benefits of shadow boxing for fitness

As a general note this is a fantastic way to keep fit and loosen up.  You can shadow box anywhere where you have a bit of space.  It costs absolutely nothing and you don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t need weights.  Forget spending mega money on joining a fancy gym.  I reckon if you shadowboxed 45 minutes everyday in your living room, you could work up a sweat and shave off some weight easily.

You can use it to warm up or warm down or practice a particular movement or technique.  It teaches you to be comfortable within your own body and to focus and zone out anything going on externally, around you.

I had my first ever one-to-one personal training with Gary, my boxing coach, the other week so I had to warm up.  I did some skipping and I shadow boxed with just him watching.  I was a bit nervous at first because it’s a little different to people on a boat just casually walking past you (which is where I first started to shadow box).  Gary was full-on watching me so I tried to relax as quickly as I could and just tried to concentrate on staying loose and zoning out the fact I was being watched.

I could have been looser but I didn’t do too badly for a first time audience.  I’ll become more relaxed when I get used to him being there!  When I was on the vessel shadow-boxing one of my specific aims was to memorize and go through 7 or 8 basic punching combinations I printed off the internet.  These were “bread and butter” combinations that I’m supposed to know inside out.  Later, I’d also focus on my head movements, ducking and slipping and I’d also practice what’s called pivoting and just general movement.

I warmed up in front of Gary last week and my shadow boxing lasted just 5 minutes, I was just trying to loosen up and get my body moving.  On the boat, when I was off shift, I was spending at least half an hour a day in total, every day.

The thing is, you’re not supposed to be tired out doing shadow boxing.  If you’re getting tired punching clean air, you’re in serious trouble!  Slow it right down if you need to.

Try to have an agenda.  Are you practicing rhythm and timing, specific movements?  Maybe you’re trying to work up your hand speed. Or are you simply just warming up your muscles.

As a guideline, I read a serious boxer will spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day shadow-boxing and a pro will spend an hour.

Whether you’re an aspiring boxer or someone who likes fitness… Try it out…  you’ll be surprised how fast you can build up a sweat!

Some of the more stranger places I’ve thrown out some shadow-boxing shapes:

  • Alone in an elevator in various hotels and department stores.
  • The desk at work.
  • Inside the toilets of various establishments.
  • Yesterday, sat outside, by the wall of Croy train station.  (I was getting the odd strange look from a guy waiting in his car and the two female cops in the car park)

The link below is an excellent article by Johnny N on shadow boxing from his ExpertBoxing website:
ExpertBoxing.com – Guide to Shadow boxing

Lastly, I picked out a 3 minute video I clipped and uploaded onto YouTube.  It shows Amir Khan shadow boxing in front of a packed press.  It’s one of my favourite ones.

I can see his technique for his left and right hook which was something I was looking into.  He’s practicing his pivoting and just warming up his hands with a few of his favourite combinations.  You can differentiate when he’s employing full force, full extension of his hands and when he’s just gently working his limbs up and he’s always breathing correctly and he’s very relaxed.

 

There are lots of videos on YouTube of various people demonstrating their shadowboxing.  All of them focusing on certain aspects.  Have a try, take a look, then try some more if you see something you like.

Fitness and exercise that doesn’t cost a penny – and the kind you can do in your own home – the best kind!!!

Feel free to comment!

My double-end bag setup

In order to get as much practice as I can, I wanted to install 3 types of bag at my home.  A double-end bag, a speedbag and a heavy bag.  This is my double-end bag in my garage.

  • 8mm bungee cord used for top and bottom
  • Approximately 50cm from the ceiling down to the first loop strap of the double end bag.
  • Approximately 120cm from the floor up to the bottom loop strap of the double end bag.
  • Floor mount is an eyebolt drilled into a concrete floor. (14.5mm diameter hole) with an 8mm swivel attached to a P-link.
  • At the top there is a 14mm hook screwed into the underside of a wooden ceiling joist beam.
  • The bungee cord is secured to the double end bag straps using a P-link for the bottom and a carabiner for the top.
  • When I stand next to the bag, the top of the ball is under my chin and the ball sits around chest height.
  • All the hardware was bought from my local B&Q (hardware store chain in the UK) with the exception of the swivel which had to be ordered online.

The problem with my garage (like all garages) is that the ceiling is low so the bottom bungee cord is much longer than the bungee cord at the top.  This has the effect of limiting the recoil of the double end bag when it is hit.  I get about half a meter of forward-and-back movement and it is quick to recoil due to me putting tension on both ropes.  The one at my boxing club, Lusby’s Boxing Gym, has an even rope top and bottom, that moves significantly more and is much more pendulous in motion.

An article by Johnny from ExpertBoxing.com explains it best but with this type of setup, i.e. higher tension and shorter recoil, the bag is better for practicing rhythm and combinations – that doesn’t mean that you can’t bob and weave and slip – you just won’t get as much recoil coming back at you.

At first, I was experimenting between using just a non-elastic rope at top and a flat bungee cord at the bottom and also a different set of cords for top and bottom but the movement was a little strange and not uniform.  I find by using the same type of cord for top and bottom, the motion is much more smoother.

Also I did have a swivel at the top as well as the bottom but the swivel at the top was extremely noisy and didn’t really do very much.  Now I just have the bungee cord tied in a series of knots direct to that ceiling hook.  I still have the swivel at the bottom to take away some of the tension on the eyebolt when it’s hit.

I do wish my garage ceiling was higher so I could have an evenly mounted double end bag but I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the setup.

When I drive that ride-on lawn mower out of the way, I can pivot aroun d the ball 270 degrees which is good enough for me to practice my footwork in and around the speedbag.

I’ve watched YouTube clips of pro-boxers like Manny Pacqiao and Amir Khan on double-end bags that move even less than mine.  They are set up with very high tension so I am guessing they are practicing the same thing as me – combinations and rhythm of punches.

I’d love a setup that also allows the double end bag a greater recoil as well but I’m limited by the dimensions of my garage.

Check out the TouTube clip below of Manny Pacquiao working a high tension double end bag.