Boxing and Krav Maga are both systems of hand-to-hand fighting that pit two adversaries against each other in close quarters. Both require fighters to be in their top physical condition in order to be effective. Between Krav Maga and Boxing, you might be wondering, which style is better for you?

Boxing is generally a better workout, combining combat training with cardio endurance and stamina. Krav Maga, however, is more effective as a system of self-defense than boxing. This is because Krav Maga is a military hand-to-hand defense system, while boxing is a sporting event.

If you’re wondering which fighting style to train yourself in, the first step is to identify your intent. 

Are you fighting for sport or learning to defend yourself? Keep reading to learn more about which fighting style is better for you, as well as a few home workouts you can do to train in these styles.

Which Style Is Better for Self Defense?

One of the main reasons people get into martial arts is to defend themselves. Self-defense training can be beneficial for anyone, as long as your training style reasonably matches your age and physicality. If you’re trying to choose between Krav Maga and boxing for self-defense training, the decision is pretty simple.

Krav Maga is a more effective system of self-defense, although boxing training can come in handy in a hand-to-hand self-defense situation. Krav Maga was developed to be the primary hand-to-hand combat system for the Israeli military and police forces.

According to the Way of Martial Arts, Krav Maga is the deadliest form of martial arts, which makes it the clear choice if you’re looking for the best form of self-defense. The downside of learning Krav Maga, however, is that the training can be too dangerous and physically demanding for some.

Which Style Is a Better Workout?

When it comes to getting a good sweat going, boxing is the better option. Even recreational boxing will improve overall physical fitness, flexibility, and cardio endurance, according to Dojo Life HQ. Being a sport, boxing encourages an overall athletic lifestyle, whereas Krav Maga requires bursts of explosive energy to be used in life-or-death situations.

Between boxing and Krav Maga, fitness boxing is the better choice for a good workout. Boxing has been shown to improve physical and mental performance and is safer for civilians to learn and practice versus deadlier combat styles such as Krav Maga.

Health Benefits of a Boxing Workout Routine

There are many benefits to choosing boxing training to keep yourself in shape. Boxing is one of the most brutally intense competitive sports, which means that boxers have to train hard and tough. Whether or not you’re ready to get bloody in the ring, training for the bell can put you in the best shape of your life if you’re dedicated to the practice.

Here are some of the health benefits of fitness boxing training, according to research from Harvard Medical School:

Improves balance

Balance is critical in boxing, as boxers must be able to duck and weave while keeping their base stable enough to throw effective punches. By learning how to move your upper body while keeping your feet stabilized, you can improve your balance in everyday life as well as in the ring.

Helps posture

The reaching motion of boxing punches stretches out the thoracic spine, or upper back area, keeping it limber and flexible. This will naturally cause better posture over time.

Strengthens your muscles

Boxing requires a lot of upper body strength. Each punch a boxer throws has an average of 770 pounds (349 kilos) per square inch of force behind it. Fitness boxing will help to strengthen your back, shoulders, core, and arms.

Improves endurance and stamina

Boxing requires intensive bursts of muscular strengths, spaced out by cardio footwork. All of this means that, while you’re in the ring, you’re moving the whole time. Training for this will improve your cardio endurance and muscular stamina.

Increases alertness and reflex speed

Boxing requires fast reflexes, as well as quick mental and physical agility. Whether you’re fitness boxing or sparring, training to fight improves focus and alertness.

Enhances mood

Boxing improves the mood of participants. Any kind of healthy exercise releases endorphins, creating a natural “high”; however, boxing has the additional benefit of being a combat sport. This allows athletes to work off anger and stress in a healthy environment, which has been shown to improve the overall quality of life.

Improves hand-eye coordination

Boxing, unlike many other forms of martial arts, restricts the striking zone to the head and upper torso. This means that boxers must be extremely precise when placing their punches. Because of this, boxing has been shown to improve hand-eye coordination in its participants, which is another advantage of fitness boxing that has benefits in your everyday life.

Boxing Is Safer Than Krav Maga, but It’s Still a Combat Sport

Just because boxing is safer than Krav Maga, however, doesn’t mean it’s a safe sport. Even if you’re just doing recreational training and sparring for fitness, boxing carries a high risk for acute head, heart, and spinal injuries. If your body is not in prime condition going in, it’s important not to overdo your workouts too fast.

