You see a boxer in the ring with headgear on, laying down a beating on their partner. You feel sorry for the poor guy, as from the look on his face, he’s in obvious discomfort.
When the bell rings, the headgear comes off revealing long hair tugged back in a ponytail. Under the gloves, are meticulously well-cared-for painted nails.
Now, that was a surprise.
Female boxers are becoming a common sight in gyms and competitive fighting. But are women welcome in this usually testosterone-dominated environment, and do they make good boxers?
In this post, we lift the hood on boxing classes for women and female fighters.
What to Expect from a Women’s Boxing Class
Whether you go to a women’s boxing class or a mixed class, the workout is usually the same. You might do bag work, pad work and some strength and fitness exercises. For more experienced boxers, you may be allowed to spar.
The workout is intense and you will probably find yourself gasping for air at some point, no matter how many miles you can run or laps you can swim.
Most boxing classes are a mix of two types of people. On one side of the class, you have your serious fighters and gym rats. On the other, you have the recreational boxers. The former are focused on improving and becoming the best fighter they can possibly be, while the latter are usually less serious and there to have fun.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman – you’ll fit into one of the groups and train with people at your skill level. Therefore, you should never be intimidated to try a boxing class as you’ll be partnered with someone with skills and experience in line with your own.
Is Training With Men a Bad Thing?
Training with men can be nerve-wracking at first. However, it’s something that you get over quickly.
The workouts are so intense that everyone struggles equally, and the people at the top of the class are the ones who attend class the most – man or woman, it doesn’t matter.
Holding pads for men isn’t any different than holding for a woman. Power comes with technique, so a less experienced guy usually punches softer than a more experienced woman. With proper pad holding technique, it doesn’t matter how hard the other person hits.
Pad holding is also a great upper body workout, and holding for a strong partner means you develop even more muscles.
Sparring with guys can seem scary – who wouldn’t be scared to fight someone twice their weight and size? However, there’s nothing to worry about. Sparring is rarely done at 100% intensity because the idea is to improve, not to get hurt.
When you’re sparring, you and your partner should be holding back.
Even if he’s stronger and bigger than you, your partner won’t be trying to knock your head off. In fact, I find that training with guys that are a lot bigger is an advantage. When the time comes to fight someone in your weight class, things are much easier.
Can Women Really Fight?
First off, you don’t have to fight if you decide to take up boxing. Some people just enjoy the intensity of boxing classes and the health and fitness benefits and have no intention of proving themselves in a ring.
However, there are an increasingly growing number of women that do opt to fight. Female fights are becoming hugely popular and attract large audiences, especially when it comes to the world of mixed martial arts – Rhonda Rousey being the name on everyone’s lips at the moment.
The feeling you get from stepping into a ring and leaving everything you have on the mat is like no other adrenaline rush. Don’t let the thought of a few cuts and bruises stop you from fighting – the benefits of fighting far outweigh the injuries!
With widespread acceptance and plenty of opportunities for female fighters, there’s never been a better time to start boxing and building a loyal fan base.
Whether you do decide to fight or only train for six-pack abs, there’s no doubt that boxing classes for women are a great way to get in shape. Don’t be intimidated and just jump into a class and have fun.
Like many of us that have done so, you may find it leads to a life-long obsession.