To keep delivering punishing blows round after round, boxers need an elite level of conditioning. If you want to get in shape fast, consider these classic exercises that boxers have relied on throughout the years.
All you need for these boxing drills is a stopwatch. Set the timer for two-minute intervals with a 30-second rest. During your rest periods, you’ll relax your whole body, shake out your arms and shoulders, stretch your calves and grab a quick drink of water. Complete these six drills in succession for a single workout or incorporate them into a bigger conditioning routine.
Skipping rope builds cardiovascular strength as well as the coordination, timing and rhythm needed in boxing. It also works nearly every muscle in the body.
- Keep your upper body relaxed while jumping a quarter-inch off the ground.
- Let the rope touch the ground just in front of the tips of your toes.
- Maintain a slight bend in your knees.
- Let your wrists do the work and keep your forearms horizontal to the floor.
- Keep your elbows close to your sides.
- If you trip up, get right back into your rhythm.
Torso Twist With Medicine Ball
The Standing Side-Twist With Medicine Ball strengthens the core muscles while twisting your body to make punches more effective.
- Depending on your fitness level, use a 5- to 15-pound medicine ball; hold the medicine ball with both hands directly in front of you, keeping your arms straight.
- Stand with your back against a wall, legs slightly bent. Twist at the waist to the left, tapping the ball on the wall, then twist to the right. When you twist to the right, pivot your left foot and vice versa. Continue for two minutes.
This drill will improve cardiovascular endurance, strengthen lower abs and help develop the coordination needed to match hands with feet in boxing.
- Standing on the floor, bring one knee up to your waist, then the other, attempting to reach chest-high. At the same time, move steadily around the floor in a circle, forward and backward or simply in place, depending on your space.
- Hold your hands in “hands-up” position until 30 seconds before your rest period, then “punch up,” throwing punches directly above your head and bringing your knees up at a much faster pace until the rest period.
Jump Squats effectively strengthen the legs and core for defensive boxing moves such as the bob-and-weave. This is an excellent anaerobic exercise that works your cardiovascular system and strengthens your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and even abs and back. If you get too tired before the two-minute timer goes off, continue with regular squats until your rest period. (Check out these Jump Squat variations.)
- Stand with your feet facing forward and shoulder-width apart.
- Drop into a squat position and immediately push back up into a jump. Try to jump at least one foot off the ground.
- As you return to the ground, immediately drop back into the squat position, making sure your knees don’t go past your toes, then repeat the sequence.
- You may swing your arms to give your body momentum.
Mini Boxer Push-Ups strengthen triceps, deltoids and back, all of which are used to “turn over” your punches in boxing.
- Lie face-down on the floor and place your hands palm-down next to your shoulders.
- Keep your elbows in and arms touching the sides of your body.
- Push your entire body up, then lower. Raise yourself only six inches off the ground.
- Raise your entire body at the same time without arching your back. It’s important to keep your arms in tight and close to your body.
- If your arms get too fatigued before the timer goes off, straighten your arms completely and hold your body up in Plank position until you are ready to start the Push-Ups again.
This drill requires lying your stomach over a basketball. It will strengthen your abs, obliques and back muscles, while teaching you to always keep your core tight. It will also prevent you from getting the air knocked out of you if you are caught with a body blow.
- Lie face-down on a basketball, with your stomach (between hips and ribcage) positioned on the basketball.
- Spread your arms and legs wide, straight out, then roll your body from side to side (left and right) on the ball, keeping knees and elbows off the ground.
- Keep your abdominals as tight as possible.
Looking for even more intense workouts today’s fighters use? Check out this MMA conditioning workout used by Rampage Jackson.