Boxers are some of the fittest people on earth. While it may look pretty easy moving around a ring for a few minutes during a fight, it is anything but. You have to be cardiovascularly superior to your opponent just to stay in a fight, and that doesn’t even include the strength you need to throw heavy punches.
While pro boxers have been doing this all their lives and their routines seem too challenging to do, there are exercises you can do to train like them. While it will get you incredibly fit, you can bet; it’s going to be tough.
What do boxers eat?
Your diet is just as vital as your workouts. You need to eat food that not only provides fuel for your workouts, but helps your muscles grow and recover. Junk food will obviously have the opposite effect.
You should be eating a lot of clean protein and fats, such as chicken, eggs, steak, and fish. Adequate protein is needed to repair and build muscle. You’re also going to need to eat carbs, to fuel your workouts and give you enough energy to train hard.
Rice, whole grains, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes are great sources of carbs; they will fuel you and give you the energy you need to work out. Just remember, if you are planning on losing weight and getting lean, you should be working with a calorie deficit, whereas if your focus is on gaining muscle and size, you would be aiming for a slight calorie surplus.
A calorie deficit isn’t about eating less food; it is about eating fewer calories. Work out how many calories you consume and minus 200-300 calories; this will help you lose weight. As mentioned, making yourself eat less is unhealthy; instead, it’s about making smarter choices.
Protein shakes are also a perfect choice; they almost always contain a meal’s worth of calories and quite a lot of protein. Once again, don’t use them to replace regular food; just use them to supplement your protein goals.
What do boxers need to train?
What a boxer is looking to get out of a workout is both similar and different to other athletes. The number one thing is stamina. Moving around a ring and throwing and dodging punches is incredibly tiring work, and if you haven’t trained for it, most people won’t last more than three or four rounds.
Upper body strength is needed too. While most boxers don’t look like bodybuilders, they still focus on upper body strength. You need power behind your punches, or you’re going to find yourself on the back foot constantly.
Lower body strength is also vital. You start a punch in your feet, and the power moves up your legs and glutes, into your core, and through your arms. Nobody boxes with just their upper body; it is a full-body exercise.
A boxer’s workout can be pretty simple or more intricate, depending on what you want to achieve. These are a few exercises you should be doing, and some you can use to supplement your workout.
When it comes to cardio, skipping is king. You watch any boxing movie or any pro boxer training video, and at some point, you will see them deep into a very intense skipping session. There is a good reason for this.
Skipping is easily one of the best forms of cardio you can do, with many experts saying it is better than running or cycling. It also has less impact on your knees and joints and gives you a bit of an upper-body workout as well.
If you have a boxing bag at home or your gym, aim to do multiple, 3-minute rounds of bag work. Throw punches, move around the bag and dodge the bag. Your goal is to get to twelve, 3-minute rounds, with a 30-second break in between.
There are two main lower body exercises that you should focus on – squats and burpees. Squats will build strength and grow your muscles, while burpees will develop explosive power, strength,and speed.
Once you can do multiple sets of both, increase the weight by adding dumbbells and barbells. You can also look at adding variations of lunges into your routine, as well as weighted hip thrusts, which will build strength in your glutes. This is necessary as the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, and the foundation of power in the body.
Your arm workout can also be relatively simple, as the strength will grow naturally through boxing, but a weight lifting workout will help the muscles grow quicker. Dumbbell and barbell curls will be your go-to exercises.
Googling an arm workout and picking the one you like is not a bad choice at all; you must also remember to include your triceps too. You must pay equal attention to both the biceps and triceps to prevent injury and imbalance.
Your upper body workout can be as simple as a push-up routine. Push-ups are one of the best exercises to build strength and upper body endurance. There are also multiple variations that you can do depending on your strength level.
While boxers can be big, they still need to be agile and have speed on their side. Therefore you won’t see a fighter bench-pressing every second day. Upper body strength is required, but speed is just as important.
If you do want to grow your chest, though, bench-pressing and dumbbell presses are the perfect exercises for it.
When focusing on upper body conditioning, it’s important not to neglect core strength. Planks and other ab exercises are good to develop core strength, but the most important thing is to engage your core during all other exercises too.
If you’re training by yourself, you’ll be spending a lot of time doing workouts with a punching bag. However, if you’re training with a partner, investing in a pair of focus pads and doing shadow boxing is another brilliant exercise.
The person with the pads can act and move like a real opponent. While you can imagine a punching bag coming towards you while you are moving, a real person doing it keeps you on your toes. Shadowboxing incorporates cardio and engages your reflexes, and is the closest you can get to sparring with a real person.
As you can see, a boxing workout can be pretty straightforward, but it is incredibly tough. With a solid routine, dedication and consistency, you’ll notice a difference in your athleticism within a few weeks.