Fitness boxing may exclude athletes from having to spar by doing all the training against bags or padded gloves. If you’re using traditional boxing as an exercise plan, however, you should prepare yourself both to hit and be hit by others. This can cause distress to some if they’ve never been struck before, so ease into sparring based on your comfort level.

Krav Maga Workouts You Can Do at Home

The precise motions of Krav Maga require instruction and dedicated training. There are some home exercises, however, which can help you get in shape for Krav Maga training. Here are four ways to keep yourself in Krav Maga shape at home and prepare yourself for training sessions, according to Krav Maga Worldwide.

Practice Your Stance

In Krav Maga, a properly stable stance is crucial to mounting an effective attack or defensive maneuver. A basic Krav Maga stance places the non-dominant a comfortable step in front, bending slightly at the knees and raised on the balls of the feet. 

When you have your feet set, put your hands up and elbows in, defending your ribs and vital organs. Draw your chin in slightly to protect the softer areas on the face.

Master the Straight Punch

Although there are a variety of different strike-types that can be employed in Krav Maga, it’s crucial to master the fundamentals first. Practice throwing a straight punch at a punching bag or perfect your form by shadowboxing. Practicing the fundamentals at home will allow you to focus your energy on new techniques during instruction.

Practice Your Basic Kick

The fundamental kick move in Krav Maga is a swift front kick to the groin. This is easily one of the most effective moves in the majority of self-defense situations, so it’s an important move to have mastered. 

Starting from the basic stance described in step 1, drive your knee forward, powering the kick from your hips. As you familiarize yourself with this basic maneuver, try incorporating it into your shadow boxing practice along with the basic straight punch.

Cardio Conditioning

One of the most important things to do in order to be ready for Krav Maga training is to improve your cardio conditioning. Running is the easiest way to improve your cardio and requires very little equipment. 

Pushups, situps, and shadow boxing routines can also help improve your physical condition so that you’re in the best possible shape to learn Krav Maga or to defend yourself in a real-world situation.

Boxing Workouts You Can Do at Home

Boxers must exercise outside of the boxing gym in order to keep themselves in proper fighting shape. There are a number of at-home exercises that can help you get into or stay in shape when you train, according to Shape.com.

Jump Rope

Jumping rope is a great cardio and agility exercise. Boxers will frequently use jump ropes to warm up, skipping back and forth between feet to improve the balance and agility that is essential in the ring. For beginner boxers training at home, start with 3 minutes as a warm-up and end with a 3-5 minute jump rope cardio cooldown.

Shadow Boxing

Shadowboxing allows boxers to practice their form and improve their hand work without an opponent or punching bag. Run through your basic straight jabs, crosses, hooks, and uppercuts, increasing speed as you familiarize yourself with the motions. You can also practice ducking and weaving so that you can maneuver smoothly in the ring or during training.

Pushups, Situps, Pullups, and Crunches

Boxing relies solely on punches, unlike many other martial arts which allow kicking. For this reason, arm, chest, back, and core strength are of the utmost importance in boxing. Boxers training at home can exercise these muscle groups by doing regular sets of pushups, pullups, bicycle crunches, planks, and rows. The stronger your thrust strength is, the more likely you are to knock your opponent against the ropes when you make contact.

Cardio 

Boxing matches have 3-minute rounds. While 3 minutes may not seem like a long time, it can feel a lot longer when you’re fighting. Maintaining your stamina throughout multiple rounds can be the key to winning a match, so it’s important to keep your cardio conditioning in practice. Run, swim or bike regularly to keep your heart rate up and improve your stamina in the ring.

Can Boxing Be Self-Taught From Home?

If you want to learn how to defend yourself, you may be wondering if there’s an effective method of self-teaching. If you’re exercising regularly at home, you’re off to a good start.

You can self-teach the fundamentals of boxing at home. YouTube tutorials and regular practice can help to master the basics. When it comes to self-defense, however, it’s hard to match the value of in-person experience with self-teaching.

Final Thoughts

Krav Maga vs boxing don’t make for a perfect comparison because they are typically learned for different reasons. Krav Maga is a deadly form of self-defense and street fighting developed by the Israeli Defense Force, whereas boxing is a highly competitive combat sporting event. Boxing is generally a better workout, but Krav Maga is more likely to save your life in a real-world situation.

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