Boxing isn’t as prominent in pop culture as it was a few decades ago. This is probably just due to Hollywood trends doing what they do best – changing on a dime. There was a time when, thanks in no small part to certain Stallone films, boxing rivaled other popular sports of the day.
Today, it’s not unpopular by any stretch of the imagination. Boxers are seriously-respected athletes. It’s a very popular athletic pastime among many people, and it’s a useful skill in self-defense. It just doesn’t have quite the pop culture global awareness it might’ve had not that long ago.
Still, you have to admire boxers if you’ve ever watched a semi-professional or professional match. Boxing isn’t easy. It’s not just punching mindlessly on one another until someone’s knocked out. The biggest challenge of boxing is staying power. As a boxer, you must have the ability to stay light on your feet. Always in motion, always aware, always ready to spring into a reflexive response to a move from your opponent.
Endurance training, unsurprisingly, is a massive part of their training regime, with the cliché punching bag thing only being one component in a lengthy training regime. In a boxing match, it’s also just as much psychological as it is physical. You are always psyching your opponent out, catching them off guard, thinking steps ahead. In a weird way, it has more in common with chess than you might have initially thought.
Either way, you have to admit, if you see a boxer, they’re in some hellacious shape, right? Aside from maybe bodybuilders or martial artists, they’re among the fittest and fearsome people you’ll ever see. Anyone into bodybuilding and fitness has to wonder, what the heck do they do to get in this shape? Even if you don’t want to box, could their training styles and practices be adapted to everyday fitness?
Well, believe it or not, they definitely can. We’re going to talk about some of the boxer’s training today, and the simplicity of individual exercises might surprise you. That’s the thing with fitness, though. There aren’t elaborate magical exercises that do unexpected things. All fitness is the use of simple, repetitive exercises in specific combinations and patterns to sculpt and train the body toward a particular goal.
Before we get into this, it’s worth pointing out that there’s a good bit of cardio as well as some joint-stressful stuff here. If you have respiratory problems, cardiac problems, or serious skeletal issues like rheumatoid arthritis or old injuries, you should consult your physician before attempting this kind of regime. Also, remember that nutrition plays a significant role in this kind of training too. However, we’re not approaching that side of it today, because the nutrition is more generalized than boxing-specific. Do know that hydration and proper electrolyte levels are critical because while this training isn’t complicated, it’s surprisingly intense and that’s intentional.
Sit-ups have a wide variety of benefits for any exercise regime. You’re strengthening your spine, your abdomen, and providing secondary workouts to other muscle groups. You’re also adding a lot of autonomic control refinement. This is critical for a boxer to stay light and bouncy on their feet, and in having a solid core that’s hard to knockdown.
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Sit-ups are pretty simple, but variations can be employed. These include alternating touching your knees or toes, adding some weight, and several other minor tweaks.
Be careful with squats, as these are somewhat strenuous compared to push-ups or sit-ups. You should start out doing two sets of 5 reps with some rest between if you’re only now getting into training.
Squats help strengthen the legs and add endurance to them, which is also critical to boxers staying in motion and light on their feet. It also helps their balance and equilibrium, making it harder to knock them down.
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Shoulder presses help to strengthen your back, your bicep, and tricep muscle groups, and help refine fine muscle control due to the slow, sturdy motions needed for this kind of exercise.
Walking lunges is another exercise routine that can significantly help to aid your balance as well as your legs, glutes, and your core. This also helps train your body for more endurance, as these require some focus on persistence and follow-through, key aspects of staying power in boxing.
Knees to Elbows
Sit-ups are great, but if you need some more focus on your core, knees to elbows is an excellent way to achieve this. It’s also an excellent warm-up exercise if you plan on doing lifting or something more cardio-intensive, as it gets the blood flowing and helps to limber you up.
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These are excellent for upper body training as well as helping to enhance your control and discipline. Given that you can’t yank yourself up and let yourself droop, you’re honing your body for more control and dominance over instinct with this exercise.
In boxing, this kind of control is a must. So is the follow-through and focus that something like this can provide. This is an exercise you shouldn’t do if your shoulders have issues, though.
Jumping rope is an excellent cardio exercise in general. It also strengthens your legs and feet, helps you learn to be lighter and bouncier, and is a great way to hone some skill for rhythm and timing. This exercise isn’t for someone with knee or ankle issues.
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I’m a little reticent to suggest this one unless you actually want to get into boxing. It’s hard to do, and I’ve seen people hurt themselves accidentally punching a wall. However, if you’re going to get into boxing, even casually, this is a great way to get used to combining the disciplines these other routines have taught you.
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