How to Choose a Boxing Gym

While viewership of professional boxing has dropped in recent years, boxing fitness programs have become extremely popular. From instructional workout videos to combat training classes at the local gym, combat sports including boxing are now a common part of our fitness culture. Whether you hope to simply get in better shape, or strive to become a world champion, the first step to reaching the goal is to find a suitable gym.

One of the major factors in gym-hunting is finding an atmosphere in which you feel comfortable. You also need to come up with goals and consider the things that you hope to achieve. Doing all of this will make it easier to find an appropriate gym. After all, a gym suitable for one athlete may not be suitable for the next athlete. This guide will aid your search to find the right gym for you.


It does not take any boxing experience to understand that you need to find a gym within a close distance to your home or workplace. Finding a gym at a reasonable distance can serve as a greater asset than you may think. As your training progresses, it may become a hassle to head to a gym that is not within a close proximity. Be honest with yourself about your commitment to travel to a gym that’s not “right around the corner”

The number of legitimate boxing gyms is seemingly decreasing by the day. So if you hope to train at a pure boxing gym, you may have to travel somewhat farther. Some cities, such as Philadelphia, are known for boxing and offer a large selection of gyms from which to choose.

The alternative in this situation is to find a gym that is not completely geared toward boxing. Some of the options to look for are martial arts academies, self-defense academies, and local sports clubs. Places like these often offer boxing classes and equipment; and while they might not attract the cream of the boxing crop, these establishments will still allow you to hone your skills.


The price of gyms can vary greatly. Among many factors that go into prices are:

  • Quantity of equipment
  • Quality of equipment
  • Number of staff members able to aid athletes

Pure boxing gyms often charge lower monthly fees that do not include fees for trainers. Many trainers charge their own fees based on their experience and availability. Other gyms, like martial arts academies or self-defense academies, often charge higher fees that do include costs for instructors. With the wide range of costs, always be aware of what the costs include.

If you are new to the sport, finding a pure boxing gym should not be a necessity. Taking boxing fitness classes at the local sports club may be a good first step to discover how interested you really are in pursuing boxing at a higher level. In these types of gyms, you might pay a monthly fee that gives you access to fitness equipment, in addition to offered classes. Some gyms, however, will differ with payment plans and give you access to general equipment, but force you to pay extra for particular classes. Again, be aware of the costs and what they include.

The Basics

When entering a gym, it would behoove you to check out the quantity and quality of all the equipment that is offered. A high-quality boxing gym should have the following:

  • Heavy bags
  • Speed bags
  • Double-end bags
  • Ring
  • Timer
  • Free weights

Martial arts and self-defense academies should also provide most of these pieces of equipment. Local sports clubs will probably have a limited amount of boxing equipment. The heavy bag serves an important purpose in any level of boxing routine, so this should be a piece of equipment you look for when visiting any gym. Also take into account the number of people in the gym. This could affect the availability of the equipment.

Take note of the number of trainers that seem to be present. If you truly want to learn and improve, then you must work with a trainer; and the more trainers who are readily available, the better. Also try to gauge the skill levels of the boxers in the gym. A lot can be learned from boxers with more experience. At the same time, boxers with similar skill level to yours can become great training partners.

Different Types of Gyms

Various types of gyms exist where you can box. Some focus just on boxing, while others may only dedicate an hour a day to the sport. The three most common styles of gyms are briefly touched upon below.

Boxing Gym

If you’re searching for a pure boxing gym, your level of seriousness about the sport is likely to be high. If you really want to learn and improve, you will certainly need a trainer.

When visiting a potential gym, always ask about the ease of obtaining a trainer. Find a trainer who has experience and can offer instruction on the days on which you will be in the gym. You certainly can shadowbox and hit the bags on days when the trainer isn’t available, but hitting the mitts and receiving instruction while sparring are crucial to improving.

Next, do your best to find out if there are other members of the gym at your skill level. Finding these folks is important for training and sparring. Having a mate to push you and work with you enables friendly competition and camaraderie.

Finally, find out if there are professional boxers who frequent the gym. In most instances, professionals have priority to equipment when they have upcoming fights. On the flip side, pro fighters can be useful to watch in the gym, as they exhibit elite skill and knowledge of the sport. So if pro boxers do train at your gym, be prepared to wait to use certain pieces of equipment, but definitely watch them as they train for fights.

Martial Arts/Self-Defense Academies

There are some gyms that specialize in self-defense, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts. Many of these types of gyms offer structured instruction that can actually aid the recreational boxer. However, be sure that the gym offers boxing class, since techniques for boxing can be quite different from those for other types of fighting. When receiving advice from trainers at combat sport academies, make sure that the instructions are boxing-specific. Many Muay Thai and mixed martial arts instructors are well-rounded but lack the detailed instruction for an advanced boxer. If you would like to try various combat sports, then make sure the gym offers classes in an assortment of activities.

Sports Clubs

 If you simply want to lose some weight and get in shape, then places like these will be perfect for you. Most basic sports clubs offer boxing fitness classes. These can be helpful for beginning boxers who need to figure out if they will even enjoy the sport.

Equipment can be scarce in such studios, since boxing and fighting are not the primary activities. If you plan to hit the bag outside of class, talk to a member of the staff to ensure that this is a possibility. Boxing at these types of gyms gives you the opportunity to supplement boxing workouts with the use of a wide selection of other workout equipment.

Hot Tip: Technical Approach

If you are looking to compete in amateur or professional boxing then the regular sports club will not provide you with enough technical training. Boxing fitness classes often focus on boxing as a workout, not as a sport. Training here does not focus much attention on the proper form or technique. Be careful not to develop bad habits if you box at one of these clubs. Refer to other Boxing Guides to gain technical support!

Try it Out

Be sure to remember that you will be spending a fair amount of time at the gym, so you really want to find a place that fits your needs. Do not feel pressured to make a quick decision. Take your time and take advantage of trial periods offered by various gyms. A day pass or week pass enables you not only to see the gym, but to experience the gym as if you were a member.

Prioritize the services, equipment, and amenities you want. Read the fine print before signing any contract, as some fees are stated in fine print. Initiation fees, fitness class fees, and cancellation fees all apply to many gym contracts. Finally, be honest with yourself. You want to be comfortable when you work out, so try to find a place where you can feel confident while learning as much as possible!

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