Podcast

How Tech Can Help Nail Your Home Boxing Workout

20 Minute Fitness Episode #81

This week we’re turning the 20 Minute Fitness podcast into a fight club and aim to improve your punches. While boxing traditionally might have been seen as a “two-men” sport, today we look at it as an amazing workout for everyone. No matter if you’re in for the weight loss or want to get stronger, boxing can take you there. 

And of course with its growing popularity and proven formula for all sorts of fitness goals, the number of innovations out there that focus on boxing has grown too. Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about the tech that can improve your uppercut and knock out your virtual target!

Three Things You Will Learn

1) Track Your Punches With These Gadgets

The very first step towards not just becoming a pro boxer, but getting a good boxing workout in is mastering your punches. There are a number of factors that you should look at from technique to speed and force. And all of these can easily be tracked by tiny little sensors that you can hide underneath your gloves. 

The first one of these sensors is the PIQ ROBOT – a collaboration between PIQ and Everlast. This gadget is “more than just a sensor”. It is an AI-powered system that delivers actionable information that will allow you to improve your punches. Get an insight on how your punch speed and your G force are improving and learn about your strengths and weaknesses that you should work on!

Another similar innovation is the Hykso punch tracker that tracks your hand movement at 1000 times/second. The 6000 data points you get will detect the number, type and velocity of your punches and provide you with all this information at real time. This will give you a great basis for becoming a better fighter. But if you still need an extra boost of motivation, you can compare yourself to elite level boxers and try to catch up to them.

Finally the StrikeTec Sensors are the tiniest of all, but will give you the highest number of data points. With StrikeTec, you won’t just know how fast and powerful your jabs are, but also see whether you throw that punch accurately enough. 

Press play to learn more about the ins & outs of all three sensors and to find out which one is the one for you!

2) Transform Your Home Into A Boxing Studio

Going a step further than tracking, you may also want to start taking classes from professional instructors. So you should sign up at a gym that offers boxing, right? Absolutely not. FightCamp can turn your own living room into a boxing studio in a matter of a second. 

With the FightCamp Gym, you’ll get all the equipment you need for a proper boxing session. And that includes guided workouts as well. FightCamp has an extensive library of on-demand classes led by the best boxing trainers in the US.

All workouts will vary based on your proficiency level, but they are all built on a 3-min round – 1-min rest format. And if you’re just starting out, they have a 10-week program for newbies that will start from scratch and help with learning all the basic boxing moves. 

Listen on to hear what’s included in the FightCamp package and how your virtual trainer will motivate you to hit that punching bag harder!

3) The Boxing System For Pros

If you’re a gym owner or someone who’s very into boxing, the BotBoxer could definitely be something exciting for you. This system is a comprehensive robotic boxing stimulator that will challenge even pro boxers.

With its high speed computer vision and motion recognition, the BotBoxer will also train your boxing tactics and ensure that your opponent won’t get out of your punches’ way.

Tracking the force, velocity and the directions of your punches is just the beginning here. The real deal comes when you turn your BotBoxer into fight mode. This will result in the stimulation of a real human and turn your fights into the closest it can get to reality. 

Tune in to learn more about the BotBoxer‘s features and human characteristics!


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Full transcript

00:03 Charlie: Welcome back to another episode of 20-Minute Fitness. Once again, I’m your host, Charlie, and this is the How Tech Can Help sub-series. I really hope you enjoyed part one of the interview of Connor, the founder of Ample Foods last week. Part two will be up next week, for you to dive into. And I found it super interesting. So I really hope you enjoyed as well. But for this week, we’re looking at how tech can help you kill your boxing workout at home. Recently the supplement brand Forza found after several tests that boxing can burn the most calories per hour of any sport, which is up to 800 calories an hour, and just behind it are sports like squash, rowing, soccer, and fast road running as well. So if you’re looking to shed some weight and also have some fun doing it and potentially even learn something new, then picking up boxing, trying some boxing workouts, could definitely be for you.

00:58 Charlie: If you are enjoying our interviews and deep dives into the tech that can help you more efficiently and effectively reach your health and fitness goals, then please do remember to head to Apple Podcast and click the five-star rating. It honestly does take a matter seconds, but it really goes a long way for us and we really do appreciate it, and of course, don’t forget to get in touch with us, you could tweet us or email us. It would be really helpful to hear your feedback, find out which topics you’d love us to cover, find out if you’ve been using any of the tech that we covered and whether it’s helped you or benefited you in any way as well.

