It is my opinion that boxers (and gymnasts) are some of the best conditioned people ever. If you don’t believe me take a look at the athletes who competed in the 2016 Olympics! Boxing is probably my favorite sport next to baseball. Take away the few exceptions and the larger majority of all boxers are in prime physical condition. They endure extensive training and contend in one of the most endurance driven sports out there. Now, you may be saying distance runners top the endurance totem, but remember they’re not being hit and delivering blows of explosive energy.
Let’s examine boxing fitness and incorporate it into your routine. The best part is, nobody’s going to hit you…unless that’s what you want!
A regular professional bout usually is scheduled to last twelve rounds. Each round consists of three minutes with one minute breaks between. That amounts to thirty-six minutes of punching, blocking, ducking and a variety of other offensive and defensive tactics. There is nobody to take your place if you get hurt, no team to back you up, it’s just you and the other fighter.
One training method boxers are known for is road work. This involves long distance running, usually for miles. They do this to help build up endurance and improve their cardiovascular conditioning. Sessions usually start in the early morning hours and could cover around five miles.
However, in recent years many fighters have switched to interval running. This is a far more efficient training method. One example of this may be similar to a fight set up. Run for three minutes and walk at a moderate pace for one and repeat. Or, they may jog for a mile, run for several hundred meters, walk, then repeat and finish with another moderate jog.
The upside to intervals is that since they are more intense it allows for a day’s rest between.
Heavy bag work is another vital method. Hitting a heavy bag is to start with a great workout for your cardiovascular system. Unless you’re a conditioned fighter the average person will find themselves short of breath after a few if not less than a few rounds. Moving around the bag allows you to move in different ways than you would on a treadmill or even running. This recruit’s different muscles and adds to the cardiovascular work. It is a full body workout that utilizes muscles and movements you may not usually be familiar with. It’s also a great way to train to train balance.
I remember watching a documentary on George Foreman where they discussed how he put on a considerable amount of weight after retiring, but while training for a comeback he would go twelve rounds on a bag and the weight would fall off quickly.
Another bonus to the heavy bag is that it offers a great anaerobic workout. Your muscles work in ways they normally wouldn’t when hitting the bag. The range of motion can constantly change and target the muscles in different ways. The constant variation works multiple muscle groups at once.
Finally, boxing fitness takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to stress relief. Let loose on the bag and you’ll expend all that built up negative energy! You can avoid jail time because at the time of publication it was still legal to assault a leather bag. I should say heavy bag, so guys don’t get crazy because your wife dropped several hundred on a fancy leather purse (bag) and beat it senseless.
This video shows pro boxer Shawn Porter working a heavy bag.
Just remember when using a heavy bag, you must use gloves (10 ounce) and hand wraps. They actually sell bag specific gloves, they’re called, ready for it…Bag Gloves.
Anyone (including me) who has ever hit a bag without gloves knows the consequences.
It’s not just for ten-year-old girls. It is a safe bet that the average person can’t jump rope for a complete one minute round. Why? Reason one is control. Unless you’ve been rope jumping for a while you are guaranteed to trip on the rope several times. The second reason is endurance. Just like the bag work, jumping rope taxes the cardiovascular system. Those thirty minutes of steady state cardio on the treadmill has nothing on a few rounds with the rope. You can learn some great rope jumping techniques here.
It’s that thing that looks like a big rain drop hanging from a platform and has a rhythmic sound. The speed bag helps build speed and hand eye coordination. It may take some getting used to, but it becomes a great tool. Like the heavy bag, it offers cardiovascular and muscular benefits. The difference here is in the name. Speed bags unlike heavy bags require you to keep up your focus and speed. Check this instructional information on the speed bag.
These are square shaped pads that a trainer or partner wears on their hands and orders you to punch. Why is this a great exercise? It is unpredictable. On the treadmill you run one way, in a bench press it is up and down. Focus mitts require balance, quick movements, explosive strength, and focus. The best part is they move. You may hit the left pad while the right pad comes at you and you need to block or duck. When was the last time your treadmill fought back?
Check out this focus mitt video.
Now all of those are some pretty run of the mill boxing training methods that you may have seen on TV
or even partaken in. The following are some old school and obscure methods.
Sounds crazy right? Little girls do it right? Well little girls jump rope too and we see where that gets us. Skipping is like a mini HIIT workout. It requires quick bouts of intense energy. And we’re not talking about skipping a few steps on the playground like your daughter may do. Get to a track or sidewalk and try to skip for five hundred feet then walk for another five then repeat.
Breaking rock, crushing metal, driving spikes, all of the things you can do with a sledge hammer. Forget that the hammer weighs something (average sledgehammer weight 10-20 pounds) and you’re swinging it, you can build up strength, coordination and stamina. While this is a great workout I don’t recommend it unless you have a scrap yard, rail yard, or construction site at your disposal. A big back yard with open space will do. Just keep your foot out of the way. Check out this link with video included to get an idea on how hammer training looks.
You want to burn calories, get in a pool! Water offers far more resistance than gravity ever could. If it is shallow enough, try running from one side of the pool to another (the same goes for running in snow).
Then try to shadow box in the water. The water fights against you so you must recruit a lot more strength to extend your arm.
So as you can see the boxer is a well-trained athlete for many reasons. You may not prepping for a big fight, however incorporating some of these methods into your training routine can defiantly step things up and benefit you. Plus, boxing fitness is far more fun that running nowhere on a treadmill.
The following is a sample boxing workout. Do it between weight training days.
WARM UP 10 minute interval run/walk
Jump rope for one minute
Shadow box one minute
Punch with light dumbbells (10s or less) for one minute Hit the heavy bag for one minute.
Rest two minutes then repeat for eight to ten rounds. Consider downloading a boxing timer to your smart phone, it is a great tool for boxing fitness. I recommend this one for Android or IPhone. The GymBoss is also an excellent timer.