2 major components to a successful fitness regimen:
In order to have fun, you must “buy-in” to the program, or truly believe it will work, and be doing something you truly enjoy (or will come to enjoy via it’s results).
In order to get results, you must adhere to the program, or exercise, with consistency. To do so, you must be having fun!
Let’s talk about an outlet I (and just about everyone else who tries it) deem incredibly fun, a long term driver of results, and often a rabbit-hole for many.
Boxing is huge in the fitness community right now, and for very good reason.
People don’t want to hear you yell into your mic about how many burpees you should be doing with the time left in the round (keep your burpees, bro), and most people don’t give a shit about learning program design, exercise selection, and periodization; people want to reach their goals, have fun, and be proud of what they’re doing and who they’re becoming.
You don’t have to prepare for a 12 round fight, or spar with pro’s, but you can learn the techniques, build the skills required, have a ton of fun, oh -and burn a ton of calories.
How do I Add Boxing into My Training?
Let’s determine your goals, first and foremost:
Are you focusing on fat loss primarily?
Are you focusing on becoming a boxer?
Are you focused on your physique overall, and just looking to add boxing in as cardio?
Do you want to become competent with boxing, but not exactly devote yourself to it?
Do you just want to find something new and fun, re-invigorate your workouts, and potentially find a new hobby?
These are important questions to ask yourself, because we want to align your actions, with your goals.
For example, if you’re mainly trying to add boxing in as a tool for fun, or just some cardio, all that’s needed is to add in some rounds on a heavy bag to finish off your workout.
But, if you’re wanting to get into the sport, or become competent with boxing, then you want to really focus on building skills!
Let’s say you’re looking to add boxing in for some engaging cardio, your workout may look like this:
|1.) Deadlifts||5×5||Conventional/Trap Bar|
|2a.) DB Chest Press||4×8||Control down, power up|
|2b.) Db Kroc Rows||4×10||Hold top contraction 1 sec|
|3a.) Split Squats||3×12||Stay upright|
|3b.) Swiss Ball Leg Curls||3×12||Keep hips in extension|
|4.) Heavy Bag||5×2 min||Keep moving, don’t |
This fella is obviously training hard, focusing on his/her “gains” but may have just replaced a row interval, treadmill interval, or assault bike with some boxing.
Simple integration, and that’s definitely a workout to be looked forward to.
Now, let’s say you’re really trying to focus on building some boxing skills, get in a complete workout, and not just add a “calorie burner” to finish things off.
Your workout may look a bit more like this:
|1a.) Mitt-Work (combos – |
can use bag if no partner)
|5×1 min||1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-slip-2,1-2-3-roll|
|1b.) Jump Rope/Ladder Drill||5×1 min||Rhythm & Consistency|
|2.a) Deadlifts||4×8||Trap Bar/Kettlebell|
|2b.) Double-End Bag/|
|4×1 min |
|Rhythm, accuracy, consistency|
|3a.) Sled Rows||3×30 yards||Leg drive-hip extension-|
|3b.) Spider-Man Crawls||3×30 yards||Keep it contralateral, |
keep a rhythm
|3c.) Walking Lunges||3×30 yards||Angle the steps out to the |
side 10 degrees
|3d.) Heavy Bag||3×1 min||Head/body, keep moving|
This workout is not only intense, it’s intently programmed.
The focus is placed on the “skills”, by placing the mitt-work first, aiming to improve combo’s, with footwork right after working on building those skills as well.
The main focus strength exercise is paired with more skills work (but less technically demanding compared to mitt-work), by adding some double-end bag or speed bag work as an active rest following deadlifts.
And finally, we finish up with a circuit to hit the rest of the body, with the finisher of the circuit being a minute on the heavy bag.
There’s a clear difference in these workouts (which, I kept basic for the sake of this), so there should be a difference in how you integrate boxing for your goals.
You want to place your most demanding, work first, and rank the rest of the workout based on goals/demand.
In other words:
If you’re focused mostly on building your physique, but want to add boxing in as a tool, you would want to work your boxing after you’ve done your strength/hypertrophy work. That’s what will align you more with your goals; you need to build strength, and muscle, therefore you don’t want to box first because it may hinder your ability to complete the volume necessary for you to grow.
On the other hand, if you’re focused on learning the skills of boxing, or building the myriad of skills involved in general, focus on it first. It’s going to be quite neurologically, and technically demanding, so you don’t want to be taxed from your other exercises and then go into working on your skills because your goals say you want the skills.
Is it Simple/Difficult Enough for Me?
Whether you’re an advanced exerciser, or a complete novice, you can scale any exercise tool to suit you.
Boxing is no different, and since it’s so skill based, it’s simple to determine where you should begin.
If you’ve been training for years, and may have dabbled a few times with hitting a bag, but you have the foundation of fitness required to train hard, go for it.
Take some classes, hire a boxing coach, add some simple skills work like footwork drills, coordination drills, or some focused combos on the bag prior to your lifts, and follow your lifts with some output-based bag work.
If you’re a complete novice, it’s as simple as starting.
Take a class, hit a bag following your regular workout, start jumping rope, just start.
But, Am I Going to Hurt Myself?
You didn’t think I was going to take you through this blog without talking about everything you need to box smart, and safe, did you? (I’m kind of a professional ya know)
But anyways, you won’t hurt yourself if you pay attention:
- Gloves: 12-16 ounces, 16 for bigger hands, 12 for smaller hands, 14 is usually the sweet spot!
- Wraps: Go with 180 inch wraps, smaller 108 inch wraps won’t give you full protection (more on how to wrap in a bit).
- Shoes: Choose shoes you feel comfortable in for rapid movement. Lifting shoes are not it. Something with some support for lateral movement, but light enough to move comfortably. A “training shoe” preferably.
- Keep a closed fist: A lot of people have trouble keeping their fists closed, or go for style points and open until impact. The chances of a wrist strain are high, and we want to reduce our chance of injury. If you’re worried about the soreness from keeping a closed fist, it won’t take long until your hands/forearms adapt to the constant grasp. Also, a clinched fist means more muscles being used, which means more structural integrity for that striking arm (less chance of injury).
- Timer: I use Tabata Stopwatch Pro, but there are numerous apps you can use, or go old school and get an actual round timer (that’s the move).
- Jump Rope: Keep it simple. You don’t need the snazziest speed rope. Get a nice new rope if you don’t have one that’s suited to your height (stand on your rope, the handles should go up to between armpit and shoulder height).
- Bags: All preference. When just starting out, you don’t want a 200lb bag, I still use a 40lb heavy bag because I enjoy the movement work. You’ll find your preferences. A double end bag will certainly get your coordination working, as will a speed bag. You can find any bag along with whatever else you need on either of these sites: Title, Everlast, AquaTrainingBag, Ringside
Back to the Most Important Factor:
Boxing is a ton of fun.
If you think of exercise as work, that just happens to burn calories, which you need to do to get to yours goals, then adherence will be tough.
But, if you have fun, which happens to be exercise, and also happens to burn calories, which will get you to your goals, it becomes tough to not want to exercise too much.
The latter is a wonderful problem to have.
If your goals rely around the skills of boxing (or skill building in general), you have many facets to train, and many options to train them.
Coordination, footwork, timing, power, speed, neuromuscular improvements (brain-gains), rhythm, endurance, movement, self defense (don’t be that hyper-aggressive guy), and a new found appreciation for a sport are all ahead of anyone who decides to commit to boxing for fitness.
So, to get you started:
Just don’t not have fun. If you’re not having fun, something’s wrong!
Thanks for reading,