Boxing is one of the most intense sports on the planet! While a game of basketball or soccer lasts longer than a boxing match, no other sports require such intense sustention of effort. For a solid 3 minutes, boxers trade full-power punches, duck, dodge, and move around. Even with the short 60-second break between rounds, it takes seriously impressive physical condition to keep up the pace for a full 10 or 12-round match!
If you want to get in boxing shape, you've got your work cut out for you! You're going to have to work hard on your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance if you want to make it through even one round without collapsing. Thankfully, it's easy to do a beautifully effective boxing workout at home!
The Complete Boxing Workout
Your boxing workout is divided into three portions:
- 1. Warm-up -- You have to get your body ready for the uber-intense training session it's about to be put through. Spending at least 5-10 minutes warming up is vital for your training. Not only will it prevent sore muscles, but it will reduce your risk of injury.
- 2. Resistance Training -- This part of the workout hits the muscles you use for boxing--ALL of them! You'll focus not just on strength training, but endurance training as well. You hit both cardiovascular and muscular endurance at the same time, leading to better overall results.
- 3. Boxing Training -- This part of the workout focuses on the punches you'll throw in the ring, as well as the movements that will help you avoid being punched. This is the boxing-specific part of the workout and a VERY important element to include.
Good luck, and happy training!
To begin, you HAVE to warm up. This means limbering up all of the muscles in your body, as well as doing a bit of light exercise to get your blood pumping.
Start with simple stretches like:
- Forward Bends -- This works your back and hamstrings.
- Side Bends -- This loosens up your sides and hips.
- Arm Circles -- This helps to limber up your shoulders.
Make sure to focus on your arms and shoulders, but work your chest, back, core, and legs as well. You're going to be moving around a lot, throwing a lot of punches, so you'll need to get every muscle in your body limber, loose, and warm.
Once you get through the basic stretches, grab a jump rope and perform 100-200 jumps. Nothing fancy, just some simple cardio to get the heart pumping more blood. Keep the pace slow and steady, but jump until your breathing speeds up a bit. A few more dynamic stretches and you're ready to work!
The resistance training portion of the workout is the most difficult! You're going to push your body to its limits, building both strength and endurance. You'll be sweating like a bad-ass and gasping for breath, but if you can get through the workout, you'll be in amazing boxing shape.
Here's what you'll do:
Burpees -- Burpees are AMAZING for building not just muscular strength, but for pushing your cardiovascular system to the limits of its endurance. The fact that you're jumping, squatting, and pushing up puts your body through its paces, as every part of your body, is demanding energy as you work. This is one of the best exercises to help you get in the best shape of your life!
Mountain Climbers -- Mountain Climbers may seem easy, but after a few dozen, you'll feel the burn in your arms, shoulders, chest, and core. They're an amazing core movement that will help to develop serious upper body strength as they shred your abs, obliques, and lower back. This is another excellent exercise to help activate your cardiovascular system as you train for strength.
Russian Twist -- A lot of the punches you throw are going to be ACROSS your body (right to left, left to right), so you'll need that twisting power to be able to hit your opponent hard. Russian Twists hit your abs hard, but they engage your obliques (side muscles) as well. You'll get solid twisting power, adding more force to your cross-body blows.
Chin Ups -- Chin-Ups are one of the best exercises not just to work your upper back and shoulders, but also give your biceps a bit of focus. Strong arms are vital for powerful punches, and Chin-Ups help to target your arms.
Note: Don't worry if you can't do a lot of Chin-Ups right off the bat. You can place a chair or bench beneath your feet to support your weight with your legs as you pull up. Use your arms to support as much weight as possible, but let your legs assist you (Assisted Chin-Ups) to complete the reps.
Squats -- When it comes to lower body training, NOTHING beats squats! They're a bit easier on your knees than Lunges, and they help to focus primarily on your quads while giving your glutes a nice workout. You can perform bodyweight lunges or carry the punching bag on your back to add weight. All that matters is that you're performing that simple up-and-down movement that hits your legs hard.
Shoulder Presses -- This is one of the only exercises that you will need some sort of weight. If you have heavy cans, boxes, or a big water bottle (the 20-liter kind), they make excellent at-home workout equipment. Or, you can simply lift your punching bag over your head. This is a killer movement for stronger shoulders, which is important for boxers. After all, a lot of the power of your punches comes from your shoulder muscles!
Bicycle Crunches -- Bicycle Crunches are similar to Russian Twists, but with the added bonus of recruiting the muscles in your hips as well as your abs and obliques. This is a great exercise to strengthen the top part of your leg muscles where they connect to your pelvis, giving you that rapid hip is twisting power that throws more power and weight into your punches. It's also a much harder form of the classic "crunches", making it one heck of a workout!