01:33 Charlie: Of course, 20-Minute Fitness is powered by ShapeScale. ShapeScale is a 3D body scanning scale. You simply step on the device and the robotic arm will spin around your body capturing all sorts of body data, this is then synced to the app on your phone and you’ll be able to see a photo-realistic 3D avatar of your body so you can see it from all different angles. I know, obviously, it’s really hard to see your back end in there and everything like that, so this will really help you get a more comprehensive visual pitch of your body, but you’ll also be able to see the quantitative data as well, such as your body fat percentage, your lean muscle mass, and your muscle girth measurements and this will obviously help you have an all-encompassing picture of your body. And you can try and understand all the different changes that are happening to it. ShapeScale is now available for pre-order at shapescale.com, so don’t, forget to check it out.

[music]

02:21 Charlie: What I would say before we start this episode is that a lot of this tech in my opinion, can be considered for those who are quite serious about improving their boxing workouts or even improving their technique for example, because I didn’t really find any app that I deemed were good enough quality to include because they weren’t offering really useful boxing workouts, or anything like that. There was one good boxing timer but that’s for rounds when you’re sparring and obviously, you’re probably not doing that at home and doing boxing workouts involving sparring and training partners at home, so I chose not to include those. But much of this tech is about those who may potentially already started boxing and are really interested in getting more intense, more sweaty, more fun killer workouts and basically improving their technique, as they go along as well.

03:06 Charlie: I will say I believe we’ve spoken about it before, but the Moov Now wearable, you can get for $60. It offers a fun way to get involved and get fit with boxing, you’ll need two, one for each wrist, to get the best out of it, but using Moov, you will have the opportunity to watch videos on the app and learn how to perfect your jabs, your uppercuts. So this is really the app replacement I need to talk about today, very briefly. So you’ll be able to provide a training systems based on your experience level, and this could be, depending on how hard you want to boost yourself for example, and you can opt for semi-pro level which will include some calorie blasting combos, or you can even challenge yourself with the champion level, which will push both your mental and your physical stamina as well.

03:48 Charlie: And what’s really cool is you’re taken through the training sessions by placing your device at eye level and like a Guitar Hero game really, you’re meant to throw the correct combo at the correct time. And obviously, it will say whether it’s a cross or a jab or an uppercut and you’ll try and obviously get the best score possible, and obviously, once you finish, you can then reflect on it and try and beat it again next time, and it really does get you to work up a sweat whilst also gamifying boxing really. So definitely worth a try, as well. And as I said, we spoke about Moov before. And there’s a loads of different fitness activities it can track as well, so it’s multi-functional so don’t feel you have to invest in it just for boxing purposes.

04:25 Charlie: So as I mentioned at the start, much of the tech I’m really gonna talk about today, is what I call the mid to high-level category, based on the way we do things in this 20-Minute Fitness podcast, so you can expect most of these to have quite a reasonable price tag, and obviously requires proficiency level as well. But the first piece of tech we’re going to cover is the PIQ Everlast boxing tracker. So PIQ has already delved in the world of sports tracking, and it’s built wearables for golf, the tennis court, and for ski slopes, and now it’s turned to boxing, with the help of Everlast. And Everlast are one of the renowned leaders for boxing, MMA, and fitness-related goods. And they’ve teamed up to create the PIQ Robot. So PIQ Robot is a sensor which costs $99, and it delivers you actionable information that will allow you to improve your punches. So the PIQ Robot counts your total punches thrown during your home workout as well as actually counting the individual punch type. So whether that be a jab, a right uppercut, a right hook, a left uppercut, and so on.

05:28 Charlie: And then you can analyze the data post workout and obviously work out what’s is your favorite combination and also acknowledge maybe that you need to mix it up more, and throw some more left hooks, for example, if you’re finding you’re not really throwing that combination very much. You’ll be able to see the data on your punch speed as well, your retraction time. And if you’re actually going up against a punching bag, so you have one at home, or in the garage or something like that, then you’ll be able to see the G-force of your punches. So, bear in mind that this data comes post-workout and it’s potentially one of the downsides of the PIQ Robot. You can’t see the data in real-time, so it is hard to know really whether the device is accurately tracking your punches, but based on the feedback I’ve seen it has been fairly positive, a lot of people have said that it has counted, it work out quite accurately.

