Boxing “The Sweet Science” is one of the toughest sports and the boxers are some of the toughest people on the planet. 

To become a successful boxer, working on just the technique is not enough. You need to become an overall better athlete. Even though endurance is important to go 8 to 15 rounds in a boxing match, but speed and power are equally important. That is where weight training comes into play.

Weight training gives you the power and explosiveness to hit harder and evade the opponent’s attacks. In this blog post, we will shed some light on the benefits of weight training for boxing along with some tips. We will also share the top 5 exercises that you should make part of your strength and conditioning regime for boxing. 

Weight Training for Boxing

Top 3 Benefits of Weight Training for Boxing:

1. Improves Power and & Speed:

Back in the day, weight training was being frowned upon by many boxers and coaches as they thought it would limit their range of motion and will make them slower in the ring. However, that perception has changed for good.

Science has now proven that a specialized weight training plan for boxers can not only improve power but can also improve speed over time.

2. Prevents From Injuries:

Injury at an early stage of the career not only prevents a boxer from competing but also limits his/her future prospects. This is why weight training is important for boxers.

“A good strength program will make you injury-proof, which means your body can take a lot of punishment and won’t break down under the stress of boxing,” states Alwyn Cosgrove, Strength Coach and professional Men’s Physique competitor.

Weight training not only prevents injuries but also reduces the risk of re-injury after a boxer has healed from a previous injury. Scientific research has revealed that heavy resistance training like weight lifting can increase bone density which also acts as a shield to protect the bones from breaking during boxing.

3. Improves Explosive Strength:

Weight training is crucial to improve an athlete’s explosive strength (power). For boxers, power can be defined as a punch that has the ability to knock out your opponent.

Boxers with greater amounts of explosive strength tend to have higher knockout rates than their opponents. Training with weights will increase this important quality for better punching power.

Weight training targets all the 3 power qualities including speed-strength, explosive strength and maximal strength. All these qualities are needed to improve punching power which can be of great benefit for boxers.

3 Top Tips on Weight Training for Boxing:

Below are the top 5 tips that you should keep in mind while weight training for improving your boxing. 

1. Do Weight Training After Your Boxing Drills or Sparring Rounds:

While training for boxing, it is ideal to first practice your boxing and then engage in the strength workout. 

This will prevent fatigue which might affect the boxer’s performance while training for boxing. It will also lessen the chances of injury during a strenuous boxing drills session.

It is also recommended that you train with weights no more than 2 to 3 times a week and there should be a gap of at least 48 hours between two weight training sessions for proper recovery and best results. 

2. Focus on Compound Lifts:

Compound exercises are the best way to increase your explosive strength. The overall result will also be better as compared to isolation exercises which can only target a specific muscle or group of muscles. 

Focusing on compound lifts and improves your balance and the stabilizing muscles in your body as your whole body is pretty much working together in coordination to perform each rep of compound exercises. 

Incorporating this tip in your training regime also means that you have to spend less time in the gym working with weights as compared to doing multiple isolation exercises during a training session. 

3. Don’t Neglect Your Lower Body and Core.

Power comes from the ground up if you are punching with the right technique. So it is important that you don’t neglect training the legs muscles and your core. Other than your shoulders, these are the muscles mainly used while boxing.

Training your legs, hips, and midsection will give your punches more power. 

Top 5 Exercises for Boxers:

Below are the top 5 exercises that you should incorporate in your strength and conditioning workouts for boxing to get the best results. 

The key is that you don’t overdo these exercises and stick to the frequency mentioned for each exercise. Take about 1 minute rest between sets. Working out with weights twice a week is ideal for boxers when not in a fight camp. Otherwise, just once a week during fight camp is more than enough. 

1. Deadlift

Targeted Areas: 

Hamstrings, calves, lower back, forearms and biceps.

Recommended Frequency:

3 to 6 reps per set and 3 to 5 sets per workout.

Benefits: 

  • It helps with the back and forth and lateral movements while boxing, footwork and power.
  • Great boxing exercise for strong hamstrings which are needed for throwing those hooks or uppercuts.

How to Perform:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and face the barbell. 
  • Squat down and grip the bar. Your group should be slightly wider than your shoulders. 
  • While keeping your back straight, extend at the knees and hips to lift up while bringing in the barbell to rest against your thighs. 

Variations:

Sumo deadlift, Trap bar deadlift, kettlebells deadlift.

2. Bench Press 

Targeted Areas:

Triceps, shoulders and chest

Recommended Frequency:

3 to 6 reps per set and 3 to 5 sets per workout.

Benefits: 

  • It improves punching power while training your overall upper body strength including shoulders and the arms. 
  • It is a great exercise for building chest strength which in turn helps you generate more force when throwing punches at the heavy bag or during a fight.

How to Perform:

  • Lie down on a bench and set your grip on the bar slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • Straighten your arms and take the bar off of the rack 
  • Bend your elbows to bring down the bar until it touches just above your chest. 
  • While keeping your elbows close to your body, push back up to the starting position. 
  • For best results, push the bar up with explosiveness.

Variations:

Dumbbell bench press, smith machine bench press, incline bench press and floor press.

3. Medicine Ball Throw:

Targeted Areas: 

Hips, calves, hamstrings, shoulders, core and arms

Recommended Frequency:

5 to 10 reps on each side, 3 to 5 sets per workout.

Benefits:

  • It develops explosiveness and the acceleration needed for throwing punches. 
  • It enhances your overall core strength much needed for endurance training and stability throughout a fight. 

How to Perform:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and head up. Hold a medicine ball in both hands in front of your chest.
  • Tilt your waist to one side, shift weight on that leg and throw the ball forward towards a wall while rotating hips towards the throwing side. 
  • Quickly catch the med ball with the other hand and bring the waist back to the center position. 
  • Throw it again to the opposite side.

Variations:

Standing twist med ball throw, split stance med ball throw.

4. Squat Jumps:

Targeted Areas: 

Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors.

Recommended Frequency:

5 to 10 reps per set and 3 to 5 sets per workout.

Benefits: 

  • It improves aerobic conditioning by strengthening the leg muscles. 
  • Also great for fast-twitch muscle fibers which are essential for generating power while boxing.

How to Perform:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly outward.
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. 
  • Keep your back straight and chest out throughout the movement.
  • From the bent position, explosively jump up jump as high as possible while swinging your arms forwards and upwards at the same time and land softly into the original position. 

Variations:

Box jump, regular squat jump.

5. Single Hand Landmine Press

Targeted Areas: 

Shoulders, chest, arms and core.

Recommended Frequency:

3 to 6 reps on each side per set and 3 to 5 sets per workout. 

Benefits: 

  • Great exercise for strengthening deltoids and core muscles that give you power in your punches.
  • Pretty much engages all the muscles that are used while punching hard. 

How to Perform: 

  • For this exercise, you need a barbell and a landmine holder.
  • Start at one side of the bar with feet shoulder-width apart, holding one end of a barbell using just one hand (hence the name). 
  • As you lift up the weight to eye level, rotate towards the opposite direction keeping your back straight. 
  • Stop when you reach as far as you can and keep your arm stationary for a second before bringing it back to the starting point, completing one rep. 

Variations: 

Two-handed landmine press

Final Words

It’ll be hard to find any professional boxer who doesn’t train with weights these days. However, it must be kept in mind that there is a difference between how a bodybuilder trains and how a boxer trains with weights. The goal is not to lift as heavy as possible or to build bigger muscles, but the goal is to build power, speed, and muscle strength. 

A boxer’s main focus should still be on developing skills but proper weight training can surely give an extra push to your performance in the ring.

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