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Train Like a Boxer: 10 Exercises to Get You in Fighting Shape

I’ve always loved the sport of boxing.

When I was younger, I punched a few holes in the wall (sorry, mom and dad), and pretty soon afterwards my parents bought me a punching bag (which is all I always wanted anyway, guess I should have brought that up sooner).

I had no idea what I was doing then when I tried to punch the damn thing—all I knew was that boxers were always in incredible shape and really badass, and I wanted to be just like them.

Fast forward a few years later, I got my personal training certification and got a job at a gym in New York City solely based on the fact that it had a boxing ring and an awesome, incredibly badass trainer. I started taking lessons right away, and quickly learned all my hooks, jabs, and undercuts. I fell even deeper in love with the sport.

There’s something so satisfying, so primal in a way, of punching something (or someone) as hard as humanly possible.

And there’s no doubt about it—being in the ring is exhausting. You have to be able to outlast your opponent until the bitter end, so there’s no option but to be as fit as possible. Heck, even just a few rounds on a punching bag will leave you sweaty and breathless.

But whether or not you have any desire to punch anything, it’s hard to avoid the reality that boxers are in some of the best shape of any athletes. Never bulky, boxers tend to have a lean, athletic look based on being incredibly strong, well-conditioned, and full of passion and fire.

Because when you train like a fighter, you’ll build the strength, crazy endurance, and core power so that if you wanted to punch someone round after round, you could.

Here are 10 exercises you can do to get in fighting shape:

Jump rope

Jumping rope is one of the classic boxing exercises, because it helps build a lean, strong body, aids in coordination, agility, and footwork, and boosts endurance like nearly no other exercise does. Plus, since jump ropes are so portable, you can literally do it anywhere.

Here are some jump rope variations you can try:

  • Single jumps
  • High knees
  • Double jumps
  • Figure eights

Burpees

Burpees are pretty much the best exercise ever, and will increase your strength and endurance like no other exercise will. Plus, all that getting up and down is helpful in the ring (if you ever get knocked down, that is).

How to do it:

  1. Get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Kick your feet back into a push up position and lower body to the floor.
  3. Return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
  4. Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.
  5. Add a little clap for pizazz!

Sit ups

Boxers need a strong core to give them the strength to keep throwing punches, and sit ups are one of the classic exercises to build up core strength in the ring.

How to do it:

  1. Lay on the floor with your legs spread in a butterfly setup.
  2. Stretch your arms in front of you.
  3. Use your abs to pull yourself off of the floor.
  4. Touch your feet with your hands, making sure to keep your chest forward.
  5. Lower back down and repeat.

Tip: Try different variations of the sit up, such as throwing punches at the top of a sit up to build even more core strength and endurance.

Shadow boxing

It may seem wimpy if you’ve never tried it, but shadow boxing is one of the best ways to practice your movement and footwork as a boxer. Plus, it’s more tiring that you might imagine.

Push ups

Push ups are awesome and will also give you strong arms, shoulders, chest and core muscles. Plus, they require no equipment whatsoever, so you have no excuse not to do them!

How to do it:

  1. Start in a push up position, with your shoulders directly over your hands.
  2. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs.
  3. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat.

Beginner Modification:

  1. Start in a push up position with your knees on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs.
  3. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat.

Chin ups/pull ups

Not only are chin ups and pull ups totally badass, they’ll build up your arm, chest, back, shoulder and core strength like no other. Can’t do a single one yet? Learn how to start doing chin ups and pull ups.

How to do it:

  1. Start from a dead hang with straight elbows, palms facing you for chin ups, palms facing away for pull ups
  2. Keeping your chest up and your shoulders back, squeeze your glutes and cross your feet
  3. Pull yourself up so that your chin rests over the bar
  4. Lower down and repeat.

Squats

Squats will strengthen your legs and glutes so you can bob, weave, and slip (typical boxing defenses) all day long. A strong lower body is just as—or maybe more—important than a strong upper body during a fight.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs.
  3. Push your butt & hips back as if you were sitting in a chair.
  4. Keep your weight on your heels.
  5. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, raising your arms up as you lower down.
  6. Repeat.

Tip: for an extra challenge, try Sandbag squats or Kettlebell front squats. Or, if you have access to a barbell and weights, feel free to use that too.

Shoulder presses

Fighters need strong shoulders if they want to be able to keep punching round after round. And shoulder presses will help build up shoulder strength and endurance.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight (preferred to sitting) holding a sandbag, dumbbells, or a barbell at your waist.
  2. Raise the sandbag (or other weights) up to your shoulders, keeping your shoulders pulled back and your abs tight.
  3. Straighten your arms at a moderate pace.
  4. Lower back down to your shoulders and repeat.

Walking lunges

Not only will walking lunges build strength in your legs, glutes and core muscles, they’ll also help with balance and flexibility—key requirements for any fighter.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a lunge position with your knees touching or almost touching the floor.
  2. Without pausing, alternate legs, bringing your opposite leg forward into a lunge position.
  3. Continue alternating legs while moving forward.
  4. For an added challenge, hold something heavy.

Knees to elbows

Though sit ups are awesome because you can do them anywhere with no equipment, knees to elbows will give you an even stronger core. And they’ll help you build up to even cooler abs exercises, such as toes to knees, windshield wipers.

How to do it:

  1. Grip the pull up bar with your palms facing away from you, arms shoulder-width apart.
  2. Adding a slight swing, bring your knees up to your chest, touching your elbows if possible.
  3. Lower down and repeat.

