A real live boxing ring and dozens of black punching bags greeted me as I walked into LA Boxing in Galveston Court for a free boxing class. The enthusiastic and personable staff wrapped my hands, gave me some gloves, and I waiting by the lines of foreboding black bags for the class to start.
Our instructor Lawrence, a professional boxer himself, meandered over with a deceivingly chill attitude. He joked with the class members, found out what level us newbies were at, and was anything but the stereotypical drill sergeant coach.
Once we started the warm-up, however, his laid-back demeanor provided no sugar coating. Run down the lane of bags, do five pushups—clapping your hands in between each—and then bear crawl home. “And don’t lose,” he said.
That was just the beginning. The warm-up itself was as intense as many whole classes I’ve been to: suicides, burpees, spiderwalks. Pain. But the whole room had a fantastic atmosphere of friendly competition and support.
We stretched it out, put gloves on and got ready to box.
Lawrence reviewed the basic punches and sent us off hitting the bags. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut—he walked throughout the bags checking our form and sometimes wearing pads on his hands and coaching us through specific hits and swipes. Then every thirty seconds or so, he’d yell out to “drop” and we had to hit the floor for pushups, burpies, or some other form of torture, boxing gloves and all.
“Little quicker,” he’d say. Or sometimes, “Ok, a lot quicker.” The timer would ding, he’d gather us up for some new techniques and then we’d be off again. There was no doubt that this was going to top my workout list for the week as far as intensity and pushing me to a whole new level. I know I’ve seen Rocky do some of these same exercises.
The whole time, Lawrence kept his cool demeanor while encouraging each of us to either go harder if he knew we could, or to improve a technique, or to go just a little faster.
Finally he had us go down for some abs work. Everything was aching and sweating, but it felt fantastic to have completed the regime.
While we sat there recovering, he gave a few announcements about fight nights coming up where members of the gym could get in the ring and actually spar with each other to a cheering crowd. “If you think you’re ready, just sign up,” he said. It was then that it hit home that I’d just gone through a workout with some actual boxers. Of course not everyone in the room was looking to box, but I’d lived through a workout for people who do.
The gym offers one free class to anyone interested; you can get a coupon on their website or just walk in and fill out the sheet. So whether you are looking to increase your strength and endurance, want a little competition, or just want to learn some good boxing or kickboxing techniques, bring a friend and be ready for a workout guaranteed to push you.