For years, boxing rings were seen as a male dominated territory, but women have long been its unsung heroes. Sport.ONE states that although women’s boxing has been around since the 18th century, it wasn’t until 1988 that women’s boxing started to become a legitimate sport. To this day, the sport is rife with misconceptions. Some women may be wary of trying it out due to a fear of becoming overly muscular, while others avoid it because they don’t want to go head-to-head with another person. In reality, boxing is actually a very suitable workout for women. Not only does it provide an intense burst of cardio, but it conditions your entire body while strengthening your cardiovascular and endurance systems, as we previously talked about on Beyond Boxing.

In line with this, many female athletes are putting women on the boxing map. One of them is Nicola Adams, who Coral reports was the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012. On top of this, the “Smiling Assassin” continued to rewrite history, becoming the only British boxer since 1924 to retain an Olympic gold. After her first Olympic victory there was a “50% increase in women taking part in boxing”. Along with other legends like Lucia Rijker and Cecilia Braekhus, more female athletes are showing that women can wear boxing gloves, too.

Are you looking for a fun and satisfying way to get in shape? Here are the body benefits you get from this incredible workout.

Intensity trains you to last longer

Unlike low-impact exercises like swimming or aerobics, boxing’s high intensity nature builds up your body’s tolerance to anaerobic exercises. Fitness writer Maria Bell explains how this is because of the increased maximum amount of oxygen used up during the exercises, which results in improved endurance, and a fitter you. On top of that, high intensity exercises are known to increase muscle mass, speed up metabolism, and extend your threshold for fatigue.

Punching and jabbing creates leaner arms

With all the arm work that goes into boxing, it isn’t surprising that boxers have the leanest arms. They’re usually the first to get tired in training since you tend to put in the most work using your arms. Harper’s Bazaar claims many personalities and celebrities, like Pippa Middleton and Gigi Hadid, all have boxing to thank for their toned arms, which look terrific with their sleeveless ensembles.

Upper body movements sculpt your torso

Most of the time, women think that abs and flat tummies can only be achieved through crunches and sit-ups. But you can do so much more than that to tone up your torso, and that’s where boxing comes in. Not only does it help you trim inches off your waist, but it gives great stability too. Healthline emphasizes that sparring and jabbing is key here, since it engages both sets of ab muscles.

Leg work and proper form tones your legs

Think your legs aren’t putting in the work when boxing? Its not all bout the upper body here. Because you’re constantly moving your legs, they continue to work to stabilize your entire body. With that, you’ll have more defined glutes and thighs.

Written by: Andrea Conner