Jump Rope -- Jumping rope is something everyone can do, and it's an amazing way to build lower body endurance while getting in a bit of cardio. To get in a killer jump rope workout, try this pattern:
- 50 normal jumps
- 50 Jumping Jack jumps
- 25 High Knee jumps
- 5 Double Jumps
- 20 Switch-Foot Jumps
- 10 Right Leg Jumps
- 10 Left Leg Jumps
- 10 Right Leg Jumps
- 10 Left Leg Jumps
- 10 Double Jumps
Alternate between the different movements as desired, but strive to hit all of the jumps mentioned above. If you can complete this routine in one go, you'll be in AMAZING shape!
Here is how you will perform the workout using the exercises above:
- Circuit #1 -- 1 set of Burpees, 1 set of Chin-Ups, 1 set of Bicycle Crunches
- Circuit #2 -- 1 set of Mountain Climbers, 1 set of Squats, 1 set of Russian Twists
- Circuit #3 -- 1 set of Shoulder Presses, 1 set of Bicycle Crunches, 200-300 jumps with the Jump Rope
Complete each circuit without pausing between exercises, but give yourself 60 seconds of rest between circuits. Try to complete all three circuits at least twice, 3-4 times each is better.
By the end of this workout, you'll feel the burn in every muscle in your body, and you'll be ready to move on to the boxing portion of the training.
This part of the workout focuses on the boxing-specific movements--ergo, the punches and defensive techniques that will make you an effective boxer. Let's break it down:
- Jab -- This is the basic punch, one that serves as both defense (keeping your opponent at bay) and offensive (distracting him to set up a more powerful punch). This is thrown by your non-dominant hand. You want your jabs to be quick and clean, but with enough power to make your opponent pay attention. Here's how to throw a proper Jab:
- Cross -- The Cross is the power-packed punch that can take your opponent down, or at least will make him/her think twice about closing with you again. This is thrown by your dominant hand, the one with the most power and speed. Here's how to throw a proper Cross:
- Hook -- This is a high blow, one intended to hit the jaw (or, in the case of a body blow, the ribs or kidneys) and knock the opponent out. It can be thrown with either hand, and it tends to have a lot of power. Here's how to throw a proper Hook:
- Uppercut -- This blow comes from your waist and strikes your opponent directly beneath the chin (low to high). It carries all the force of your back, legs, shoulder, arms, and core, making it one of the most powerful blows. It can be thrown with either hand. Here's how to throw a proper Uppercut:
These are the basic punches, and most of your combat will involve some combination of these four.
The Defensive Techniques
- Duck -- Ducking beneath blows brings you inside your opponent's guard, and in the perfect position for a body blow or uppercut. However, it requires strong legs and core, and if you don't move fast enough, your opponent can clip the top of your head. Here's how to Duck properly:
- Slip -- This involves a simple sideways movement of your head and torso to slip out of the path of an opponent's blow. Minimal effort is required, but there's a much higher chance of your being hit. Here's how to Slip properly:
- Lean Back -- Sometimes, all you need to do to lean back, and your opponent's blow will fall short. You need strong core muscles (abs and back) to lean back quickly enough to avoid the blow, but it's a great way to dodge a blow from an opponent a full arm's length away.
- Retreat -- Moving backward opens the distance between you and your opponent, and may force them to advance. When they're moving, you have a moment when they're occupied with moving their feet, and a chance to throw a punch at their head or midsection. A simple backward shuffle is a proper way to retreat.
- Circle -- If you only step backward, you'll end up being cornered or on the ropes. When you retreat, it's best to circle--either to the right or left. It takes a lot of practice to get accustomed to circling rather than simply stepping backward, so you need to invest time in the movement. Here's how to Circle properly:
- Cover -- You need to practice not just keeping your guard up when throwing punches, but covering your head, ribs, and stomach when an opponent closes the distance. Here's a good lesson on how to Cover yourself:
Now that you know the basics of boxing, you have to practice each movement individually AND together.
Here's your workout:
- 30 Jabs
- 30 Crosses
- 15 Hooks per Hand
- 15 Uppercuts per hand
- 20 Ducks
- 20 Slips
- 20 Jabs with a Lean Back
All the time you're throwing punches, you need to be circling and covering.
After you've mastered these punches, start throwing combinations, such as:
- Jab, Jab, Cross, Right Hook
- Jab, Cross, Left Hook, Right Uppercut
- Double Jab, Left Uppercut, Right Hook, Cross
Alternate hands with each punch, or use the same hand to punch twice in quick succession. It's all about mixing things up and keeping your opponent guessing.
Boxing is a proven effective way to keep yourself fit and boost your health. Try doing these boxing workouts at home and start on a great journey to weight loss, fitness and great health.