If you're looking to get in shape like a boxer or you're just looking for some boxing workouts to add to your own routine then you're at the right place. You can also find plenty of drills, techniques and tips to help you exercise like a champ.




It's been well known among boxing circles for many years that the sport offers one of the best all round means for improving participant’s fitness. Few sports, if indeed any, offer a comparative all round training program that can enhance not only strength, muscle and endurance but also reflexes and psychological composure. Of all legendary sportsmen, it's no surprise that many people who do not even follow the sport are aware of not just the incredible physiques of classic names in the sport, but also the flair, intelligence and overall charisma that sets them apart from other events. Think of the greats - not just the inimitable Mohammed Ali, but also Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao among countless others who embody the aspiration to achieve the physical ideal.

Where boxing was once considered a sport set apart from the mainstream gyms, the quality of a managed fitness program based around the core necessities to compete in the sport has made it ever more popular and accessible to those looking to enhance their bodies and mind. Boxing is now open to all comers, and even those who have no interest in the pugilistic nature of the sport, and have no intention of engaging in a competitive bout, are welcomed to enjoy the training workout that offer all of the benefits without the risk of sustaining any combative injury. This has seen a great uptake in the numbers of fitness enthusiasts taking up the sport, and also in particular a great rise in the participation of women, for whom boing offers the very best training regime going in creating toned abs and butts.

Why Use Boxing to Get Fit?

There are lots of benefits to undertaking a boxing regime, and while carrying out these exercises is possible at home with the correct quality equipment, it is wise to initially begin under the instruction of a knowledgeable trainer. All gyms that specialize in boxing have made great strides forward in becoming ever more inclusive, and with group training classes the sport is perhaps surprisingly egalitarian in offering an all-inclusive atmosphere for participants at all levels. Indeed taking on the boxing challenge with a group of likeminded people is a great way to gain an insight into the sport, and provides a supportive environment to quite literally learn the ropes. This is unlike many more established gyms where participation tends to be far more individualistic, with people operating one user machines while invariably plugged into their IPods.

Few sports offer such instant rewards for a hard workout than boxing, as no sport matches the comparative cardiovascular workout that it can provide. A well thought through training regime will not just strengthen the muscles in arms, shoulders, back and torso through sparring and bag exercises, but also work on balance and hand-eye coordination. Even in a class that may only be one hour per week, the results for weight loss can be quite remarkable, as engaging in a repetitive drill with only a couple of one minute pauses to catch a breath is exceedingly intense, and even a new starter should expect to be burning up to seven hundred calories per hour. Compared to running, this is twice as efficient and exercises the entire body.

As well as the health benefits, boxing also offers a great boost to participant’s confidence, generated not only through the adrenalin and endorphins that are released by the sparing exercises, but also in the feel-good vibe that a high intensity workout can produce. Add to this a real team feeling, and opportunity to make new friends and achieve great physical results through trying something new and specialized, and the benefits for overall psychological wellbeing are enormous. Many boxing for fitness programs conduct a review of the participant’s desires and objectives for what they would like to achieve from the sport, more often than not setting a target based around weight loss or muscle-far ratio. With commitment and regular practice, there is simply no way for anyone to fail to make these targets, and that can be a great relief after years plugging away at a commercial gym or dieting fads.

One of the most iconic features of Boxing is not just the characters who make up the sports great names, but the huge entourages that follow them. In the modern day very few of these would be 'hangers on', as for a sport becoming ever more professionalized and scientific, most of these people are members of the boxer's training staff, ranging from personal trainers to technique coaches, masseurs and sports psychologists. Even fighting only a couple of matches a year takes great training and preparation, and while these professionals have highly specific routines to suit their style, there are a number of catch-all exercised that are suitable to participants of any level.


Exercises Used by Boxers to Get in Shape

Most well-known and accessible is the jump rope, often used at the start of a workout to get the cardiovascular system pumping and waking up the body. Many amateurs find this daunting start, but the beauty of the jump rope is that it is there to be used at the individuals own pace - concentrating on going too fast and jumping too high is a recipe for disaster. Instead, the exercise is more effective when used in regular, long rotations with the concentration being not in jumping high but in making a quick, split second hop over the rope and being in the air as little as possible. This also makes it an excellent way to finish off a training session, with many boxers saying it is a therapeutic finish to a training session. 