AUTHOR: KRISTA @ 12 MINUTE ATHLETE

The Best Ways To Prepare Before I Go To A Boxing Gym

Boxing is a tough, rigorous and physically demanding sport. Like any other sport, you wouldn't simply step into the ring and expect to compete. The training program alone at serious boxing gyms requires you to possess a certain level fitness, with proficiency in several key areas. Before you go to a boxing gym, prepare yourself by developing endurance, agility, strength and quickness. These attributes will allow you to focus on the basics of boxing during your first session rather than playing fitness catch-up.

Might as Well Jump

One of the most important physical attributes that you need to develop before training at a boxing gym is agility and coordination, especially combining the motions of your upper body with those of your lower body. Jumping rope is one of the exercises that boxers use to achieve that coordination. When you go to a boxing gym, you'll jump rope frequently and at a high rate of speed. Practice with a jump rope every day to get familiar with the exercise. Work your way up to three minutes of continuous jumping. Do six three-minute sessions, resting no more than one minute between sessions.

Go the Distance

To build endurance, boxers do “road work” - long distance running. You can increase your mileage gradually and at the same time periodically elevate your heart rate by performing basic intervals. Begin by jogging at a comfortable pace for two minutes, then sprint for 40 seconds. Jog for another two minutes, then sprint for another 40 seconds. Continue this pattern for 20 minutes if possible. If you cannot do 20 minutes of intervals, scale back to 10 minutes. If 20 minutes is too easy, extend the total time. Do these intervals three to four times each week. To avoid injury, increase your total mileage by no more than 10 percent per week.

Stay Strong

To develop power, you must develop strength. Many boxers take a balanced approach to strength training, blending body weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups - performed at high intensity - with weightlifting exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses and lat pull-downs. Begin a strength-training program several weeks before you head to a boxing gym. Train three days per week, using a full-body routine - working out all of your major muscle groups in each session. Space your lifting workouts so there is at least one rest day in between sessions.

Sleight of Hand

Shadowboxing is one of the simplest ways to develop familiarity with the basic mechanics of punching with speed. Position a lamp behind you, shut off all other lights in the room and let the lamp cast your shadow on the wall in front of you. Practice punching against your shadow, keeping your punches tight and efficient. Practice pushing off the ground with your feet as you throw your punches, transferring that power from your lower body up through your back, shoulders, arms and fists, as fast as you can. Do this twice a day every day. Over a few weeks, you should develop increased hand speed that will help you transition to work with the speed bag and heavy bag at the boxing gym.

AUTHOR: BOBBY @ LIVESTRONG

Boxing Workouts With Lifting

Boxing demands a high level of cardiovascular capacity, but excelling also requires strength. While strategy, footwork and overall fitness are important for boxing, you often will need to be able to overpower your opponents. Incorporating weightlifting into your workouts to prepare for boxing matches can be quite effective. Boxing workouts differ significantly from workouts for bodybuilding and other activities, so you may have to try new techniques and exercises. Always exercise with proper supervision.

Legs

All of your power for punching begins with your legs. The muscles of your legs help you push off of the ground and provide force, so you should prioritize exercises for your legs. Weightlifting exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and leg presses can help you build strength in your legs to help you move quickly around the ring and apply more force to your punches. As a boxer, you may also wish to do jump squats and jumping rope to improve foot speed and agility.

Core

Your core - namely, your abdominal muscles, back muscles and hip flexors - play several roles in boxing. Your core muscles help to transfer power from your lower body to your upper body, promoting stronger punches. Additionally, strong abdominal muscles will help cushion your midsection against punches and help promote balance and stability, both of which are important for boxing. You can work your core muscles with exercises such as weighted crunches, bridges, lying leg lifts and planks. Although many traditional workout plans don't include weighted abdominal exercises, these are important to build maximal strength for boxing.

Arms

Your arm strength influences punching power. Working your biceps and triceps will help you tone your arms and deliver more force when you strike. Perform barbell and dumbbell curls, triceps pushdowns and the military press. To meet the needs of boxing, include plyometric exercises, which consist of explosive movements. These type of exercises mimic the explosive power you need for boxing. Plyometric exercises such as explosive pushups and overhead medicine ball throws can help strengthen your arms.

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Chest and Shoulders

Your chest muscles help coordinate and connect the motion of your shoulders and back muscles. A strong chest will allow you to get the most power into your punches. Your shoulders help rotate your arms and offer force for punches. Performing exercises such as dumbbell flys, bench presses and pushups will help strengthen your chest muscles. Military presses and shrugs will help work your shoulders. While many of these exercises are used in a wide range of training plans, you can make your workout routine more specific to boxing by including drop sets - where you perform a set of an exercise normally, then reduce the weight by 20 percent and perform another set without taking a break. This demanding setup will prepare you to give your all for the entire duration of a round when boxing.

Back

Your back muscles assist your core in coordinating power across your entire body. Your back muscles are important for punch recovery, as they draw your arm back after you extend it to deliver a blow to your opponent. Stronger back muscles will allow you to pull your arms back more quickly to deliver more punches in less time. You can perform exercises such as dumbbell rows, deadlifts and cable rows to assist your boxing performance. The rowing motion directly translates to the motion you perform during punch recovery.

Repetition Ranges

For boxing, you'll want to not only increase your strength but also your endurance. You can focus on those traits by choosing particular repetition ranges for your exercises. Performing sets of 12 to 16 repetitions will help promote muscular endurance, while sets of four to eight repetitions will help you build strength.

AUTHOR: BRIAN @ WOMAN.THENEST.COM