06:14 Charlie: What is cool though, is it’s driven by AI, so you’ll be given feedback on your performance and be told how to improve. And first and foremost, you’ll be presented your strengths and they call this your winning factors. So this could be, for example, your G-force, if you hit, for example with your left hook with serious amounts of power, then it will let you know that, and after praising you for that, you can obviously share it to social media directly from the app as well. This might also be that you might get praised for the intensity of your workout, if you manage to maintain your endurance throughout the whole workout, but you’ll also be delivered areas for improvement.

06:48 Charlie: So it may say, for example, that you need to improve your retraction time after you throw your cross. And that’s by snapping your arm back more quickly, so the PIQ robot will get to know you and your style of boxing as you keep using it. And what’s cool as well is that you can hone in on the statistics on a more granular level, as well, so you can see how much, for example, the G-force of your left uppercut, has improved since a certain date and you’ll get tips on how to keep up the consistency of your punches they find you start flagging towards the end of a round for example, how can you maintain that intensity? You’ll also be presented an overall PIQ score, which is a proprietary metric of all the different stats and PIQ measures really, and it gives you a great all-around score that you know you need to improve on.

07:31 Charlie: And what’s also obviously really good is that the calories burned during the workout, are also tracked. So not only can you track the effectiveness of the workout, how hard you worked, but you really can see how much of a sweat and energy burner that boxing is. And the sort of final cool aspect of PIQ robot is that you can assess your position on the leader board. Against friends that also use PIQ robot and the community as well. And as you continue to progress with the device, see yourself rise on the leader board as you improve with each successive session.

08:01 Charlie: Next up, we’re going to look at the trackers from Hykso. And I’ll definitely say that this device would best be used by those, again, serious about boxing, improving their technique, and speed, as well as obviously using boxing as a method of increasing cardiovascular fitness or losing weight. So listen up, if you’re serious about improving your boxing ability and wanting to bring this to your next sparring session. So Hykso’s slightly more expensive than the PIQ robot. You can get a set for $399.95. And you get a charging station and USB extension cable, as well as the trackers for their set. So the Hykso punch trackers track your hand movement at a thousand times per second, taking 6000 data points per punch to give you accurate data, they then detect the number, type and velocity of all your punches. So relatively similar to the PIQ robot here.

08:54 Charlie: You can view the data through the app which when synced to the devices allows you to see your punch output in real time, and that’s one of the differences obviously to the PIQ robot that you can see the data in real-time so you know whether you’re obviously, you had the device on correctly, and each punch is being registered effectively, and you can then track your daily, weekly, and monthly progression. So the team behind the technology of Hykso worked with world-renowned athletes like that of Willie Nelson, Rashidi Ellis and Javier Fortuna. So you know that these people are passionate about getting you the best boxing technology out there and obviously making sure that they have credible people that are advocates for the brand as well.

09:35 Charlie: So how do they work? Well, you want to tie the trackers in and secure them in your hand wraps and then pair them with your smartphone. So the sensor includes accelerometers and gyroscopes to calculate the output and velocity and direction of your blows and you get further broken down stats like the number of left straights or left power hooks for example, similar again to PIQ robot as you throw them as well as the total overall punch count. You’ll also be given an intensity score, which again is a proprietary metric given by the team behind Hykso, and it’s created to measure the output exertion of the movement, so it’s a number that starts at zero, at the beginning of each round you do your workout, and every punch you throw increases the value until a round is over and then you can see that round’s intensity score and the amount that it increases by depends on lots of different factors such as punch velocity, punch type and how well you generate speed behind the punch and everything like that.

10:33 Charlie: The Hykso app allows you again, like PIQ robot to compare yourself with friends and your training partners. But what’s cool again, is it allows you to see how you stack up against elite level pros. So just a little a bit of nifty fun. I think that you can see how far off you are from professional boxers and potential that will give you more motivation to keep working harder and harder and harder. According to Hykso those using the device found that after three months, their workouts intensity on average had increased by 21%. Their punch speed again on average was 6% faster. And they use their jabs 33% times more. So, as you can tell people are getting real results and obviously with increased intensity, increased punch speed, and increased number of jabs thrown in, you can tell that each workout is gonna be getting harder, more challenging more sweaty, and you’re gonna be burning more calories. So if you’re someone that wants to keep pushing the boundaries of your physical ability, then this might be the right thing for you to invest in. But if you’re looking to choose between Hykso or PIQ robot, and it really depends what you’re looking for, the AI of PIQ is great that it tells you the actual steps to improve the different qualities of your workout, how you’re going to improve your punch speed, your G-force, for example.