Training with the mitts brings through all the teamwork of boxing training, as participants take it in turns to perform an offensive and defensive role. Working on hitting a moving target is not just a great workout for the torso and arms, but also in terms of developing reactions and maintaining composure. Ideally this ought to train a new technique or punch combination, and provides the best way to understand and develop the importance of defence and being able to absorb sustained impacts.

Before heading onto sparring and the bag, a great third activity to break up a session and allow a boxer to work on their own technique is through shadow boxing, which when performed to a set drill of repetitions can provide one of the most intense parts of the workout. This is a great means of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the boxer's technique, as it places emphasis not on reactions but on speed, and making this second nature.

These three exercises alone are enough to make anyone need a minute to recover and stretch, as the next step on this regime would be to go into a managed bout of sparring. For those not wishing to compete in direct pugilism this can be skipped, but coaches will encourage fighters matched according to size and experience to engage in a marshalled bout to develop not just their technique and combinations but also their flair in the ring. For those looking to improve as fighters these bouts against regular opponents are a great way of measuring progress, and indeed appreciating the results of all the physical and technical training.

Finally, and most famously, the bag. An iconic part any film or documentary concerning boxing is invariably that of a boxer laying into a bag, and this is the very best way of developing power and endurance in the muscles. With soft or heavy bags, these are designed to provide the boxer with the opportunity to practice their combinations and reactions - the soft bag will provide more of a rebounding target while the crunch of a heavy is the ultimate way to develop overall power.

These five methods are common features in any boxing training regime, and are best performed over a session in combination with general endurance exercises outside of the gym. Anything that builds up endurance is great exercise to accompany boxing, with running and machine-based work being the most common solo activity used to develop this. But it's no secret that for many people who get the 'boxing bug' they will find these exercises quite dull and bland compared to exercises especially focussed on improving boxing performance. Fortunately there are a number of options available to enhance boxing prowess in the home, which we will take a look at here.  

The outlay on equipment can be as high or low as the budget will stretch, but a minimum ought to include a jump rope, a pair of weighted gloves, a set of light dumbbells and a floor mat. The great thing is that even a fifteen minute regime can be repeated four times to make a comparable workout to that which may be achieved at the gym - remember that repetition is the key, and don't forget to stretch and warm up.

A Boxing Routine for You to Try

1) Shadow Boxing - Using the weighted gloves (and ideally in front of a mirror) shadowbox with a set of repetitions aim six-eight shots towards the head, followed by the torso and repeat. Remember not to stay static, keep a bounce in the toes and hold the head high. After a couple of minutes of this the blood should be pumping, and the arms feeling flexible, warmed up and powerful.



2) Push-ups - Time to hit the deck - perform a set of perfect push-ups, ideally a set of ten with five seconds rest followed by another ten and rest. This is great for the arms, especially after a shadow session as it forces the muscles to work hard through impact rather than dub weight. Depending on ability just try to do as many as possible over a set period of time, a couple of minutes is fine for a beginner.



3) Jump Rope - Now the feet have had a rest, time to get them dancing - keeping the knees gently bent and keep the hobs as small as possible. Aim for three minutes of this, and beginners ought not feel too intimidated - start off slow and regular then try to work up to near max. If/when a jump is missed, take a second to compose and go again.



4) Crunches - Abdominal crunches are a great way to strengthen the torso and flatten the stomach, keep the feet on the floor and hands behind the head while looking to work your shoulders off the ground. Take a pattern similar to that with the push-ups, ideally unbroken for three minutes but perform in shorter repetitions with a quick stretch to break them up if really needed.



5) Weights - Weights time - perform a set routine involving a mix of bicep curls, presses and endurance lifts. The focus ought to be on repetition, five of each in rapid succession, and repeat for five minutes. The muscles should feel thoroughly worked from biceps down.

6) Running - Go for a 2-5 mile run at a steady, comfortable pace and then end by doing a few sprints. This will build up your stamina and endurance.

This basic program should offer an introduction to exercises that can be easily and safely conducted in the home without needing to invest in overly expensive equipment. The key is to work to a set target, and a firm schedule - a professional boxer will train several times a day, so keeping up this routine on a daily basis should be considered very achievable. In combination with a managed routine in a gym (sessions usually only cost around $10) boxing offers the most affordable, and fun way to make rapid progress on overall fitness and is a sure fire way to make any weight loss target possible.