Thursday, June 23, 2005

Working the Bag

So for much of the 90 days I was doing P90X, I was looking forward to going back to heavy lifting: bench presses and squats. But I find that since I've put up the punching bag, I really like that most of all. I looked up a few articles on-line that basically all said the same thing: hit the bag for three-minute rounds, just like a boxing match. So that's what I've been doing: three three-minute rounds, with one-minute of rest between.

The first round is just getting into the rhythm. I mainly do straight jabs and crosses, nothing fancy. I'm working up a good sweat by the time that's done. The minute of rest feels like a long time, but I make myself wait it out. The second round, I mainly do hooks and uppercuts. Because I'm still not a skilled puncher, and because the bag's light, hooks set the bag spinning like crazy, so I have to switch hands to counter-spin it. I've got a couple of sandbag-type wrist weights in the bottom of the bag, so uppercuts are met with really stiff resistance. By the the end of the second round, sweat is flying and I'm panting so hard that I can smell the drool spewing out with every breath. The second rest period is the same length as the first, but it feels much shorter.

The third round I go mainly for long combinations, four, five, six punches. As I concentrate on stringing together quick combinations, I find myself barely slapping the bag. I have to remind myself to hit hard, and a few seconds later, I have to remind myself again. My shoulders and arms are running out of gas, and my lungs aren't keeping up with the pace. The last thirty seconds, I try to keep up a sustained flurry of punches, but I haven't got the stamina to go full-tilt. I can either hit fast or hard, not both, and I have to pause for a second here and there to get my breath back.

It may sound like torture written out like this, but it's fast and intense and it's over quickly. In eleven minutes, I'm done and ready for something more relaxing. I've also used the bag for some other training moves. I rucked up with it the other day and ran/walked ten or eleven laps around my cul-de-sac with all 40-50 lbs. on my back. It's hard to sprint with that much weight on your back, but it was an interesting change from the normal slow-to-moderate running I normally do. I've also done torso twists while swinging the bag to work on my upper back and obliques. I'm trying to incorporate Art DeVany's ideas about short, intense workouts and play. One problem I've had in maintaining a fitness regimen is that I get bored after about three months or so of doing the same thing all the time. Incorporating the bag work with my weights has been an excellent addition so far, at least in terms of motivation; we'll see if I get any results from it (which to be honest, I probably won't if I only do it once a week as I have been, but it's summer and I'm busy).

No comments: