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FITNESS | REVIEW

Book adds a workout punch

September 18, 2006|Jeannine Stein

Boxing is one of the most demanding workouts around, engaging the upper and lower body and taxing the cardiovascular system like nobody's business. And although those aerobics-boxing hybrids aren't bad fitness programs, nothing beats the real deal. In "The Gleason's Gym Total Body Boxing Workout for Women" (Fireside, 2006) women as well as men can learn some basics about proper form, punching, defense, and bobbing and weaving.

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-- Jeannine Stein

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"The Gleason's Gym Total Body Boxing Workout for Women": If a boxing gym and private coach aren't in the picture, a taste of the boxing life can be had from this book. Gleason's Gym is something of a New York institution and is where Hilary Swank trained for her role in "Million Dollar Baby" (she also wrote the book's foreword). Gym owner Bruce Silverglade and top trainer Hector Roca teamed up for this guide, which begins with the mental side of the sport -- controlling fear, making a commitment, having more confidence. Then -- pow! -- it's off and running with moves such as a straight right to the body, a right overhand and a left hook. Although all are shown with a single black-and-white illustration, descriptions are detailed and include key tips to remember as well as things to avoid, such as keeping feet planted during a right hook (feet must pivot to prevent knee injuries).

A chapter titled "Training Basics" includes exercises such as push-ups, jump squats and walking lunges. Workouts are progressively difficult and can improve cardio as well as upper and lower body strength.

Although the book may simply get people started, there's no telling how far they could go, Silverglade says. "Maybe at their gym they'll hit a heavy bag, get a little better, then end up in a fight gym."

The workout is addictive, he adds, because of the combination one-two punch of physical and mental challenges. "You have self-confidence and you're looking and feeling better," says Silverglade. "And when you go into a ring, you have such total concentration and focus, the same focus that you can use in the workplace."

Price: $24, available at bookstores.

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jeannine.stein@latimes.com

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