A good boxing workout can build strength, increase endurance and make you faster and more agile.
Boxing workouts can blast up to 600 calories an hour while sculpting your arms, shoulders, core, and legs. Not only that, mastering the punch sequences requires extreme focus; boxing is an excellent way to train your mind and body at once. But what boxing training exercises can you include to power up your workout?
Let’s begin with the warm-up.
Kick-start your training with some jump-rope
Jumping rope is the traditional boxer’s warm-up. Not only does skipping burn body fat, it’s also great for cardio fitness and it builds on many boxing skills. For example, jumping rope helps to improve your coordination, boost agility and endurance, and improve the quality of your footwork.
Start your session by skipping for 3 minutes to get the blood pumping and the heart rate going, getting you ready for your workout. Alternate between different types of skipping to mix things up including jog jumps (alternate your feet in a jogging movement as you jump the rope), hop jumps (hop on one leg for a few jumps in a row and then change legs), and jumping jacks (land with your legs together, then land with your legs apart and keep alternating).
Once you’ve been skipping for a few minutes, you’ll be feeling powered up and ready to throw some punches. Let’s move on to the rest of the boxing training exercises.
The mystical art of shadow boxing
Before you even think about getting stuck into a punch bag, you need to have a go at sparring with your own shadow. Shadow boxing is performed as an additional warm-up before using the heavy bag because it really allows you to hone in on your coordination, footwork and punch technique.
Imagine your reflection is actually your opponent and start throwing some punches. Focus on your stance, the way you are moving and punching and also do some rotation exercises.
Your shadow boxing session will get you really focused and in the right zone for the rest of training session.
Usually boxing training exercises, whether using a heavy bag or speed bag or another form of cardio training, should be based around 3 or 4 minute chunks. A few minutes of high intensity movement followed by 1 minute rest and then repeat.
Say hello to the heavy bag
Training with a heavy bag is the best kind of sparring practise to do when you’re not sparring with a partner. This makes it great for beginners who are perfecting their techniques, and also an important part of any boxing training session.
For the ultimate heavy bag workout, combine different punch practise such as jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts. You can also think of your heavy bag drill in terms of rounds. For instance, during rounds 1 & 2 you can focus on slick movement and techniques, in rounds 2 & 3 focus more on speed and less on technique, and rounds 4 & 5 on endurance, focusing on your balance and throwing as many quick punches as possible.
By now you might be feeling pretty exhausted, but this is where the mental as well as physical stamina plays a part.
Show the speed bag what you’ve got
Time to draw the power from deep within and get going on the speed bag workout. This part of your training session will sharpen your coordination and massively increase your punching speed.
Training with the speed bag can be tricky at first, but keep practising and you’ll pick up the rhythm. Aim to get a steady rhythm going for at least two minutes and once you’ve achieved that, you can split your speed bag training up into three five minute rounds.
This brings us to the end of the core part of the workout, but there are other elements to boxing training exercises that should be incorporated into your weekly training schedule.
Showcase your progress with a sparring session
You might not dive into a sparring session as a complete beginner, but once you’ve got a bit of training under your belt, sparring should become an integral part of your training. It will allow you to see how much progress you have made and will put the skills you’ve learnt in other boxing training exercises into practice.
Sparring with a partner can work in a similar way to your heavy bag and speed bag training. Divide the sparring session up into 3-5 rounds, some focused on technique, some focused on speed and so on. Throw in some jabs, hooks and uppercuts and develop your blocking skills too.
Grab some weights and get into beast mode
Whilst all boxing training exercises do help to increase your strength, they are more focused on speed, agility and endurance. In order to build your physique and increase muscle size, you’ll want to add a bit of weight training to your weekly training routine.
However, whilst core strength is very important for a boxer, you don’t want to become too bulky as this could be detrimental to your movement and stamina. It’s best to agree a target weight with your trainer and then maintain the same weight as you progress with your training.
Boxers should mainly focus on compound movements such as squats and deadlifts to give the entire body a workout. Some example exercises you could use in the weights section of your training programme could be barbell deadlifts, barbell squats, dumbbells shoulder presses, pull-ups and crunches.
It’s hard work, but you’ll be fighting strong in no time.
Get ready to run rings around your opponent
Running is a simple exercise but is still the best way to improve your stamina. If you can make time for a quick run in the morning, this is one of the best times to do it.
You can burn more calories before breakfast and it focuses your body and mind for the day ahead. Running regularly gives your fitness levels an overall boost.
Middle distance running is great for building up your stamina whilst shorter sprints are great for practising short bursts of explosive power. Both are great boxing training exercises.
Fire up your fight flexibility
Boxing training exercises put a lot of strain on the body. To prevent getting injured and to keep your muscles supple and flexible, regular stretches are a must. Every time you do a workout, you should include some stretching exercises.
Stretch out all of the muscles and you’ll feel less aches and pains the following day. Start with a standing toe touch, where you lean forward and touch your toes, feeling the stretch in your legs. Move on to the seated butterfly stretch to stretch out your inner thighs. Simply sit with your feet together and your knees facing outwards, grasp your feet and lean forward, keeping your back straight.
Next, the one leg over stretch will help to reduce any lower back pain. To perform this stretch, lie flat on the floor and cross one leg over the other. Then slowly lift the other leg off the floor and pull it toward you, allowing it to put a bit of pressure on your bent knee. All stretches should be held for a couple of minutes.
Finally move onto the circular stretches. Do neck circles, shoulder circles, arm circles, elbow circles and wrist circles, followed by knee circles and ankle circles.
Boxing is an inclusive sport
If someone has any kind of health condition, they must seek advice from a healthcare professional before undertaking any kind of boxing training regime.
Boxing is an inclusive sport though, which is popular with people with disabilities and wheelchair users as it’s a great way to keep fit. Adaptive boxing allows wheelchair users to enjoy the sport and train at their own pace.
The boxing community is a supportive one, and although it may seem like a solo sport in the first instance, joining a boxing gym will show you how friendly, supportive and inclusive the sport is.
Grab the right equipment for your training routine
The right boxing gear can play a huge role in the success of your workout because it helps to protect your bones, teeth, muscles etc. and prevent injuries, particularly during sparring practice.
The first thing you need for your boxing training exercises is some handwraps to protect the bones in your hands, as well as the right boxing gloves to protect your hands and wrists. You will also need a mouthpiece to protect your teeth, plus the right head gear to prevent concussion and a foul protector to protect your groin area.
It’s important to speak to your boxing trainer or gym instructor about developing a personalised training regime. That way, your workout will be tailored to your physique, ability and training needs, therefore preventing injuries as well as stopping you from being bored!
If you’re training for the boxing ring, your training routine should switch from an 8 to 12 day period as you build up to a fight, followed by a period of rest and then starting all over again.
If you’re not training to be a fighter, lifestyle boxing should still work in a similar way. Instead of building up to a fight, build up to a different regular challenge instead. This could be hiking up a hill or mountain, distance swimming or a controlled, technical sparring session.
Boxing can be a dangerous sport so don’t spar with someone unless you have expert supervision and guidance. Boxing training is fun, fast and exhilarating and is quickly becoming the lifestyle choice for training, replacing traditional gym workouts.
Now that you’re ready to train like a fighter, you probably want to know how to eat like a fighter too! Read ur top tips in our nutrition article.