App of the week: boxing trainer
Boxing seems a perfect option for this time of year when you're looking for something interesting to do in the gym, or at home if you're happy enough to shadow box. If in doubt about your ability, heed app author Michael the Boxer, who says: "It's boxing, not brain surgery."
The app opens to a directory of short videos demonstrating a series of punches: jabs, hooks, uppercuts and combinations. Each punch or combination is numbered and you'll need to pay attention to this because in the workout section, number combinations are called out to you while you do the drill.
Michael the Boxer is the star of the show and in the videos, which are about 11/2 minutes each, he talks you through the moves, providing useful metaphors to help you remember what to do and how to do it. When doing the straight right, for example, remember that when your punch lands, your thumb should be in the seven o'clock position. Your foot moves "as if grinding a cigarette into the floor".
Once you have memorised a few of the punches, challenge yourself with the workout. Select your preferred number of rounds, the length of a round, rest period and intensity - use your iTunes if you work out better to music. The default setting is three one-minute rounds, with a 30 second rest between rounds.
Round one starts with the bell, and Michael starts calling the numbers: "One, two; one, one, two, three; one, five, three." You try and keep up.
They say boxing is one of the best exercises, as it conditions the whole body and improves agility. It may not be brain surgery but a bonus benefit is certainly the memory reflex test as you recall which number belongs to which punch - without too much of a delay.