11:41 Charlie: But if you want real-time data and a smaller sensor that’s potentially more comfortable you maybe get better off going for Hykso. Another option is the strike-tech sensors, which again, are very similar trackers, they’ll give you detailed analytics on your punch power, your speed, your accuracy and the accuracy is based on your hand rotation, and an algorithm will actually compare the movements of your punch to the ideal form, and they’ll also give you some stats on your punch endurance as well, so to make sure you don’t tire towards the end of a round. So like Hykso as well, you get real-time stats and post session you’ll be able to get more detailed performance history data and progression graphs, as well as your punch totals your averages and the best sessions that you’ve had previously so you can work out what was so good about that session. Why did I get my best scores in that session. Did I eat potentially a more carb dense meal beforehand? And so on. So really it’s up to you to decide which sensor would work best for you depending on what you’re looking to do.

12:40 Charlie: So, some further research required into those three sensors. Now looking at the high end of the spectrum and the first product we’re going to look at is FightCamp. So, FightCamp is a studio boxing gym allowing you to complete boxing classes from the comfort of your own home. So this is what I was sort of looking for in the apps, but they didn’t really deliver this. But if a good quality app came out, I think that’d be a great new innovation as well. But FightCamp is a really exciting new piece of technology. There’s a huge library of workouts for you to choose from led by some of the best trainers in the US, and each training session consists of three-minute rounds with a one-minute rest period. And trust me on that, that is enough to get you blowing. And what’s really interesting, actually, just sort of pivoting away from FightCamp quickly is that I recently spoke to a friend of mine and he’s just started boxing classes, and he acknowledges that he naively said he couldn’t understand why people when he went to watch a charity boxing event, would get so tired, so quickly, but that was until he tried it for himself, and he actually said it was one of the most tiring exercises he’s ever done and he used to be a cross-country runner and he’s played rugby and squash and all sorts of different sports. So again, some more credibility for how tiring boxing can be for you there.

13:54 Charlie: Right, back on to FightCamp now, I just thought I’d let you know that quick story. So with FightCamp, you’ll be shown the exercises you need to perform on the TV screen before each round and you’ll also be able to see your live punch stats during each round on the screen because they use the Hykso trackers we’ve already previously covered to actually give you this quantitative data. So to keep your intensity up and the sweat coming, you’re also encouraged each round to reach a punch count and the coaches will make sure you are striving for that punch count in each round. So you’re not going to be let off slacking throughout the whole work out to be honest. You will be shown your stats at the end of each round, so you can benchmark your previous experiences against where you are currently, and see if your fitness levels have soared and if your punch counts have gone up and if not, you know, you need to work harder as well.

14:41 Charlie: But I’m sure as you continue to do more and more sessions that all these stats will go up. If you are a complete novice, if you’re a complete newbie to boxing, there is a 10 week class for newbies to teach you the basics and obviously get you to work up a sweat as well. And for those of you that are more experienced, you may be challenged to throw in some more interesting combinations like a plank position, right jab than left jab, and all sorts of crazy combinations like that as well, which were all designed by the trainers. So a lot of fun and obviously great for no matter what experience level you are. So the FightCamp gym standard package can be yours for quite a hefty a $1095 and comes with one set of punch trackers, the free-standing punch bag, a heavy workout mat, boxing gloves, and quick wraps. But obviously that’s quite a lot of equipment you get, you get everything you need really for boxing at home within that, but you’ll also need to bag yourself a subscription to the workout database, which will cost you a further $39 a month.

