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Cardio & Boxing: How the Two Go Hand-in-Hand


Boxing is the type of sport that requires you to have a lot of stamina and endurance, as well as physical fitness. The reason for this is that the sport involves rapid movement, explosive power and quick reflexes. Therefore, in order to become a successful boxer, you need to have a combination of strength, speed and agility, and there are ways to get there, such as cardio. While cardio alone is not enough to make you a great boxer, it is good for you. Let’s unpack this topic to examine the benefits and drawbacks of cardio for boxers.  

A boxer who never loses 

Terence Crawford is one of the best boxers of the modern era. Known as Bud, this professional American boxer won many fights before he turned professional in 2008. And at just 35 years old, it looks like Bud is not done with the sport just yet. He is known for his technical skill and excellent footwork. He is also known for his ability to adapt to the different styles of his opponents, which makes him a formidable force in the boxing ring.  

His impressive career stats stand as follows: 37 wins, with 28 of those coming by way of a knockout. He has only lost one fight in his professional career; however, and he is currently on a winning streak. Some of the top-ranking fighters he has defeated include: Yuriorkis Gamboa, Viktor Postol and Amir Khan. Crawford does a range of training, including cardio, to ensure he’s fit enough to take on his opponents.  

What is cardio?

Most people use the word cardio without necessarily understanding what it consists of. Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio for short, is a physical activity that raises your heart rate while also working your cardiovascular system. Defined biologically, cardio is good for anyone. There are many well-known examples of cardio, including running (the most popular of the bunch), cycling, swimming and jumping rope (popular among boxers), as well as brisk walking. There are countless benefits of cardio since it improves overall health and weight management and also helps to reduce the risk of chronic disease. In addition, there are countless cardio exercises boxers can adopt.

It is a well-known fact that boxing requires a lot of cardio exercise. And this has a direct impact on a boxer’s performance in the sport. The reason for this is that a typical boxing match lasts 12 rounds, with each one being three minutes long. During each round, boxers need to be quick and move around the ring. It’s important for boxers to consistently maintain a level of energy to last the entire fight.  

How cardio contributes to stamina

Cardio exercise is one of the four key ways for boxers to increase stamina as well as endurance. Once you increase your cardio exercise, your body delivers oxygen to the muscles more efficiently. This, in turn, enables you to box for longer periods of time, which is very important, considering that boxing matches last for multiple rounds, so boxers need to maintain their energy levels throughout the fight.  

Weight loss

Depending on which weight class a boxer falls under, cardio is great if you need to lose weight and keep a healthy body composition. For boxers who are in a lower weight class, cardio is advantageous. Cardio is not only about exercise, it’s also a lifestyle. Also, cardio exercises, combined with a healthy lifestyle, can help those boxers who need to lose weight to maintain a lean physique.  

Cardio & the impact on your health

Professional boxers often put their bodies through rigorous training and sparring in the gym. For this reason, remaining healthy is a top priority. Cardio exercise can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Regular cardio exercise has also been linked to positive outcomes such as reduced risk of heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Furthermore, consistent cardio exercise also leads to improved lung function and strengthening of bones and muscles, as well as improving mental health.  

Why cardio alone is not enough

Cardio is good for boxers; however, it is not the only exercise boxers need. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Excessive cardio exercise can lead to muscle loss. This is because the body begins to break down muscle tissue for energy if it’s not getting enough fuel from food. Excessive cardio exercise will then be detrimental to boxers since muscle mass, power and strength is essential to be a successful boxer. 
  • Cardio is also time-consuming. We understand that when you are a professional sportsperson, any form of exercise will never be considered time-consuming; however, cardio can be. The idea is to always balance it alongside other training. 
  • When it comes to skill, boxers cannot rely on cardio alone to offer them that. It must be confined to other forms of training. 

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.