Punching with Purpose: Maximizing the Benefits of Boxing Training with Functional Patterns

Punching with Purpose: Maximizing the Benefits of Boxing Training with Functional Patterns

Boxing training, it’s in most gyms. Wondering if boxing training is good for you? Should you use boxing for cardio? Best exercises for boxing? Well, these are great questions. In this article, we are going to delve deep into these questions and many more.

The origins of boxing training can be traced back to around 3000 BC and started to appear in the Olympic Games around 688 BC. Boxing was originally a brutal bare-knuckle fight with very few rules. Over time, boxing has evolved and so have boxing techniques; what was once just a brutal fight now is a highly skilled sport with many more rules. Boxing as a martial art essentially involves trying to land punches on another person while avoiding being hit yourself. People usually engage in boxing classes for one of these two reasons:

  1. They want to participate in boxing as a sport so naturally they want to learn boxing techniques or they want to  learn how to fight.
  2. They want to use boxing for cardio, boxing for weight loss, gain muscle, release stress, etc.


The Functional Patterns First Four

At Functional Patterns, we operate on the understanding that humans have primarily evolved to have four main functions of movement: standing, walking, running, and throwing. We build off these four functions into a wide variety of movements, and the closer a movement is to the first four, the more relevant it will be for the human body. Read more about the Functional Patterns First Four here.

Where does Boxing fit in Relation to the FP First Four?

Well, it's pretty high up there; punching is a throwing motion. Also, with good boxing techniques, if done well you can throw punches at all sorts of angles with different shifts and positions. You have the potential to engage in a pretty well-rounded activity that respects a great deal of human evolution. The next question you need to ask is are you capable of punching well? How do you punch well?


Potential Downsides of Boxing as a Sport

Let’s separate boxing as a sport and boxing workouts for a moment, focusing first on boxing as a sport. 

  1. Traditional boxing is done from an asymmetrical stance, and a person will rarely swap sides. This is inevitably going to lead to an asymmetry in the person's structure.

  2. A boxing match is obviously an extremely stressful situation for your body, due to the increased stress on the nervous system, making the body very adaptive to the position you are in. For example, let's say I have kyphosis (where my mid to upper back rounds forward). Now, in this extremely stressful situation (a boxing match), my body is going to deeply engrave this biomechanical dysfunction. Addressing this issue becomes increasingly challenging the more I stress in that position. At Functional Patterns, we observe that everyone in our society has some level of dysfunction in their structure, so this is likely applicable to you as well.

  3. Obvious head trauma from being punched in the head.

  4. The irrelevant conditioning training that often accompanies the boxing training and martial arts world.



Worth It?

For me, the head trauma is going to stop me there; it’s inevitable and unnecessary. Although the rest of these can be mitigated by doing Functional Patterns, the most important thing is that people don’t get ahead of themselves. Learn to move and heal your body first with Functional Patterns; then, potentially, you can deal with the traumas of boxing training. Here are some results of people that have been training Functional Patterns and are now going to be able to get the best out of boxing training.  

Potential Downsides of Boxing Training for Fitness/Weight Loss:

All of the above points also remain relevant even when utilising boxing training for something like weight loss, apart from the head trauma hopefully. Although here is another one. 

Most of the time, people have no idea about how to throw a punch in a way that will lead to a net positive result for their body; they will just mindlessly throw punches at pads or heavy bags repeatedly, building bad habits and inevitably getting injured.

How do we get all the potential benefits of boxing training without the down sides?  

Firstly, we need to learn the fundamentals of movement in general. This is going to be extremely beneficial when later learning boxing techniques, as the foundations you learn in Functional Patterns apply across all movements and sports, including boxing training.

You also need to address the asymmetry in your biomechanics so that when you learn to throw a punch, you can do this without making your dysfunctions worse or even creating new ones.

Lastly, by completing these two previous steps, you will not only be able to box pain-free, but you will also be able to box better with better boxing technique. You will move faster, hit harder, and gain leverage in angles you couldn't before. Functional Patterns will make you a much better boxer.


If one is considering engaging in boxing workouts for sport or just boxing for weight loss or stay fit, it is imperative to address biomechanical dysfunctions first and prioritize learning proper movement patterns. Functional Patterns provides a comprehensive solution, we recommended starting with the 10-week online course. Prioritizing foundational movement proficiency with Functional Patterns ensures a safer and more effective approach to boxing training, setting the stage for a balanced and regenerative life.

More Functional Patterns articles, discussing other modalities that are commonly mixed with boxing training.


Functional Patterns 10 week online course.

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