Boxing is a primal sport. It’s deeply satisfying to let your natural fight instincts take over and let rip into a punch bag or opponent. It’s also an incredibly tough full-body workout, which is why boxers have single digit body fat percentages and enter the ring with every muscle ripped.
Most people don’t believe that kind of physique is achievable for them. However, if you want to look like a fighter, you need to train like a fighter.
With the right exercises and diet,anyone can build the strength and endurance of a boxer. So, if you’re up for the challenge of getting into peak physical condition, here are seven exercises to get you fighting fit.
Jump rope is an excellent conditioning exercise for boxing training that you can doalmost anywhere. The small, rhythmic jumps tone and tighten the calf muscles while also working the legs, back, arms and shoulders.
Not only that, jumping rope improves your stamina, coordination, and balance. It will also develop nifty footwork – making you sprightly on your feet – which is essential for every boxer.
Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that squats pack muscles on the legs. Squats are a true compound exercise that engage the quadriceps, glutes, abductors, hamstrings, hip flexors, and to a lesser extent, the stomach and calves.
Many boxers are guilty of neglecting to develop the lower half of the body and place way too much emphasis on building the upper body. However, having a strong base means you’re better able to resist the force from a punch when blocking, and it also leads to increased power as correct punching technique is a whole-body movement.
If you develop your leg muscles with plyometric exercises, you’ll also build the fast twitch muscle fibres making you more responsive and agile on your feet.
Burpees burn calories and build lean muscle like no other!Done properly, they’re a full-body workout that buildsendurance and explosive power. They’re also highly efficient as by engaging almost every muscle group, they burn more calories per rep than isolation exercises like bicep curls.
If you ever get bored of the standard burpee (after the tenth rep for most people), there’s a heap of variations you can try such as adding a push-up, tuck jump, or even a pull-up.
Ahh, Good ol’ push-ups. No fighters workout would be complete without including the favourite punishment of every drill sergeant and gym instructor.
However, you should be thankful for push-ups. No, really. And here’s why: Push-ups are another compound exercise that work the pecs, deltoids, triceps,serratus anterior, and the stomach muscles all in one rep.
They’ll give your upper body that chiselled look as they develop solid muscle that remains functional – a must have for all fighters.
Watch any boxing match and you’ll see fighters throw hard punches at the mid-section with deadly intent. How do boxers stand up to this brutality? Sit-ups – and lots of them.
Boxers tense their stomach muscles just before they receive a blow which stops the force of the punch winding them. If you want the iron clad stomach of a fighter, then there are no two ways about it, you’ve got to do sit-ups.
Make sure you include plenty of sit-up variations to work all the stomach muscles. In addition to the standard sit-up and crunches, try v sit-ups, ball sit-ups, and throwing a jab cross as you rise.
Throwing punches at an imaginary opponent while dodging their attacks seems ludicrous to some people. However, shadowboxing is great for honing your boxing skills and getting the whole body moving while increasing your heart rate.
Boxers use shadowboxing as a warm-up/cool down and to drill new techniques. It helps to improve your footwork, form, balance, and speed. The other benefit of shadowboxing is that you don’t need any equipment: it’s just you and your shadow.
Sparring is one of the toughest workouts you’ll ever find. Period. Not just because your opponent is hell-bent on pulverising you, but because it’s extremely physically demanding. Seriously, sparring will leave your muscles aching and your lungs gasping for air as it burns up to 800 calories an hour!
Unlike regular training where you can take a breather whenever you need to, with sparring, you have to keep going until the end of the round. There will be times when you’ll be in pain, exhausted, and desperate to call it quits, but you have to dig deep and find the energy and heart to keep on fighting. It’s torture at the time, but once you recover, you’ll feel on top of the world and be eager to get back in the ring.
Most people don’t have the drive and dedication it requires to enter the world of competitive fighting. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t train like a fighter and develop the same incredible, athletic body.
Fighters aim for functional muscle, and as you can see from the above exercises, the resistance for strength conditioning is provided by body weight. Good news for you as you don’t need to buy expensive equipment or sign up to a gym. However, it also means you don’t have any excuses.
All that’s required is to design a workout that incorporates all of the exercises, stick to it, and you too will have the ripped and envious body of a fighter (without all the scars).
Jamie Stewart is a muaythai fighter and boxing enthusiast with a passion for martial arts and fitness. When he’s not training, he likes to write about martial arts, health and fitness, nutrition, and mindset.
If you would like to learn more, you can find him blogging at learnhowtobox.com.