15:38 Charlie: So quite a significant investment. But again, if it’s gonna replace you going to the gym or anything like that, which it could definitely do, then maybe a very well worthwhile investment. And FightCamp obviously gives you 24/7 access to all of these different classes which are updated weekly, so that’s great as well. And you’ll save that money on going to box classes. So definitely something to think about. Finally we have the BotBoxer, which is a very cool piece of tech that featured at CES 2019. I really shouldn’t cover it because it doesn’t really fit with the title of the episode whereby we’re looking at how you can do boxing workouts using tech at home, because it’s more likely suited for commercial purposes, if you’re a gym owner, for example. However, potentially for someone who’s very serious about boxing and has the room this could be something for you as well, if you’re just trying to really get in more and more training at home.

16:31 Charlie: The reason I say this is mainly due to the $24,990 price tag, but it really is a comprehensive boxing robotic simulator, so it does the job of a sparring partner and will definitely get you to improve your boxing ability. So BotBoxer can also be used for other combat sports like mixed martial arts and how it works is that there’s high speed computer vision and motion recognition which can track your punches and even pre-empt oncoming jabs or hooks you throw, and it will move away from those punches so it will really make you have to think about the combinations you throw, and obviously the speed at which you punch. And it also has sensors to read the force, velocity and direction of each of your shots, so if you’re lucky enough to land a hit on the BotBoxer then you’ll be presented blow-by-blow performance statistics to visualize your results and then use those insights to improve your boxing.

17:23 Charlie: BotBoxer can be adjusted to suit anyone’s experience level, so I know I said mainly for very serious boxers who have some proficiency in the sport. However, obviously with the price tag that’s what I feel people may be more investing in, but it can be suitable for everyone. You basically can adjust the BotBoxer’s parameters to better suit your level and that includes its motion speed, its reaction time, its constancy which is the number of mistakes the Bot makes so the more likely you’re going to hit it and the sensitivity, which frees the bot to allow you to throw more combos, and even the distance as well, so if the Bot’s moving all the way back, you can sort of retract that a little bit so you might still clip the bot as well. BotBoxer also provides you a database of drills for you to try and the drills obviously are all about trying to help you improve your technique, or learn to throw more combinations as well. And it really is fully customizable to suit however you want to train. There’s also a fight mode, which makes the BotBoxer simulator human, meaning that for example, its endurance will start to run out and obviously at that stage, in a fight, you can take advantage of that and go on the offense, and you can also set the number of rounds you want to simulate a real match and you can see how long it will take you to perform a knock-down.

18:36 Charlie: A number of people at CES 2019 raved about BotBoxer. Austin Ford, a martial arts instructor said that, “Not only is it good for improving your boxing but also for improving your fitness as well.” And he said he certainly underestimated its ability. So, look out for BotBoxer at gyms near you, or as I said, if you’re a serious boxer and wanting to get one for yourself, it could be a really cool investment. What’s cool is that I think we’ll start to see a lot of new innovations in the world of combat sport, and in particular, boxing as it becomes an ever more popular sport and people start recognizing more the challenge it presents them. I mean, a few years ago, there was an Indiegogo campaign for some smart boxing gloves or combat gloves known as iPunch, which would track through sensors in the gloves how hard you punch and then deliver this to an app on your phone and you’d also get audible instructions about which combo to throw and obviously, you had to react to that as quickly as possible and as you’ve improved the instructions get more challenging. I’m not sure what happened to iPunch, but again, something slightly different lots of similarities to Hykso and PIQ robot, for example, but obviously integrated within the glove, and some audible coaching there as well.

19:45 Charlie: So it will be really interesting to see the future tech developments to see how our boxing ability can be improved through tech and how we can continue to have killer workouts. And I think just seeing a more commercial tech as well, like the BotBoxer emerge will be really exciting and it’d be really cool if they start integrating this sort of tech into more and more gyms as well. So that’s all we have time for this week. I really hope you enjoyed and that you give boxing a try. As I said from the start, it really is a serious workout, you’ll definitely work up a sweat, and I just think everyone should give it go really. I can’t wait really to, to get back into it again and start my workouts. So don’t forget as well next week is the second part of the interview with Connor, the founder of Ample Foods, and the deep dive into nutrition and meal replacement will continue. And honestly, that’s a really interesting interview with Martin and Connor so don’t forget to check that out. And also as I’ve said, please don’t forget to head to Apple Podcasts. Take two to five seconds of your day to leave us a five star rating. It’d be really, really appreciated. Well that’s all and we’ll catch you soon.

[music]

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Lilla Laczo

Lilla is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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